Reducing Variability of a Valuable Construction Input: Subcontractors

Matt Stevens1

1Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Univ. of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, 3010 Australia. +61 9035 8673,


Subcontractors are critical to the U.S. construction industry. They are used by general contractors (GC) to preform a majority of work. Subcontractors safely install components specified, in the time needed, and at a competitive cost. It appears that some misalignment of Lean Construction (LC) methodologies and realities of managing subcontractors. More research is needed to address this largest input in most projects. Currently, LC suffers from low adoption. Looking ahead to the next 3 years, all contractors plan adoption at the same low rate. This paper will review an action research project and its outcomes which involved a GC and its subcontractors over three years of projects.


Lean Construction, LC, production, productivity, variability, subcontractor, PDCA



Stevens, M. 2015, 'Reducing Variability of a Valuable Construction Input: Subcontractors' In:, Seppänen, O., González, V.A. & Arroyo, P., 23rd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Perth, Australia, 29-31 Jul 2015. pp 661-670

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