Vrijhoef, Ruben and Koskela, Lauri (2005) Revisiting the Three Peculiarities of Production in Construction. In: 13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference, 19-21st July 2005, Sydney, Australia. (Unpublished)

Compared to many other industries, construction is a specific type of project industry with certain pe- culiarities influencing the characteristics of constructed products, ways of production, and the indus- try itself. Previously three major peculiarities of production in construction have been discussed, i.e. site production (i.e. organising the production around the product dependent on outdoor conditions), temporary production organisation (e.g. fragmented supply chain), and one-of-a kind product (e.g. de- sign-to-order project-based production). Many times, particularly within the realms of lean construc- tion, the basic hypothesis has been that these peculiarities lead to variability and thus to waste, and low performance levels in terms of productivity and value delivery to clients. Inversely, lean construction should be aimed at the banning of waste, thus reduction of variability, and thus the reduction or even
resolution of peculiarities.
In this paper, the peculiarities of production in construction are discussed and whether they always
cause problems, whether they are always leading to waste, and whether they always can and need to be
reduced or resolved. Some examples of solutions resolving or reducing certain peculiarities are given, such as modular housing, pre-engineered buildings and off-site production. Based on the examples, the effects and costs of reduction and resolution of peculiarities are discussed.
To conclude it is discussed whether construction must and can always be improved by resolving the
peculiarities, and at what cost. It is concluded that peculiarities should be resolved when they are not needed. However, before to decide to do so, the additional costs or even the potential value loss that may be caused by peculiarities must always be related to the whole life costs and value of the object built, and the extra costs and efforts for resolving the peculiarities. Finally, issues for future research are given.


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