The Multiple Roles of Specifications in Lean Construction

Patrick T.I. Lam1, Mohan M. Kumaraswamy2 & S. Thomas Ng3

1Lecturer, Building & Real Estate Dept., Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 852-27665799, FAX 852-27645131,
2Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering. University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong 852-28591976, FAX 852-25595337,
3Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering., University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong 852-28578556, FAX 852-25595337,


The primary goal of Lean Production is to avoid the wastage of time, money and other resources. In the construction setting, a lot of wastages are attributed to delays, rework and the subsequent non-productive efforts expended in resolving disputes arising from such inefficiencies. Deficient specifications have been implicated in many waste scenarios. Despite that, little research has been conducted to examine the deficiencies of specifications. In this paper, the causes of deficient specifications are firstly examined under a postulated framework of issues that can be reasonably expected to be addressed by specifications – embracing formatting, technical, people management, legal and communication issues. Secondly, this paper aims at exploring the potential roles of specifications in the context of some of these issues, in elevating construction performance levels through a lean construction based strategy.


Lean Production, Specifications, Deficiencies, Improvements,



Lam, P.T. , Kumaraswamy, M.M. & Ng, S.T. 2001, 'The Multiple Roles of Specifications in Lean Construction' 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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