Cycle Time Reduction in Home Building

Glenn Ballard1

1Associate Adjunct Professor, Construction Eng. & Mgt. Program, Dept. of Civil & Env. Eng., University of California at Berkeley, and Research Director, Lean Construction Institute, 4536 Fieldbrook Road, Oakland, CA 94619. 510/530-8656,


Even Flow Production is an innovation in residential construction intended to increase the reliability of work flow. That objective is to be accomplished by adherence to a standard schedule for sale, design, construction, and turnover of a home. In turn, increased work flow reliability reduces cycle time, the time required to deliver a home to a customer. Reliability increases as variability is reduced, allowing a reduction of slack in activity durations and of inventory previously needed to accommodate that variability. Increased work flow reliability is also a necessary condition for taking other actions to reduce cycle time. This paper proposes a method for reducing cycle time within the context of even flow production. The key innovation is the formation of multicraft teams responsible for specific systems and components of a house. Each team is to be helped to: 1) Overlap activities within their phase of the work, 2) reduce activity durations through time studies, and 3) reduce work-in-process through the development of multi-skilled workers.


cycle time, even flow production, multi-skilled workers, work flow reliability



Ballard, G. 2001, 'Cycle Time Reduction in Home Building' In:, Ballard, G. & Chua, D., 9th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Singapore, Singapore, 6-8 Aug 2001.

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