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Improving construction management practice with the Last Planner System: a case study

Abdullah O. AlSehaimi (Administration of Projects and Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia)
Patricia Tzortzopoulos Fazenda (University of Salford, UK)
Lauri Koskela (University of Salford, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 14 January 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing the Last Planner System (LPS) to improve construction planning practice and enhance site management in the Saudi construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

LPS was implemented in two large state-owned construction projects through an action research process. The data collection methods included interviews, observations and a survey questionnaire.

Findings

The findings identify benefits including improved construction planning, enhanced site management and better communication and coordination between the parties involved. The paper describes the critical success factors for LPS implementation. The paper also describes barriers to the realisation the full potential of LPS, including the involvement of many subcontractors and people's commitment and attitude to time.

Research limitations/implications

The work reported in this paper is limited to two case studies.

Practical implications

The study has thus contributed to improving management practice and may aid the establishment of a basis for the development of further research in the area of lean construction. The research outcomes can inform practitioners of the opportunity to implement alternative management methods in construction, and give a good account of the opportunities and challenges. Beside the direct benefits to managerial practice, the study also contributed to practice by offering practical recommendation that can assist in the achievement of the full potential of lean and LPS in Saudi Arabia.

Originality/value

This is the first comprehensive academic study in the Saudi construction sector concerning the application of lean construction principles and techniques. The study has thus contributed to practice and developed a basis for the development of further research in the area of lean construction. It may help construction organisations to establish a new strategy and policies to improve their managerial practice. The outcomes of the case studies can be used as a reference for organisations seeking to improve their managerial practice.

Keywords

Citation

O. AlSehaimi, A., Tzortzopoulos Fazenda, P. and Koskela, L. (2014), "Improving construction management practice with the Last Planner System: a case study", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 51-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-03-2012-0032

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited