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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2019

Jingxin Gao, Hong Ren and Weiguang Cai

High risk is one of the most prominent characteristics of the Chinese construction industry, and it poses a significant threat to construction projects. Owing to…

Abstract

Purpose

High risk is one of the most prominent characteristics of the Chinese construction industry, and it poses a significant threat to construction projects. Owing to initiatives aimed at achieving high efficiency, low carbon emissions, etc., industrialization of the construction industry has become an inevitable trend in China. However, it remains to be discussed whether industrialization of construction can reduce the risks entailed in construction projects compared with traditional construction. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the theory of risk life cycle, this paper proposes a practical risk assessment technique to assess the risk life cycle, including the risk occurrence time and potential financial losses. This technique is then applied to assess the differences between the risks involved in an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project executed via traditional and industrial production modes.

Findings

The results show that the total duration of risks in the industrial construction project is half of that in the traditional project. In addition, the expected financial loss entailed in the industrial construction project is 29 percent lower than that in the traditional construction project. Therefore, industrial construction has the potential to optimize risk performance.

Originality/value

There is no significant difference between the traditional and industrial construction models in terms of probability of risk. The maximum total loss might occur in the procurement stage in the case of industrial production, and in the construction stage in the case of traditional production. Moreover, the total expected loss from risk in the EPC project in the industrial production mode is only half of that in the traditional production route. This study is expected to provide a new risk evaluation technique and promote an understanding of the life cycle of risk management in the construction industry.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 17 May 2021

Jack Neale and Argaw Gurmu

The building sector of the construction industry incorporates a precipitous and volatile nature with poor safety conditions being prevalent, owing to its inability to…

Abstract

Purpose

The building sector of the construction industry incorporates a precipitous and volatile nature with poor safety conditions being prevalent, owing to its inability to determine an appropriate trade-off between productivity and safety. This disproportionate trade-off produces production pressures, which contribute poorly to construction performance, by encouraging workers to prioritise their working productivity ahead of safety. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impacts of production pressures in the building sector and propose mitigation strategies accordingly.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of literature was conducted, and secondary data were extracted from peer-reviewed journal papers. The data was then analysed to achieve the objectives of this study.

Findings

The main causes of production pressures are tight construction schedules, ineffective management and construction rework. Furthermore, the negative effects of production pressures are increased levels of stress in employees, reduced craftsmanship, encouraging accident-prone environments and decreasing employee’s safety behaviour. Effective mitigation strategies in relation to scheduling, leadership, communication and motivation were proposed. Finally, a causal loop diagram of production pressures in the building sector was developed.

Originality/value

This research will assist in creating a safer working environment within the building sector, by providing useful information regarding the severity of production pressures and suggesting mitigation strategies that can be implemented in the construction projects.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2021

Musab Jamal Maraqa, Rafael Sacks and Sabrina Spatari

The study aims to test, measure and quantify the impacts of lean construction and BIM implementation on flow in construction projects.

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to test, measure and quantify the impacts of lean construction and BIM implementation on flow in construction projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Detailed control data from a set of 18 high-rise residential construction projects executed between years 2011 and 2020 were analyzed using the construction flow index (CFI), a measure of workflow quality. Seven comparable projects with a diverse range of LPS, BIM, VDC and 5S implementation were selected to compare the impacts of these innovations on flow.

Findings

Implementing BIM in the big room and applying the last planner system and other lean construction techniques increased the CFI from 4.31 to 8.12 (on a 10-point scale). Avoiding trades crossing one another's paths between tasks was the most significant aspect of improved flow. Moreover, the benefits of implementing lean practices with BIM or VDC were found to be measurably greater than when these approaches were implemented separately.

Research limitations/implications

The primary limitation of the study is that the degree of confidence in the results is limited by the nature of the case study approach. Although 18 is a respectable number of case study projects, it cannot offer the degree of confidence that a broader, representative sample of projects could. Similarly, the case studies are all drawn from the same construction context (residential apartments) and the same geographic region, which necessarily limits confidence concerning the degree to which the findings can be generalized.

Originality/value

The research is the first of its kind to quantitatively assess the impacts of BIM and lean construction on flow. Use of the CFI to quantify flow quality also highlights the potential value of CFI in providing project managers and planners a clear view of the smoothness or irregularity of flow and of differences between subcontractors' production rates.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2008

Bo Jørgensen and Stephen Emmitt

The purpose of this paper is to explore the transfer of lean manufacturing/production from the Japanese manufacturing industry to the construction sector in the west.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the transfer of lean manufacturing/production from the Japanese manufacturing industry to the construction sector in the west.

Design/methodology/approach

Research literature from the fields of lean manufacturing/production and lean construction was reviewed. This revealed a number of characteristics that are specific to lean construction, most notably the recognition that critical research findings have been slow to emerge but appear to be gaining momentum.

Findings

In the transition from manufacturing to construction the process losses appear to be related to critical aspects and the challenges surrounding practical application to a different context. Lean is highly interpretive and there is no shared definition or understanding of what is meant by lean, lean production, and lean construction. The focus has been mainly on production system design, planning and management, and implementation. This narrow focus has meant that some important issues concerning the wider aspects of lean have been overlooked. There is a need for a “back to basics” discussion on many other aspects of the approach, such as whole‐life value and waste identification.

Research limitations/implications

The work is limited to an extensive literature review.

Originality/value

The extensive literature review makes an original contribution to the lean construction field and provides a valuable resource for researchers.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 31 October 2018

Xiaozhi Ma, Albert P.C. Chan, Hengqin Wu, Feng Xiong and Na Dong

Although various concepts and techniques are introduced to the built environment to achieve a substantially efficient building production, the effective application of…

Abstract

Purpose

Although various concepts and techniques are introduced to the built environment to achieve a substantially efficient building production, the effective application of these methods in projects is of immense significance to the field of building construction. Among these initiatives, lean construction and building information modelling (BIM) are mainstream endeavours that share many common principles to improve the productivity of the built environment. This study aims to explore and explain how BIM-based integrated data management (IDM) facilitates the achievement of leanness in a built environment project.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is conducted through an ethnographic-action research that relies on the design-science approach and case study through a collaborative research project. As participants of the project, the researchers of this study cooperate with the practitioners to design the project approach and production workflows. Research data and evidence are obtained via participative observation, including direct observation, results of activities, unstructured meetings and self-analysis.

Findings

In this study, the project and production perspectives clarify the building design and production process, as well as analyse how BIM facilitates the achievement of leanness in building design and construction. BIM-based frameworks for IDM have been developed to handle miscellaneous information and data, as well as enhance multidisciplinary collaboration throughout the project life cycle. The role of the integrated BIM model as an information hub between the building design and building construction has been identified.

Research/limitations implications

The project and production views of building and construction are used in this study because the research purpose is to link the BIM-based IDM to lean construction. Although this mixed approach can slightly undermine the theoretical foundation of this study, a substantially comprehensive understanding can be gained as well.

Practical implications

This study provides a new perspective to understand how BIM-based IDM contributes to lean construction.

Originality/value

This study provides new insights into IDM in a built environment project with project and production views and presents BIM-based frameworks for IDM to achieve lean construction through the BIM process.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2012

Samuel Forsman, Niclas Björngrim, Anders Bystedt, Lars Laitila, Peter Bomark and Micael Öhman

The construction industry has been criticized for not keeping up with other production industries in terms of cost efficiency, innovation, and production methods. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The construction industry has been criticized for not keeping up with other production industries in terms of cost efficiency, innovation, and production methods. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the knowledge about what hampers efficiency in supplying engineer‐to‐order (ETO) joinery‐products to the construction process. The objective is to identify the main contributors to inefficiency and to define areas for innovation in improving this industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Case studies of the supply chain of a Swedish ETO joinery‐products supplier are carried out, and observations, semi‐structured interviews, and documents from these cases are analysed from an efficiency improvement perspective.

Findings

From a lean thinking and information modelling perspective, longer‐term procurement relations and efficient communication of information are the main areas of innovation for enhancing the efficiency of supplying ETO joinery‐products. It seems to be possible to make improvements in planning and coordination, assembly information, and spatial measuring through information modelling and spatial scanning technology. This is likely to result in an increased level of prefabrication, decreased assembly time, and increased predictability of on‐site work.

Originality/value

The role of supplying ETO joinery‐products is a novel research area in construction. There is a need to develop each segment of the manufacturing industry supplying construction and this paper contributes to the collective knowledge in this area. The focus is on the possibilities for innovation in the ETO joinery‐products industry and on its improved integration in the construction industry value chain in general.

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Article
Publication date: 24 February 2020

Martin Löwstedt and Rikard Sandberg

Research concerned with standardization of the construction process has generally considered the challenges from only rational and instrumental perspectives. The purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

Research concerned with standardization of the construction process has generally considered the challenges from only rational and instrumental perspectives. The purpose of this paper is to foreground a social perspective of this challenge. Specifically, the work of construction site managers is explored through a professional work lens in order to emphasize significant misalignments with the principles of standardized production in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are drawn from a longitudinal (2014–ongoing) case study of site managers’ work in a large Swedish construction company. The research design is characterized by an explorative approach, altogether consisting of 44 in-depth interviews at the site manager level (28) and at other managerial levels (16). All the interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed particularly to highlight two contrasting dominant discourses: “standardized construction production” and “site manager work.”

Findings

The findings show that site manager’s work is enmeshed with a particular type of professional expertise and identity that is ideologically crafted around a proclivity for free and independent work. It is outlined in detail how these social dimensions of work are enacted to form an ongoing (and successful) resistance to organizational initiatives that are based on principles of standardization.

Originality/value

This study improves our understanding of an unresolved social challenge that impedes the transformation toward more standardized construction production. It adds new perspectives and value to current research by reminding that (and how) significant changes in production processes also seriously implicate professional work.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2007

Václav Beran and Petr Dlask

The problem of diverse cash flows associated with a construction “project” appear in four progressive cycles. These are the initiating construction cycle and closing…

Abstract

Purpose

The problem of diverse cash flows associated with a construction “project” appear in four progressive cycles. These are the initiating construction cycle and closing deconstruction cycle (devaluation cycle). The effectiveness of any project is given by capitalisation cycle. The optimisation of payback (credit return) cycle is critical for any project.

Design/methodology/approach

For calculate of activity durations, cash flows and even we may use the spreadsheet table as a tool for expression of calculation formulas. This approach may offer a mechanism for answers regarding the sensitivity of manageable parameters (say changes in costs, construction speeds, duration of activity). The problem of optimal capacity expansion of construction work as a time dependent problem is studied in many different applied contexts. Traditional capacity planning usually begins with a forecast of demand on the basis of organisational or technological needs.

Findings

The implementation of a technical project carried out in conditions of high production speeds and low time reserves requires changes in technologies, organisation and preparation of construction. In each specific case, a civil engineer needs to know the economic impacts (the capability of applicable calculations).

Originality/value

It is obvious from the given example, which has the same features as the execution of a series of construction projects in recent years, that the myth of the importance of executing works in large volumes ahead of the deadlines has significant financial consequences.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2019

Eder Martinez, Carolina K. Reid and Iris D. Tommelein

The purpose of this paper is to explore opportunities and barriers to using lean construction to address issues related to the value, quality and scalability of affordable…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore opportunities and barriers to using lean construction to address issues related to the value, quality and scalability of affordable housing production in Latin America.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a case study of a housing developer in Ecuador that used lean construction in the design and construction stages of an affordable housing project. The study describes how the developer addressed operational challenges derived from implementing a customization strategy and analyzes qualitative and quantitative data to assess the outcomes of lean initiatives.

Findings

The developer reduced cost and delivery time without sacrificing consumer choice. However, the economic and policy conditions worked against the benefits of lean construction, demonstrating the importance of the regulatory context in facilitating or inhibiting lean initiatives and construction innovation.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focuses on conventional means for new housing construction. Self-help and upgrading are not covered.

Practical implications

The operational challenges described in this study, as well as the innovative ways to deal with them, are beneficial for practitioners seeking to improve the quality and efficiency of affordable housing construction.

Social implications

This paper advances knowledge about how to increase value and quality delivery in the built environment which may benefit low-income families.

Originality/value

This study bridges construction innovation and housing policy, discussing the potential of lean construction within the policy and regulatory environment in which affordable housing takes place.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Andrea P. Kern and Carlos T. Formoso

Traditional cost management systems adopted by construction firms have many problems, which are widely discussed in the literature: the information provided by them is…

Abstract

Traditional cost management systems adopted by construction firms have many problems, which are widely discussed in the literature: the information provided by them is usually too late, and tends to be too aggregated and too distorted to be relevant for production management. The main objective of this research work is to propose a project cost planning and control model for construction firms. This model aims to support the development of production management systems, in which cost management and production planning and control can be gradually integrated, in order to overcome the existing limitations of cost accounting systems. The scope of the model was limited to building projects carried out by small and medium sized companies, involved in both product development and production. The development of the model was based on the literature review and also on the results of nine empirical studies conducted in four different Brazilian construction firms. The model suggests the integrated application of three fairly well known cost management techniques: operational cost estimating, S‐curves and target costing. By using this set of tools, it is expected that cost management will become more proactive, and able to deal with the dynamic, uncertain and complex construction environment that exists in most projects. The model was partially tested in two case studies, in which it provided key information for supporting decision making related to design, production planning and contracts with suppliers.

Details

Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-4387

Keywords

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