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Biotto, C (2019) Integration of overlapped design and construction stages through location-based planning tools, Unpublished PhD Thesis, School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield.

  • Type: Thesis
  • Keywords: action research; case study; complexity; construction management; critical path method; highways; maintenance; Norway; procurement; project management
  • URL: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34921/
  • Abstract:
    The overlap of design and construction stages is a current practice in the construction industry, which aims to shorten the project lead time and cost. Apart from the construction industry fragmentation and its difficulties imposed on project management, this type of project faces some additional challenges, such as difficulties in optimising the design solution in a short period and in keeping the construction activities flowing smoothly. Furthermore, the advantages of this practice may be minimised if the time is badly managed, resulting in over-costs, time delays, and an increase in uncertainty. Although these problems can be avoided through the use of lean management practices, there is a lack of research on the application of lean for managing projects with overlap between design and construction stages. Moreover, the current literature in planning overlapped projects explores traditional methods of planning, such as the Critical Path Method (CPM), which have limited capacity to deal with the construction complexity. Hence, research on the use of lean tools for planning, namely location-based scheduling (LBS) tools, is needed and has a wide field of exploration to improve the performance of overlapped projects. The aim of this research is to devise a model to design, plan and control the stages of design and construction in the context of projects with overlap between these stages, using LBS tools and other lean practices to pull and align the project production regarding location, sequence and takt-time. The objectives are: (i) Determine how to use location-based tools to structure the work for design, suppliers and construction in alignment with their production sequences and production batches; (ii) Find out how to assemble design packages to meet suppliers' and construction requirements; (iii) Determine the decoupling point of design development in order to apply pull production; (iv) Identify and analyse pros and cons of existing types of pull production systems that better suit the context of overlapped projects; (v) Explore how to measure and manage the work in progress and buffers in an integrated project system; (vi) Identify the best tools to control the production system, and to ensure that downstream information is achieving upstream processes. The research process contains three studies from the researcher's professional experience: a fourth case study at the new university's building in Norway; a fifth action research study in a highways depot maintenance project in the UK; and a sixth case study in a construction company in a residential project in Norway. The research approach used to develop the studies was the Design Science Research (DSR). The DSR is a mode of producing scientific knowledge through the creation and implementation of a solution (an artefact) for problems that affect the construction management. The production of the artefact is the aim of this research, and it is built throughout the studies. Findings indicate the use of LBS tools applied in construction to pull production in design and supply. The production control is conducted by an adapted last planner system to confirm and align deliverables with construction. Moreover, the BIM process is designed in connection with procurement and construction activities. The final model of this research can be used in the project management of construction projects with overlapping of design and construction phases, for example fast-track construction, flash-track construction, and complex projects with concurrent development of design and construction.