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The relationship between the last planner® system and collaborative planning practice in UK construction

Emmanuel Itodo Daniel (Centre for Lean Projects, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Christine Pasquire (Centre for Lean Projects, School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Graham Dickens (School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Herman Glenn Ballard (Project Production Systems Laboratory Berkeley, University of California, California, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 15 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify how the newly emerging UK practice of “collaborative planning” (CP) for construction project delivery aligns with the advocated principles of the global last planner system (LPS) of production planning and control.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed, qualitative, exploratory approach was adopted for the study. This entailed qualitative data through three techniques, namely: semi-structured interviews, documents analysis, and structured observation. In total, 30 in-depth interviews were conducted over a 12 month period with lean construction consultants, clients, main contractors, and subcontractors drawn from the building, highways and infrastructure and rail sector. In all, 15 projects were visited where practices were observed.

Findings

The study reveals that the current practice of CP in the UK partially aligns with the LPS principles. Where practitioners have heard of the LPS they believe it to be the same practice as CP.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to 30 interviews, observation of 15 projects and document analysis. The aim of the study is not to generalise the findings, however, since the study examined top construction companies and practitioners in the UK and the findings were consistent across the sample, some conclusions could be made. The study is also limited to examining the construction phase only, future studies should incorporate the design phase.

Practical implications

A clear identification of the elements of current practice compared to the components of the LPS provides a contribution to the future practice of project production planning and management in the construction industry.

Social implications

The study highlights a continuing resistance to collaboration within the industry. This resistance is subtly embedded within implemented practices even though they are based on collaborative working for their success.

Originality/value

This is among the first studies in the UK that comprehensively examines and reports the application of LPS/CP practice in construction across the major construction sectors. Future studies could build on the findings from this work to develop an approach/methodology to improve the current practice.

Keywords

Citation

Daniel, E.I., Pasquire, C., Dickens, G. and Ballard, H.G. (2017), "The relationship between the last planner® system and collaborative planning practice in UK construction", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 407-425. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2015-0109

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited