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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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 March 2022

Qun Gao, Bin Liu, Jide Sun, Chunlu Liu and Youquan Xu

This paper aims to better understand the linkage between CO2 emitters and industrial consumers. The border-crossing frequency is applied to calculate the average number of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to better understand the linkage between CO2 emitters and industrial consumers. The border-crossing frequency is applied to calculate the average number of steps that a country takes in relation to the CO2 emissions of its construction industry. The maximum border-crossing frequency and declining speed of CO2 transfer are used to reveal the relationship between the length of production chains and the transfer efficiency of construction products.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper maps the CO2 transfer that accompanies global production chains using the frequency of border crossing in the production processes of construction products. As the basic analysis framework, a multi-regional input–output model is adopted to analyse the average border-crossing frequency of CO2 transfer. Additionally, indicators including the maximum border-crossing frequency and declining speed of CO2 transfer are employed. Also, the maximum border-crossing frequency and declining speed of CO2 transfer are used to reveal the relationship between the length of production chains and the transfer efficiency of construction products.

Findings

The results indicate that 85.49% of the CO2 in construction products needs to be processed in at least one country, reflecting that direct trade is the major pattern of transfer of CO2 from primary producers in global construction industries. The maximum border-crossing frequency is 4.88 for 15 economies, meaning that construction products cross the international borders up to 4.88 times before they are absorbed by the final users. The scale of the average border-crossing frequency ranged from 1.16 to 1.87 over 2000–2014, indicating that the original construction products crossed the international borders at least 1.16 times to satisfy the final demand of the consuming countries.

Research limitations/implications

The data from the economic MRIO tables in the WIOD are only available until 2014, which is a limitation for conducting this research in recent years.

Originality/value

The fragmentation of production is not only reshaping global trade patterns, but also leading to the separation of CO2 emitters and final consumers in production chains. A growing number of studies have focussed on the impact of production fragmentation on accounting for regional and national CO2 emissions, but little research has been done at the scale of a specific industry. The major contribution of this paper lies in mapping the CO2 emissions that accompany the production chains of construction products from the perspectives of both magnitude and length. Additionally, this paper is the first to propose using maximum border-crossing frequency and declining speed to analyse the characteristics of global production chains induced by the final demand of major economies for construction products.

Details

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

Keywords

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

Keywords

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.

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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

Keywords

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

Keywords

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.

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…

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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.

Article
Publication date: 3 February 2022

Juan Du, Yan Xue, Vijayan Sugumaran, Min Hu and Peng Dong

For prefabricated building construction, improper handling of the production scheduling for prefabricated components is one of the main reasons that affect project…

Abstract

Purpose

For prefabricated building construction, improper handling of the production scheduling for prefabricated components is one of the main reasons that affect project performance, which causes overspending, schedule overdue and quality issues. Prior research on prefabricated components production schedule has shown that optimizing the flow shop scheduling problem (FSSP) is the basis for solving this issue. However, some key resources and the behavior of the participants in the context of actual prefabricated components production are not considered comprehensively.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper characterizes the production scheduling of the prefabricated components problem into a permutation flow shop scheduling problem (PFSSP) with multi-optimization objectives, and limitation on mold and buffers size. The lean construction principles of value-based management (VBM) and just-in-time (JIT) are incorporated into the production process of precast components. Furthermore, this paper applies biogeography-based optimization (BBO) to the production scheduling problem of prefabricated components combined with some improvement measures.

Findings

This paper focuses on two specific scenarios: production planning and production rescheduling. In the production planning stage, based on the production factor, this study establishes a multi-constrained and multi-objective prefabricated component production scheduling mathematical model and uses the improved BBO for prefabricated component production scheduling. In the production rescheduling stage, the proposed model allows real-time production plan adjustments based on uncertain events. An actual case has been used to verify the effectiveness of the proposed model and the improved BBO.

Research limitations/implications

With respect to limitations, only linear weighted transformations are used for objective optimization. In regards to research implications, this paper considers the production of prefabricated components in an environment where all parties in the supply chain of prefabricated components participate to solve the production scheduling problem. In addition, this paper creatively applies the improved BBO to the production scheduling problem of prefabricated components. Compared to other algorithms, the results show that the improved BBO show optimized result.

Practical implications

The proposed approach helps prefabricated component manufacturers consider complex requirements which could be used to formulate a more scientific and reasonable production plan. The proposed plan could ensure the construction project schedule and balance the reasonable requirements of all parties. In addition, improving the ability of prefabricated component production enterprises to deal with uncertain events. According to actual production conditions (such as the occupation of mold resources and storage resources of completed components), prefabricated component manufacturers could adjust production plans to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of the whole prefabricated construction project.

Originality/value

The value of this article is to provide details of the procedures and resource constraints from the perspective of the precast components supply chain, which is closer to the actual production process of prefabricated components. In addition, developing the production scheduling for lean production will be in line with the concept of sustainable development. The proposed lean production scheduling could establish relationships between prefabricated component factory manufacturers, transportation companies, on-site contractors and production workers to reduce the adverse effects of emergencies on the prefabricated component production process, and promote the smooth and efficient operation of construction projects.

Details

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

Keywords

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

Keywords

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

Keywords

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