Collaboration in Design – Justification, Characteristics and Related Concepts

Ergo Pikas1, Lauri Koskela2, Niels Treldal3, Glenn Ballard4 & Roode Liias5

1Doctoral Student, Aalto University, School of Engineering, Otakaari 4, 00076 AALTO, Finland and, +372 56 455 953,
2Professor of Construction and Project Management, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom,
3Doctoral Student, Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark,
4Research Director of the Project Production Systems Laboratory at the Univ. of California, Berkeley.
5Tallinn University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Ehitajate tee 5, 19086 Tallinn, Estonia.


The purpose of this article is to understand the academic landscape on collaboration in design, its characteristics and related concepts for promoting collaboration within in the project based production systems. We aim to answer to the following three questions: How to define collaboration in design and why individuals need to collaborate during design? What characterizes effective collaboration in design? Which concepts support the development of collaboration in design? For shedding light on this subject, a literature review is conducted and applicability to Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry and project delivery are discussed. In this study, it was found that collaboration is a complex phenomenon, which explains the diversity of views and many complimentary concepts in organizational and design literature. Collaboration requires the management of material and knowledge boundaries, in order to develop common goals, processes and product. Lean construction concepts, methods and tools have helped the teams to develop collaborative design and construction practices.


Design collaboration, collaboration, boundaries, bridging boundaries, crossing boundaries.



Pikas, E. , Koskela, L. , Treldal, N. , Ballard, G. & Liias, R. 2016, ' Collaboration in Design – Justification, Characteristics and Related Concepts' In:, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, USA, 20-22 Jul 2016.

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