Planning and management methods in construction need to constantly evolve to keep pace with the growing demand and complexity of work in increasingly competitive environments. This need for innovation and process improvement has attracted lean construction philosophy in industry management practice. Lean has been used in the construction industry to help companies to solve common problems that most projects experience such as lack of transparency and reliability of goals and results. The methodology developed in this research adds to this body of knowledge by providing users with the means to dynamically measure and quantify productivity so that schedule can be updated in real time, thereby improving transparency of construction sites.
Specifically, this research enables a real-time scheduling updating through the use of lean construction tools: Andon and Line of Balance. Andon, which has been used for visual management, accounts for unproductive hours and uploads data collected to a cloud daily. Later, scheduling impacts are projected in a real-time on Line of Balance charts. Andon allows managers to have real-time information about the status of all ongoing activities on the field by indicating if the activity is running on normal productivity rate, below, or stopped.
Data was collected from two past projects that had faced problems during the construction phase are used as case studies to validate the methodology proposed. The first project, finished one year delayed, suffered from lack of reliable information about the real productivity rate. A simulation about how effective the new system would be if implemented was made which proved that the results would be very satisfactory. The second case study explains the current problem that the Line of Balance has in terms of detecting problems on the site before they become uncontrollable and affect performance indices negatively.
This research provides the construction industry with an integrated system of tools which will drastically reduce the indirect cost of projects, increase the transparency of the process, and which in long-term reduces wastes (direct costs). Furthermore, future work includes the integration of other methods like Look Ahead Planning and Weekly Work Plan into the system, which will allow the measurements of productivity gains and consequently increase the reliability of the information flow on construction projects.