Integrating Lean Construction and Sustainability via a System Dynamics Framework

Ann Francis1 & Albert Thomas2

1PhD Student, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay. Email:[email protected]
2Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay. Email: [email protected]


The growth of the construction industry has been constantly challenged by issues such as low productivity, time overruns, reduced profits, and high variability. Additionally, growing emphasis on sustainable development challenges the industry to explore methods and technologies that improve the sustainability of construction and built systems. Lean construction is proposed as a solution to address many of the construction related issues by reducing wastes and improving reliability, and recent research reveals that, it has significant potential in addressing sustainability concerns as well. Therefore, the relationship between lean and sustainability warrants a deeper understanding to assimilate the trade-offs across economic, social and environmental parameters. Even though the existing studies in this domain establish the relationship between lean and sustainability, they are greatly diverse in their approaches thus creating a fragmented understanding, and does not collectively analyse the various interrelationships and the feedbacks. This mandates the need of a realm like systems thinking to capture the dynamicity and interlinkages embedded in this complex relationship. This paper proposes a conceptual framework based on system dynamics modeling approach for the integration of lean and sustainability. A systems approach provides a better understanding to the industry practitioners about the scale of lean implementation demanded to ensure sustainable development.


Lean construction (LC), Sustainability, System dynamics, Systems thinking, Waste



Francis, A. & Thomas, A. 2019, 'Integrating Lean Construction and Sustainability via a System Dynamics Framework' In:, Proc. 27th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC). Dublin, Ireland, 3-5 Jul 2019. pp 1187-1196

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