Revisiting the three peculiarities of production in construction

Vrijhoef, R and Koskela, LJ 2005, Revisiting the three peculiarities of production in construction , in: 13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference., 19-21 July 2005, Sydney, Australia.

PDF - Published Version
Download (99kB) | Preview


Compared to many other industries, construction is a specific type of project industry with certain peculiarities influencing the characteristics of constructed products, ways of production, and the industry itself. Previously three major peculiarities of production in construction have been discussed, i.e. site production (i.e. organising the production around the product dependent on outdoor conditions), temporary production organisation (e.g. fragmented supply chain), and one-of-a kind product (e.g. design-to-order project-based production). Many times, particularly within the realms of lean construction, the basic hypothesis has been that these peculiarities lead to variability and thus to waste, and low performance levels in terms of productivity and value delivery to clients. Inversely, lean construction should be aimed at the banning of waste, thus reduction of variability, and thus the reduction or even resolution of peculiarities. In this paper, the peculiarities of production in construction are discussed and whether they always cause problems, whether they are always leading to waste, and whether they always can and need to be reduced or resolved. Some examples of solutions resolving or reducing certain peculiarities are given, such as modular housing, pre-engineered buildings and off-site production. Based on the examples, the effects and costs of reduction and resolution of peculiarities are discussed. To conclude it is discussed whether construction must and can always be improved by resolving the peculiarities, and at what cost. It is concluded that peculiarities should be resolved when they are not needed. However, before to decide to do so, the additional costs or even the potential value loss that may be caused by peculiarities must always be related to the whole life costs and value of the object built, and the extra costs and efforts for resolving the peculiarities. Finally, issues for future research are given.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Themes: Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS155-194 Production management. Operations management
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of 13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference.
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: LJ Koskela
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2010 09:50
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 09:21
References: Ballard, G. (2005). “Construction: one type of project-based production system”. In: Proceedings SCRI Forum Event Lean Construction: The Next Generation. 19 January 2005, SCRI, University of Salford, Salford. 14. Ballard, G. and Howell, G.A. (1998). “What kind of production is construction?”. In: Proceedings 6th Annual Lean Construction Conference (IGLC–6). August, Guarujá, Brazil. Cherns, A.B. and Bryant, D.T. (1984). “Studying the client’s role in construction management”. Construction Management and Economics 2, 177–184. Dekker, K. (1998). “Open building systems: a case study”. Building Research & Information 26 (5), 311–318. Drucker, P.F. (1963). The practice of management. Heinemann, London. Dubois, A. and Gadde, L.E. (2002). “The construction industry as a loosely coupled system: implications for productivity and innovation”. Construction Management and Economics 20, 621–631. Eccles, R.G. (1981). “The quasi-firm in the construction industry”. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 2 (4), 335–357. Gann, D.M. (1996). “Construction as a manufacturing process?: similarities and differences between industrialized housing and car pro-duction in Japan”. Construction Management and Economics 14, 437–450. Green, S.D., Newcombe, R., Fernie, S. and Weller, S. (2004). Learning across business sectors: knowledge sharing between aerospace and construction. University of Reading, Reading. 84. Groák, S. (1994). “Is construction an industry?: note towards a greater analytical emphasis on external linkages”. Construction Management and Economics 12, 287–293. Harland, C.M., Lamming, R.C. and Cousins, P.D. (1999). “Developing the concept of supply strategy”. International journal of operations and production management 19 (7), 650–673. Koskela, L. (2003). “Is structural change the primary solution to the problems of construction”. Building Research and Information 31 (2), 85–96. Koskela, L. (2000). An exploration towards a production theory and its application to construction. PhD Thesis, VTT Publications 408. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo. Lin, F.R. and Shaw, M.J. (1998). “Reengineering the order fulfilment process in supply chain networks”. International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems 10, 197–299. Lundin, R.A. and Söderholm, A. (1995). “A theory of temporary organization”. Scandinavian Journal of Management 11 (4), 437–455. Lundin, R.A. and Steinthórsson, R.S. (2003). “Studying organizations as temporary”. Scandinavian Journal of Management 19, 233–250. Maas, G. and Van Eekelen, B. (2004). “The bollard: the lessons learned from an unusual example of off-site construction”. Automation in Construction 13, 37–51. Nam, C.H. and Tatum, C.B. (1988). “Major characteristics of constructed products and resulting limitations of construction technology”. Construction Management and Economics 6, 133–148. Pryke, S.D. (2002). “Construction coalitions and the evolving supply chain management paradox: progress through fragmentation”. In: Proceedings COBRA. 5 September, Nottingham. Rintala, K. (2004). The economic efficiency of accommodation service PFI projects. VTT Publications 555. VTT, Espoo. 286+186app. Turin, D.A. (2003). “Building as a process”. Building Research & Information 31 (2), 180–187. Reprint of the original article first published in the Proceedings of the Bartlett Society in 1967. Voordijk, J.T. and Vrijhoef, R. (2003). “Improving supply chain management in construction; what can be learned from the aerospace industry?”. In: Greenwood, D.J. (ed.). Proceedings Annual ARCOM Conference. 2 (3) September, University of Brighton, Brighton. 837–846. Vrijhoef, R., Cuperus, Y. and Voordijk, J.T. (2002). “Exploring the connection between open building and lean construction: defining a postponement strategy for supply chain management”. In: Formoso, C.T. (ed.). Proceedings 10th Annual IGLC Conference. 6 August, UFRGS, Gramado, Brazil. Vrijhoef, R. and Koskela, L. (2005b). “A critical review of construction as a project-based industry: identifying paths towards a projectindependent approach to construction”. In: Kähkönen, K. (ed.). Proceedings CIB Combining Forces. June, Helsinki. Forthcoming. Vrijhoef, R. and Koskela, L. (2005a). “Structural and contextual comparison of construction to other project-based industries”. In: Ruddock, L. (ed.). Proceedings IPRC 2005. April, University of Salford, Salford. 537–548. Vrijhoef, R. and Koskela, L. (2000). “The four roles of supply chain management in construction”. European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (3-4), 169–178. Vrijhoef, R. and Voordijk, J.T. (2004). “Improving supply chain management in construction: what can be learned from the electronics industry?”. In: Proceedings CIB World Building Congress. 2 May 2004, Toronto. Winch, G.M. (2003). “Models of manufacturing construction process: the genesis of re-engineering construction”. Building Research & Information 31 (2), 107–118. Winch, G.M. (1989). “The construction firm and the construction project: a transaction cost approach”. Construction Management and Economics 7, 331–345. Wortmann, J.C. (1992). “Production management systems for one-of-a-kind products”. Computers in Industry 19 (1) 79–88. Woudhuysen, J. and Abley, I. (2004). Why is construction so backward? Wiley-Academy.

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year