For multi-story apartment buildings, the “product” that customers value has two distinct components: shared (exterior and shared internal spaces) and private (individual apartments). The basic elements are the same (flooring, plumbing, etc.), and they are installed by the same trades using the same work methods. Yet the shared and private components are fundamentally distinct; the former entails repetitive work packages with stable design and process information, whereas the latter has high variation between products, for which information arrives in an unpredictable fashion as customers make final decisions about interior finishes. Although this dichotomy has been identified in the literature and its deleterious effects studied, construction management has ignored it and attempted to manage both project types within the same production system and by using similar management tools. In this paper, we explicate the shared/private delineation drawing on analogies from manufacturing processes (such the Mass vs. High-Mix, Low-Volume distinction) and discuss appropriate management tactics to address the inherently dual nature of the integrated final product.
Construction management theory; High-mix, low-volume (HMLV); Information stability; Product mix; Production system design.