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Lean in Construction Projects: Is lean suitable for all construction projects?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Technology.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Due to the low productivity growth in the construction industry, there are discussions about theories and tools that could support an increased productivity in construction projects. One such ‘theory’ or package of tools is lean. Lean has been used successfully for decades in the car manufacturing industry, Toyota for example, and in other industries as the shipbuilding industry. In the construction industry, the use of the word lean is not frequently used and construction projects could might implement lean concepts and tools in a greater extent than today.

The purpose of this thesis is to increase the productivity in construction projects by evaluating if and in which types of construction projects different lean concepts and tools could be used and when it is worth to implement different lean concepts and tools. The research questions are about if there are any obstacles to implement lean and which lean concepts and tools that are most suitable for different types of construction projects.

The findings, that will answer the research questions, are based on a theoretical view from an extensive literature review including prior case studies about lean in general as well as about lean in construction projects. The findings are also based on interviews, about the construction process and lean in construction projects, with managers at different types of projects, constructed by Skanska.

Even though lean is already used in some extent in construction projects, the finding is that lean concepts and tools could be used in a greater extent in construction projects without obstacles. In addition to concepts and tools used in the car manufacturing industry, e.g. just-in-time, other concepts and tools have to be added. For example production control and planning are important to support lean in construction projects. In general, lean concepts and tools could be used in all types of construction projects. Some concepts or tools are more preferable in certain types of projects. Lean could be used only by the main contractor, however, to optimize the process by lean concepts and tool, it is preferable if the whole chain is adopting lean thinking.

As a final comment, construction projects are not like car manufacturing facilities with repetitive work and products. But the construction industry has to take impact from it and the future will be more like the car industry, if the quality and the architectural creativity could retained in the projects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Lean, Lean in Construction Projects, Productivity, Construction Industry
National Category
Construction Management Engineering and Technology Civil Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-146653OAI: diva2:724478
Subject / course
Building Technology
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Urban Management
Available from: 2014-06-16 Created: 2014-06-12 Last updated: 2014-06-30Bibliographically approved

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