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Time-cost-quality-environmental impact trade-off resource-constrained project scheduling problem with DEA approach

Sayyid Ali Banihashemi (Department of Industrial Engineering, Payame Noor University, Birjand, Iran)
Mohammad Khalilzadeh (CENTRUM Católica Graduate Business School, Lima, Peru) (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 19 October 2020

Issue publication date: 16 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to evaluate project activities' efficiency in different execution modes for the optimization of time–cost-quality and environmental impacts trade-off problem.


This paper presents a parallel Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) method for evaluation of project activities with different execution modes to select the best execution mode and find a trade-off between objectives. Also, according to the nature of the project activities, outputs are categorized into desirable (quality) and undesirable (time, cost and environmental impacts) and analyzed based on the DEA model. In order to rank efficient execution modes, the ideal and anti-ideal virtual units method is used. The proposed model is implemented on a real case of a rural water supply construction project to demonstrate its validity.


The findings show that the use of the efficient execution mode in each activity leads to an optimal trade-off between the four project objectives (time, cost, quality and environmental impacts).

Practical implications

This study help project managers and practitioners with choosing the most efficient execution modes of project activities taking time–cost-quality-environmental impacts into account.


In this paper, in addition to time and cost optimization of construction projects, quality factors and environmental impacts are considered. Further to the authors' knowledge, there is no method for evaluating project activities' efficiency. The efficiency of different activity modes is also evaluated for the first time to select the most efficient modes. This research can assist project managers with choosing the most appropriate execution modes for the activities to ultimately accomplish the project with the lowest time, cost and environmental impacts along with the highest quality.



Banihashemi, S.A. and Khalilzadeh, M. (2021), "Time-cost-quality-environmental impact trade-off resource-constrained project scheduling problem with DEA approach", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 7, pp. 1979-2004.



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