Improvement Strategies in Construction Sites : Development of Rapid Site Assessment for House-building Industry

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Institutionen för samhällsbyggnad och naturresurser

Abstract: The construction industry has deteriorated during the past 40 years. Up to 35 % of the production cost is from wastes. The manufacturing industry has had an opposite development, in many cases owing to the contributions of Lean Production and various assessment tools. The assessment tools evaluate manufacturing plants regarding their implementation of Lean, where from improvement strategies can be developed. The goal of the master thesis was to develop an assessment tool that could be used for evaluating Lean construction, which is emerging in the business. The assessment tool is called Rapid Site Assessment (RSA). The foundation of the RSA is the Rapid Plant Assessment (RPA) which is performed by taking a brief plant tour, in a team of expert researchers. 20 polar questions are coupled to eleven categories, evaluated to identify the plants potential and develop an improvement strategy. Five more assessment tools have been combined with the RPA and validated with Lean Construction and Lean references. The master thesis has been exploratory with a deductive approach, where qualitatively data was acquired. The assessment tool based on the literature review was tested at six different house- building sites. Validity has been obtained by triangulation, a reviewing supervisor, and six different site tests. Reliability was guaranteed by distinguishing the line of work with help of an experienced supervisor, meticulous documentation, and regular guidance meetings. The result is the RSA consisting of 32 statements coupled to eleven categories: customer satisfaction; safety, environment, cleanliness and order; visual management; scheduling system; levels of inventory, use of space, and movement of material; teamwork and motivation; Condition and maintenance of equipment and tools; management of complexity and variability; supply chain integration; commitment to quality; commitment to continuous improvements. The six site tests revealed that the house-building industry has development potential. The interviews and the RSA evaluations were generally similar. The analysis showed that the RSA tests grasped the sites but was not sufficiently rich for a complete understanding. The assessment needed to be developed, and additional interviews were added to the assessment tool. The categories were mostly relevant, but interviews needed to be added to decrease biases, though this would include the interpretations of more individuals in the project. Comparing different professions perceptions would increase credibility. This could solve the issue that most data were gathered by communication with few employees on site, and not observations. Further, some statements also suited to many categories and could be broken up. The master thesis was thoroughly planned but some issues needed to be discussed. The thesis was independently performed, and the assessor was inexperienced in plants and construction sites which aggravated the assessments. The issues were solved by experience feedback from the research group and supervisor. Finally, the RPA was considered repetitive, resulting in a repetitive RSA, but this was not considered a problem though the data was analysed differently in the categories. However, the repetitiveness could aggravate performing an efficient report, which could decrease the readers creditability comprehension. In the future the RSA should be developed for different types of construction projects, roadworks and industries etc, and tested by other researchers to increase credibility. The master thesis demonstrated that the RSA could be developed by combining assessment tools, although it could not be performed in a brief tour. By adding interviews, credible improvement strategies can probably be developed from the RSA.

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