Lean principles to inject operations knowledge into design

Peter K. Dahl, Michael J. Horman, David R. Riley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Buildings represent a significant financial investment to owners, which is often carried for many years. Just as Toyota realized that the car assembly line accounted for only 15% of the total manufacturing process, the design and construction of a building amounts to only 20% of the total cost of a facility over its life-cycle. Importantly, research has shown that when just one percent of a project's upfront costs are spent, up to 70% of its life-cycle costs may already be committed. More research is needed to bridge the information divide between the development and operation of a facility. Progressive tools and strategies such as Design-Build-Operate-Maintain (DBOM), Design for Maintainability (DFM), and Concurrent Engineering have been developed to assist the design team in their focus on operations and maintenance (O&M) issues. Yet obstructions to the use of O&M knowledge in design still remain. It is argued that this is because the information flow of O&M knowledge into project design is poorly understood. This paper develops a model for exchanging information between design teams and O&M using the principles and tools of lean production to be implemented as a case study. To achieve an O&M compatible design, O&M information ideally ought to be received by the design team in a just-in-time fashion. This paper first explores the obstructions to O&M knowledge transfer, and then proposes a kanban system to facilitate the exchange of information. The paper discusses the triggers and media for the pull of O&M information into building design, as well as the types of projects that would be most receptive to this strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2005
Event13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference, IGLC 13 - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: Jul 19 2005Jul 21 2005

Publication series

Name13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference: Proceedings


Other13th International Group for Lean Construction Conference, IGLC 13
CitySydney, NSW

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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