Short-term or lookahead planning is critical to the success of construction operations since detailed construction planning is more realistic and objective when performed closer to executing a construction activity. Lookahead planning requires more than simple interpretation of the project schedule, it involves breaking down activities into the level of operations, identifying constraints, assigning responsibilities, and making assignments ready by removing constraints. However, task execution sometimes proceeds without full removal of constraints due to uncertainty, lack of planning, lack of information, or pressure for fast action. In these circumstances, construction specialists revert to some sort of improvisation utilizing available material, information, space etc., and other resources to execute these tasks. The purpose of this paper is to present early results from a study that aims at assessing the performance level of lookahead planning in construction and evaluating how much, where, and when improvisation is utilized. Results from three exploratory case studies are used to identify the performance level of Lookahead planning, and the circumstances for reverting to improvisation. The results will help assess the threshold for planning efforts required before reaching diminishing returns versus the threshold for effective improvisation required to cater for breakdowns in planning efforts and uncertainty. Early results show many gaps in lookahead planning practices and sporadic cases of improvisation.
Production Planning, Improvisation, Making-do, and Lookahead Planning.
Hamzeh, F.R. , Abi Morshed, F. , Jalwan, H. & Saab, I. 2012, 'Is Improvisation Compatible with Lookahead Planning? An Exploratory Study' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.