'Value‘ is a central concept in all of the principles and methods applied in Lean Construction, but it is rather difficult to provide a precise definition of the term. The problem lies in the word value itself: its ambiguity and vagueness make theorization difficult. This paper investigates the philosophical concept of value from a Lean Construction perspective. Several elements that contribute to value are considered, including objective elements such as waste reduction, quality, price and functionality, and more subjective elements such as design. The hypothesis of this paper is that the reduction or removal of elements that detract from value, such as waste and costs, is not the only means by which value may be increased. The Sorites paradox is used to form a cohesive perspective on some different meanings of the word ‗value‘. One of the known ‗solutions‘ of the paradox, utilization theory, is then explored through a case study in off-site construction that illustrates how different actors in the construction process view value, and how utility theory can be used to provide a consensus on value that is acceptable. In practice, ‗value‘ is ambiguous because actors generally value different things and these views seldom converge during projects. Our results indicate that the actors involved strive for value individually. Analysis using utility theory allows the actors to establish a shared conceptualization of value, expressed in monetary terms. The work described in this paper aims to improve our understanding of value and of how to design products in construction to improve value for clients of industrialized housing.
Lean Construction, Value, Product, Philosophy Sorites paradox.