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Positioning Lean within an exploration of engineering construction


  • Christine Pasquire


Engineering construction has specific characteristics that separate it from other types of construction such as technical complexity, onerous safety, health and environmental regulations, duality of new build combined with maintenance and repair, largely owner/user commissioning clients, value propositions revolving around a production Process, etc. The recent Gibson report (Gibson, 2009) highlighted several significant problems associated with engineering construction in the UK arising, in many cases, from skill shortages and poor client--contractor relationships. Informal observation and a literature review enable 12 factors to be proposed that differentiate engineering construction from other forms of construction. A new paradigm for the construction sector is Lean construction. This is an adaptation of Lean production and is based on a philosophy that focuses on delivering improved value through the assembly of problem-solving networks of knowledgeable and skilled people. Accepting that Lean construction exists in theory as a method for improving a raft of construction production issues, the question is asked here as to whether it is also relevant to the set of additional factors identified as applying specifically to production in an engineering construction context. The discussion concludes that Lean construction principles can be applied in engineering construction and that an improvement in value could be achieved. Note : throughout this paper the word ‘process’ is used in two contexts—the design and construction process and the end Process that is the function of the client business, e.g. water treatment Process, food manufacturing Process. The context is distinguished by the capitalization of the first letter.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Pasquire, 2012. "Positioning Lean within an exploration of engineering construction," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(8), pages 673-685, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:30:y:2012:i:8:p:673-685 DOI: 10.1080/01446193.2012.689431

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    References listed on IDEAS

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