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Work continuity constraints in repetitive project scheduling considering soft logic

Xin Zou (Department of Economic Management, North China Electric Power University, Baoding, China)
Guangchuan Wu (Department of Economic Management, North China Electric Power University, Baoding, China)
Qian Zhang (State Grid Energy Research Institute, Beijing, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 22 September 2020

Issue publication date: 25 June 2021




Repetitive projects play an important role in the construction industry. A crucial point in scheduling this type of project lies in enabling timely movement of crews from unit to unit so as to minimize the adverse effect of work interruptions on both time and cost. This paper aims to examine a repetitive scheduling problem with work continuity constraints, involving a tradeoff among project duration, work interruptions and total project cost (TPC). To enhance flexibility and practicability, multi-crew execution is considered and the logic relation between units is allowed to be changed arbitrarily. That is, soft logic is considered.


This paper proposes a multi-objective mixed-integer linear programming model with the capability of yielding the optimal tradeoff among three conflicting objectives. An efficient version of the e-constraint algorithm is customized to solve the model. This model is validated based on two case studies involving a small-scale and a practical-scale project, and the influence of using soft logic on project duration and total cost is analyzed via computational experiments.


Using soft logic provides more flexibility in minimizing project duration, work interruptions and TPC, especial for non-typical projects with a high percentage of non-typical activities.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the proposed model fails to consider the learning-forgetting phenomenon, which provides space for future research.

Practical implications

This study assists practitioners in determining the “most preferred” schedule once additional information is provided.


This paper presents a new soft logic-based mathematical programming model to schedule repetitive projects with the goal of optimizing three conflicting objectives simultaneously.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant number 71701069], the Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province of China [grant number G2018502127], and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [grant number 2020MS129]. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewer and editor for a careful scrutiny of details and for comments that helped improved this manuscript.


Zou, X., Wu, G. and Zhang, Q. (2021), "Work continuity constraints in repetitive project scheduling considering soft logic", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1713-1738.



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