Identifying enablers and relational ontology networks in design for digital fabrication

Ming Shan Ng*, Daniel Hall, Marc Schmailzl, Thomas Linner, Thomas Bock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


As use of digital fabrication increases in architecture, engineering and construction, the industry seeks appropriate management and processes to enable the adoption during the design/planning phase. Many enablers have been identified across various studies; however, a comprehensive synthesis defining the enablers of design for digital fabrication does not yet exist. This work conducts a systematic literature review of 59 journal articles published in the past decade and identifies 140 enablers under eight categories: actors, resources, conditions, attributes, processes, artefacts, values and risks. The enablers’ frequency network is illustrated using an adjacency matrix. Through the lens of actor-network theory, the work creates a relational ontology to demonstrate the linkages between different enablers. Three examples are presented using onion diagrams: circular construction focus, business model focus and digital twin in industrialisation focus. Finally, this work discusses the intersection of relational ontology with process modelling to design future digital fabrication work routines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104592
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Actor-Network Theory (ANT)
  • Digital fabrication
  • Enablers
  • Process modelling
  • Relational ontology network


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