Improvement of construction process by adopting lean construction principles: a construction model development

Heidar Barghi, Mahsa (2023). Improvement of construction process by adopting lean construction principles: a construction model development. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Lessons learned from the construction industry have shown that adopting lean principles within construction processes can significantly enhance the overall success of a construction project. However, currently the potential benefits of such an approach are still not being fully realised in a uniform way. The application of lean principles in construction projects has an underlying aim to increase the value of projects and to eliminate construction waste, in order to achieve project targets of time, cost, and quality while reducing damage to the environment consistent with the underlying principles of sustainable development. This research project presents a newly developed framework that contains a set of lean methods and techniques to support the application of lean principles to construction project practice. In so doing the method helps those within the construction industry to more consistently achieve the full benefits that lean construction approaches can offer.

The aim of this research project is to investigate the lean construction techniques currently used in the industry and the principles of lean construction applications, particularly, the problems and challenges, and develop a new construction process model in which lean methods/tools can be integrated. This will provide an effective and efficient way for managing construction projects in the construction industry. A parallel aim is to improve the construction process to better manage construction waste, time and cost and to improve the levels of quality and sustainability achieved. The adaptation of lean principles with identified enablers has been assessed where a combination of different lean principles and techniques were considered as the main enablers to develop a framework for the construction process. The RIBA Plan of Work was used to integrate and incorporate several lean construction principles and techniques to develop a standardised model where both the construction stages and the associated activities of the construction process in projects can be described.

The underlying philosophy of the developed framework is to increase the efficiency of transformation activities (known as value-adding activities – processing). The innovative construction process models presented in this research are developed based on the core enablers that can be used to identify and eliminate waste in the construction process. These include set-based concurrent engineering (SBCE) integrated with the Last Planner® System (LPS) and lean thinking (LT) within traditional construction process activities. A number of measurement and control methods and guidelines for implementation of the framework are presented. In addition, case study materials have been collected from the industry in order to test and validate the framework. The results provide useful information and guidance to the construction industry as a whole.

The novelty and contribution to knowledge of the research includes: improvement of construction process and performance through the development and implementation of an integrated lean-enabled pull flow construction process framework (i.e. pull flow control embedded within lean construction management) integrated with measurement and control methods within the RIBA Plan of Works. The research concludes by suggesting that the most effective way to implement lean methods and techniques in construction activities is to use the framework proposed and developed in this research which is integrated with the RIBA Plan of Work.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: Civil Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)


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