This paper reports some early findings on the implementation of Virtual First Run Studies (VFRS) as part of a number of lean tools in the refurbishment of existing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in the North West region of Australia. The VFRS are being used to develop prototypes that will be tested in the FRS phase of the VFRS/FRS cycle. It is proposed that continuous development of better practice and improved certainty of outcomes can be achieved by the implementation of Virtual First Run Studies (VFRS) and First Run Studies (FRS) as lean interventions in construction projects. This proposal is being tested through experimental design research, undertaken within LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) refurbishment projects in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. These are projects being undertaken in a remote area under challenging climatic conditions which include high temperatures and cyclones adding to the exposure of the work to uncertainty. Both techniques (VFRS /VRS) are being used in tandem providing an opportunity to develop site specific standardized work packages which can be continuously improved with an emphasis on using the knowledge and experience of the workforce to continuously develop and test standard work packages. The size and number of projects within the case study are sufficient to allow an experimental design research approach to measure changes resulting from the interventions against a control group. This in itself provides a novel research approach for the construction domain. The research will track an intervention cycle over a 12 month period and this paper will report the initial findings.
Prototyping, Virtual First Run Studies (VFRS), First Run Studies (FRS), Lean Implementations, Tacit and Explicit knowledge,
Hackett, V. , Pasquire, C. , Stratton, R. & Knight, A. 2014, 'Use of a Pilot Study to Assess the Development of Virtual First Run Studies (VFRS)' In:, Kalsaas, B. T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T. A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 1331-1341