Kemmer, S., Koskela, Lauri and Nykänen, V. (2013) Towards a lean model for production management of refurbishment projects. Project Report. VTT, Finland.

This is the Stage 3 Report for the ApRemodel project, which aims at improving
processes for multi-occupancy retrofit by generating a lean model for project delivery.
In this respect, a process-driven approach has been adopted to investigate
what can be done to improve the way that retrofits projects are delivered.
An initial literature review, focused on the management of refurbishment works,
revealed that the research on this matter is scarce. There are plenty of studies
related to the broad refurbishment area, however only a small number refer to the
way that those construction projects are delivered.
According to the literature, construction organisations have predominantly used
traditional methods for managing the production of refurbishment projects. The
problem is that those tools and techniques are not often appropriate to cope with
the complex characteristics inherent to construction projects, especially in the
case of refurbishments. Moreover, they have often not been based on a clear
theoretical foundation. As a result, numerous types of waste have been identified
in refurbishment projects such as waiting time, disruptions in performing tasks on
site, rework, among others. This has led to unsatisfactory project performance in
terms of low productivity, project delays, and cost overrun.
The first step towards better production management in refurbishment projects
is recognising the complexity of the sector in order to adopt the correct approach
to cope with this specific scenario. In this respect, lean construction is identified as
an appropriate way to deal with the complexity and uncertainty inherent in refurbishment
projects, given that this management philosophy fully integrates the
conversion, flow, and value views.
This document builds on the findings from the literature review as well as evidence
from case studies. Managerial practices based on lean construction principles
have presented successful results in the management of complex projects.
Case studies available in the literature report the feasibility and usefulness of this
theoretical foundation. Moreover, the evidence from these studies show considerable
potential for improving the management of refurbishment works.
A list of methods, tools, and techniques are identified. This report may be used
by construction refurbishment organisations and housing associations as a starting
point for improving the efficiency in managing production of refurbishment projects.
To this end, partnerships between industry and academia are strongly recommended.

Although the usefulness of lean principles in complex projects is already
proved, further work is needed to check what practices are best for the respective
refurbishment context, as well as identifying enablers and barriers for practical
adoption. Furthermore, additional studies would be also necessary to better understand
the extent to which the implementation of lean philosophy might influence
performance of refurbishment projects.
This report should be seen as work in progress with much more to learn, as detailed
research work around the sustainable retrofit process in a lean way is further

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