Tolerance Considerations in Work Structuring

Colin Milberg1

1Assistant Professor, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Department, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92181-1324, 619/594-8474,


Work structuring is the breakdown of both product and process into chunks, sequences and assignments to make work flow smoother and with less variability, in turn reducing waste and increasing value. Work-structuring decisions should include tolerance considerations. Tsao et al (2000) and Milberg et al (2001) illustrated how tolerancerelated problems that interrupt workflow generate waste. Tolerance accumulation is often ignored in design, resulting in unanticipated tolerance problems. Tolerance accumulation is dependent not only on tolerance allocation but also on assembly sequence and interface (connection) design, which are functions of work-structuring decisions. This paper discusses tools and techniques used in evaluating tolerance accumulation and process capabilities during detailed design in order to make work-structuring decisions, as well as how tolerance management should be integrated into work structuring.


Lean construction, Work Structuring, Tolerances, Tolerance Management.



Milberg, C. 2007, 'Tolerance Considerations in Work Structuring' In:, Pasquire, C.L, C.L. & Tzortzopoulos, P., 15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. East Lansing, Michigan, USA, 18-20 Jul 2007. pp 233-243

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