Problems in the Interface Between Mechanical Design and Construction: A Research Proposal

Robert S. Miles1 & Glenn Ballard2

1VP Gowan, Inc., 5550 Airline Drive, Houston, TX 77076. 713/696-5491;
2Associate Adjunct Professor, Const. 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;


As construction projects emerge from the traditional delivery processes to modern fasttrack forms, stress has developed in the interface between the design professional’s delivery process and effective construction production. This is no greater evidenced than at the specialty contractor level. The current attempts at fast-track team type projects remain largely a time-compressed form of the traditional processes with respect to the design-construct production flow. While many of these projects are comprised of a preselected “team” of design and construction firms, in most cases the role of the specialty contractor is limited to pricing exercises and perhaps some traditional “value engineering” suggestions during the design phases. Substantial improvements in production workflow, if any, have been generally limited to the area of cooperative construction activity sequencing and scheduling. Problems arising from this situation are illustrated and research is proposed for testing possible solutions.


Construction, fast-track, value chain, production process, pull, lean construction, delivery process



Miles, R.S. & Ballard, G. 2001, 'Problems in the Interface Between Mechanical Design and Construction: A Research Proposal' 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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