The Value Proposition of RFID Technology in Tall Prefabricated Timber Buildings


  • Perry Forsythe School of Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney
  • Alireza Ahmadian Fard Fini School of Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney
  • Alireza Jalali Yazdi School of Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney



The full benefit of prefabricated timber systems in the construction of multi-story buildings depends on integration and efficiency in the upstream logistics and supply chain. The purpose of this research is therefore to determine the potential value that the use of Radio-Frequency Identification technology (RFID) can contribute to the prefabricated construction of timber, and to undertake the basic development of a RFID tracking model for this purpose. The methods used in this study not only build on the knowledge gained from previous literature, but also include interviews with industry experts, field trial design and field trials. The research showed that the RFID tracking system's value proposition tends to be strongest where there are large scale and vertically integrated supply chains, logistics complexity between a limited number of discrete but partnered supply chain links and/or internal logistical complexity problems. Therefore, five distinct added value stages of RFID applications have been found in incoming delivery logistics, factory panel production, outgoing delivery logistics, on-site installation and third parties who can inspect the finished construction work. Application of RFID technology in prefabrication factory environments, where fixed readers can be used in predefined processes, was found promising. However, due to the temporary nature of the sites and the associated investment, the capacity for high automation levels is thought to be more limited on site.