The present paper points out the idea that in order to achieve quality assurance and reliability improvement in construction processes, lean thinking practice should incorporate a rarely used method in civil construction process design. It requires to consider “what shall we do to make things go on” and also an effort to searching for “what could be wrong (and we do not know)”. This approach to process design contains the basic idea that some failures causes are implicit in building procedures, and an analysis of potential failure root causes may be done in order to find them out, thus anticipating future problems. This approach to process design - “searching for what could be wrong”- will provide a filter to “time bombs”, built-in problems in the construction conversions and flows activities. The analysis will involve the establishment of countermeasures to potential failure modes. The use of failure analysis methods (FMEA - Failure Modes and Effects Analysis and FTA - Fault Tree Analysis) in order to implement this approach is proposed and a strategy for the application of those tools, as well as some difficulties in their application, are presented and discussed.
Process design review, failure analysis, construction process reliability.