Geometric tolerance as a source of variability is often ignored in project design and control research and practice. Certain best practices to buffer AEC systems from this variability are established through ‘received traditions.’ To describe the nature of this variability, basic tolerance terminology is introduced as applicable to a case study. Tolerance analysis and allocation techniques are herein applied to a very simple AEC system, a drywall partition wall with an electrical outlet. A mapping system, combining aspects of tolerance analysis tools and process mapping, reveals strategies for improved tolerance allocation that often results in the design of alternative work structures. Alternative work structures not only meet the system geometric tolerance constraints but they also attempt to remove waste from the system. The methodology for mapping and analysis are shown to mitigate geometric variations through product and process configuration. Speculation is that the same methodology is adaptable to design systems that are robust to any form of variability impacting the system.
Tolerance, constructability, work structuring, lean construction, mapping