Loughborough University
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Investigating the integration of design and construction from a lean perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-04-26, 10:17 authored by Bo Jorgensen, Stephen Emmitt
Purpose – Better integration of project processes has often been identified as the key issue regarding construction performance improvement. In some countries lean construction has become well-established, although there appears to be considerable diversity in the interpretation of the concept. Lean construction initially focused on production aspects, but gradually design issues have started to receive more attention and integrating construction design and production processes from a lean perspective are beginning to be addressed. The purpose of this paper is to identify some of the practical challenges underlying the implementation of approaches promoted as “lean” and compare this with published research/theory. Design/methodology/approach – Following an extensive review of the literature, a multiple case-strategy approach was used to explore the practical application of lean approaches to design and construction integration in an organisational setting. Summaries of the case studies, one from the USA and two from Denmark, help to highlight a number of pertinent issues facing practitioners and researchers. Findings – Findings suggest that it is possible to identify a number of aspects that (in theory as well as in practice) both influence and, to various extents, limit the applicability of the lean philosophy to construction. Findings also help to emphasise the importance of a number of interdependent factors for achieving better integration, namely: value identification/specification; an appropriate project delivery framework; structuring and planning of delivery processes; transparency; management and leadership; learning; and the importance of local context. Originality/value – The findings provide an original contribution to the integration of design and construction activities from a lean perspective. The findings are generic and could be practically applied in a variety of contexts.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


JORGENSEN, B. and EMMITT, S., 2009. Investigating the integration of design and construction from a lean perspective. Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management, 9 (2), pp. 225 - 240.


© Emerald Group Publishing Limited


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This article was published in the journal, Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management [© Emerald Group Publishing Limited] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14714170910950849




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