Overview of the Research Group
The work of the Lean Project Management Research Group focuses on developing the new “project production” philosophy and methodologies for implementation across all project based sectors. These include all forms of construction and the production of other high value assets such as trains, satellites and ships, TV and film production, ICT systems and even aspects of medical treatment.
Within this overarching field of study are a number of sub-themes:
- Strategic procurement for integrated production systems that build on 21 years of procurement research at NTU.
- Design of new project production systems within specific contexts arising from 14 years of research in lean construction.
- Deployment of human engagement systems that facilitate continual improvement at all levels of the production system and organisational enterprise with roots in more recent work in understanding and learning new ways of working building on 5 years of research.
All our research has a particular focus on learning from action in partnership with industry to find answers to real world problems and issues. For more information about the Centre for Lean Projects contact us.
Current doctoral students (Supervised by Pasquire at Nottingham Trent University)
- Saad Sarhan – PhD student since January 2013
- Vince Hackett (Woodside Energy, Australia) – PhD student since 2012
- Patrick Dupin – PhD student since March 2011
Doctoral research (Supervised by Pasquire at Loughborough University)2010
Details will be added soon.
Transforming Traditional Mechanical and Electrical Construction into a Modern Process of Assembly
This thesis presents the findings of a research project to develop and implement a Lean and agile Construction System on a case study project. The aim of the research project, for the sponsor company, was to improve its projects site operations, making them safer for the worker and improving effectiveness and productivity.
The findings have shown that the Construction System has proved to be a successful set of countermeasures that act as an antidote to the health, safety and productivity problems that exist in UK construction and that face the sponsor company. The System has been implemented on a large and complex mechanical and electrical case study project in the healthcare sector of UK construction. The outcome of this case study project shows that 37% less onsite labour was needed, meaning fewer workers were exposed to health and safety risks from site operations, leading to zero reportable accidents. Good ergonomics was achieved by focussing on workplace design, thus improving workers wellbeing, together with an improved quality of work for those required on site carrying out simpler assembly tasks. Productivity gains resulted by eliminating process waste, therefore reducing the risk of labour cost escalation that could otherwise have occurred. A 7% direct labour cost reduction was made meaning the labour budget allocation was maintained. Significantly, an overall productivity of 116% was achieved using the Construction System, which compares favourably to BSRIA’s findings of an average overall productivity of only 37% when compared to observed best practice for the projects in that case study research.
The results include the benefits found from the use of an innovative method to assemble, transport, and install frameless, preassembled mechanical and electrical services modules, where a 93% reduction in onsite labour was achieved together with an 8.62% cost benefit.
No time slippage was experienced during onsite assembly to delay or disrupt other trades and the commissioning programme was not compressed that could otherwise have caused problems in handing over the facility to the customer. From a customer’s perspective, the built facilities were handed over on-time, to their satisfaction and to budget.
The research has achieved two levels of innovation, one at a process level and one at a product level. The process innovation is the development and successful implementation of the Construction System, which is a combination of methods acting together as an antidote to the research problem. The product innovation is the development of the innovative method for assembling, transporting and installing frameless mechanical and electrical corridor modules, whereby modularisation can be achieved with or without an offsite manufacturing capability.
Conceptualising Value for Construction: Experience From Social Housing Projects in Chile
The aim of this research emerged from the need to underline and better comprehend an emerging phenomenon based on the return of Value from the construction industry to the society as a whole. Thus, this research established that a wider conceptualisation of Value, which considers stakeholder and global needs, and different features and multidimensional attributes of this concept, could enlarge the potential of this sector to address universal issues from early stage of projects. Therefore, the research aims at:
• Linking Value delivery from the construction industry with society and the built environment (building & infrastructure projects), and represent this situation through a conceptual model, which considers different features and multidimensional attributes of Value.
In an attempt to conceptualise a wider view of Value in the construction industry, different approached to manage Value were investigated. As a result, Lean Thinking arose as a potential philosophy to expand common customer focused Value perspectives. Additionally, different features and multidimensional attributes of the concept of Value were identified. To aid the visualisation of Value in the construction industry, a conceptual model was developed and named the “First and Last Value Model” – F&LVM. According to this model, the delivery of Value spans across two different contexts: First context, which refers to Value delivery to the society (First Value: Environmental & Social issues), and Last context, which deals with Value delivery at project level (Last Value: Production process). This model also considers the interaction between three Value domains: Production & Delivery capacity; Stakeholders’ perspective; and Social perspective. From this interaction, four central perspectives are included towards a wider visualisation of Value: Technological, economic, environmental and political. Moreover, this model considers Value as an objective, subjective, dynamic, context dependent, relative, and “oscillating” concept.
Masters research (Supervised by Pasquire at Nottingham Trent University)2013
- Emmanuel Daniel – Last Planner Thinking in Nigeria
- Danstan Chiponde – Lean as a competitive advantage for contractors
- Monika Somanath – Lean in the maintenance of Social Housing.
Masters research (Supervised by Pasquire at Loughborough University)2009
During the last years Lean Construction has emerged as a new production philosophy that has brought very good results in companies where has been implemented. However, the relation-ship between lean improvements and the way to measure them in terms of cost management systems has not been sufficiently explored. Recently, some Lean Manufacturing firms have begun to use a tool that allows them to establish an appropriate link between their production processes and their economic and financial infrastructure. The method, called Lean Accounting, has played a key role in both the identification of the financial impact and the measurement of the changes that are taking place in the organization.
Consequently, a study about Lean Accounting in construction needed a research aimed to an-swer, from a theoretical viewpoint, the following question: Can Lean Accounting be imple-mented in construction to support, control, understand, and sustain the changes induced by the application of lean construction principles? The study utilised a qualitative constructive research approach and data collection methods such as interviews and archive document analysis. The main conclusions of the dissertation were that from a theoretical standpoint Lean Accounting: (a) supports lean transformations by implementing lean performance measurements, (b) controls lean improvements by removing waste through mapping and standardising processes, (c) understands the changes by involving the client in the process, and (d) sustains lean thinking by creating new ways of doing traditional tasks in construction accounting.
2. Joao Vinagre
An integration of Value Management principles into the Lean Construction philosophy
Construction has been an industry known for its delays and poor quality related problems. Cus-tomer value is often left behind especially if it stands in the way of the producer’s profit, which then leads to big a client dissatisfaction that can be seen in construction. Clients normally com-plain about the lack of quality in the work produce, the amount of defects, the excessive prices and the often delays.
The industry’s fragmentation (due to lack of collaborative working) has lead to a state where each participant seeks only for his own benefit. As stated in the Egan Report (Rethinking Con-struction, 1998) customers wish to see collaboration between designers and constructors to enhance the value delivered to them.
However, some improvements and developments have been made to try to address some of these aspects. The recent industry focus on trying to solve these problems has lead to the de-velopment of approaches such as Value management and Lean thinking. These two address similar issues and try to respond to problems adopting a similar approach so researchers have try to combine the two approaches together and review to what extent are they integrated. Based on the fact that Lean is seeking to reduce waste and value management provides the identification of wasteful activities by analysing the value added in each one, it is now clear that the two problems solving approaches are interrelated.
Now that the problems are identified and the solutions presented my efforts will focus on the implementation of these techniques, how to promote the plan of action to all participants and engage them in an integrated planning stage. The specific focus of this research is in the inter-mediate steps between the value analysis and its practical applications.
3. Mohamed Shalaby
Project Controls in Lean Construction
Lately, the construction industry has come under heavy criticism for its inadequate perfor-mance. There are substantial concerns, supported with evidence that the industry as a whole is underperforming. Project controls is in the heart of project management in construction and it sets out the framework within which performance is being measured in different dimensions. Moreover, project controls is the means that trigger management intervention to bring back projects in track when variations occur between the predetermined targets and actual performance.
This research argues that the current practice in project controls lacks efficiency in application, as well as consistency in its definitions as introduced by the PMBOK and widely accepted and practiced across the industry, and therefore, there is a need to a different approach towards understanding and hence managing project controls in construction. The research further ar-gues that the principals of the lean philosophy when coupled with the explanations provided by the TFV theory have adequately addressed the issues related to construction underperforming ‘phenomenon’. Therefore, the traditional definitions of project controls dimensions have to be altered to reflect the new paradigm shift and to pave the way for further research on performance measurements that reflect the purposes of the industry.
Undergraduate research (Supervised by Pasquire at Loughborough University)2009
Development of Lean Construction Theory
Lean Construction has developed over the past number of years from a manufacturing philosophy Lean Production. It has developed many applications one of these is construction. Studying the development of Lean Construction Theory this research applies a quantitative method of data collection to what is primarily a qualitative subject area. This was done in the form of a database and which provided a method of working out which sources and authors were the most influential in the formation of Lean Construction Theory. By doing this it was possible to create a timeline of Lean Construction.
2. Ryan Byrne
The role of Lean construction in delivering project certainty
The project identifies the uncertain, chaotic nature of the construction industry due to the traditional approach of project management. The principles of lean thinking and their application to construction are defined and the idea of concept diagramming is used to provide a model to aid project managers in a more efficient method of project management. The term certainty is defined and the potential of lean thinking to be implemented to increase project certainty is investigated.
The Effect of a Last Planner System on Non-Recoverable Costs in Construction
The concept of lean construction has been in development since the 1990′s, based upon the lean manufacturing principles. This report examined the concept of lean construction, and in particular, the use of the Last Planner system as a way of reducing the problem of non-recoverable costs that occur on con-struction projects, which is a significant issue in traditional construction. The report also identi-fies the areas and trades on construction projects that most frequently cause these non-recoverable costs.
The findings were in partial support of the hypothesis, indicating potential for reducing non-recoverable costs using lean principles, but further research is required to ascertain the full ex-tent of benefit to contractors.
2. Oliver Reynolds
Implementation of Lean Construction
This research investigated the potential barriers that exist for organisations implementing lean construction due its apparent usage in the industry being limited. This is despite lean construc-tion being highlighted as the future of the industry over ten years ago. Directly employed labour and the use of a development plan, were investigated to analyse the effect that they had on an organisation implementing lean construction. Interviews were used to obtain the primary data.
The study concluded that there were multiple barriers that exist for an organisation starting on a journey of going lean, and that directly employed labour would ease the implementation process. However main constructors are unlikely to return to the use of directly employed labour.
Lean Construction Games
This research project concerns the development of a simulation game that will engage construction professionals in embarking on the change process towards lean construction. In the 1990s there were various initiatives which served to highlight benefits of lean construction. A decade later, the uptake of lean construction is still relatively slow. It was identified that the implementation of lean construction required organisational change, and that many change initiatives can fail due to lack of learning. The research was conducted in an attempt to promote the use of lean construction games to teach construction professionals the benefits of lean construction.
A critical review of relevant literature was conducted. A Lean Construction simulation game was developed and trialled, and then played by twenty construction professionals selected from one construction company by cluster sampling. Two questionnaires, observation of participant behaviour and measurement of performance variables after each round of play were used to gather primary data on the performance of the game. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data.
The surveys indicated that construction professionals were engaged by the game and that the game increased their knowledge of lean construction. Furthermore, it was concluded that the game did engage construction professionals in the change strategy towards lean construction implementation. It is recommended that the construction industry implement lean construction and that organisations use games to teach the principles and benefits of lean construction.
Lean thinking and continuous improvement
This research investigated whether lean thinking can improve the subcontract procurement process by eliminating waste and adding value to the customer. Using a case study, a current state map of the process was developed visualising every process that contributes to the end product. From this, a number of wasteful activities were eliminated, the value stream was identified, flow was introduced, and processes were pulled from the customer.
From this, a future state map was created by highlighting potential changes creating improved productivity and efficiency. It was concluded that the research provided evidence that lean thinking is a sustainable tool that could be successfully implemented in to the subcontract pro-curement process to eliminate waste and add value to the customer.
2. Richard Lambe
Use of Payment Mechanisms to embed collaborative working
Collaboration in the supply chain has been identified as an imperative strategy to gain advan-tage over competitors. Furthermore, Lean Construction requires stable and efficient workflow to eliminate wasteful, non-value adding activities.
This study concludes that current payment mechanisms do not support collaborative working and offers an alternative that aligns objectives and measures whether parties have collaborated effectively for the good of the whole project.