Lean Construction as an Integrated Production

Sven Bertelsen1

1Consulting Engineer; Project Manager, Habitat as; Director, Sven Bertelsen Strategic Consultant, Morlenesvej 22, 2840 Holte, DK Denmark, +45 4542 4705, FAX +45 4541 4705, sven@bertelsen.org


The general approach within lean construction is to make the construction process, as it is normally undertaken on the construction site, leaner by reducing non-value-generating activities. This is usually done respecting the traditional division of work into trades. However, inspired by the manufacturing industries, this approach might be challenged. Manufacturing industries very seldom keep up the division of work into trades. Instead the product is divided into subassemblies, often made of independent suppliers down the supply chain under individual design and manufacture contracts. The paper presents a five year Danish experiment within the housing sector, making this approach within six completed schemes and three in progress comprising app. 350 apartments, mostly in terraced houses. Even though cost reductions have been hard to demonstrate, a number of other benefits have been found. Increased focus on customer value, shorter project completion time, much fewer faults and omissions, and higher customer satisfaction. The paper outlines the approach and reports on some of the lessons learnt and discusses the experiences in relation to the Lean Construction theories.


Lean production, integrated production, industrialization, modularization, complexity.



Bertelsen, S. 2001, 'Lean Construction as an Integrated Production' 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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