https://doi.org/10.24928/2021/0183

Slack in Construction - Part 1: Core Concepts

Carlos Formoso1, Iris D. Tommelein2, Tarcisio Abreu Saurin3, Lauri Koskela4, Marcus Fireman5, Karina Barth6, Fernanda Bataglin7, Daniela Viana8, Rafael Coelho9, Vishesh Singh10, Carolina Zani11, Natália Ransolin12 & Claudia Disconzi13

1Professor, Building Innovation Research Unit (NORIE), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0002-4772-3746
2Professor, Civil and Envir. Engrg. Dept., Director, Project Production Systems Laboratory (P2SL), University of California, Berkeley, CA, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0002-9941-659
3Associate Professor, Industrial Engineering and Transportation Department, UFRGS, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0003-2929-5888
4Professor of Construction and Project Management, School of Art, Design and Architecture. University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, UK, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0003-4449- 2281
5PhD Student, Postgraduate Program in Civil Eng.: Construction and Infrastructure, UFRGS, Porto Alegre 90035-190, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0001-5843-4715
6PhD Student, Postgraduate Program in Civil Eng.: Construction and Infrastructure, UFRGS, Porto Alegre 90035-190, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0001-5843-4715
7PhD Student, Postgraduate Program in Civil Eng.: Construction and Infrastructure, UFRGS, Porto Alegre 90035-190, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0001-5843-4715
8Adjunct Professor, Interdisciplinary Department, NORIE, UFRGS, dietz.via[email protected], orcid.org/0000-0001-8958-4708
9Graduate Student, Civil and Envir. Eng. Dept., University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0003-3298-3622
10Graduate Student, Civil and Envir. Eng. Dept., University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0002-6999-9727
11MSc Student, Postgraduate Program in Production Eng. UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0002-2649-2432
12PhD Candidate, Postgraduate Program in Civil Eng.: Construction and Infrastructure, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0002-7128-8000
13PhD Candidate, Postgraduate Program in Industrial Eng:, UFRGS, Porto Alegre 90035-190, Brazil, [email protected], orcid.org/0000-0002-4224-5167

Abstract

Construction projects are known to be complex, due to being subject to uncertainty and variability. The use of buffers to protect them from the detrimental impact of variability has been well-researched. A key managerial choice is not whether or not to buffer variability, but rather how to define the necessary combination of buffers. Slack is a concept related to buffers but has been used in the literature to describe a broader range of strategies for coping with complexity. It allows an organisation to adapt to internal pressures for adjustment or to external pressures for change in policy. This paper aims to further develop the concept of slack and to unveil its relationships with other concepts and ideas that are partly overlapping such as buffers, resilience, robustness, flexibility, and redundancy. A concept map was devised in order to articulate the nature of the slack concept. This paper explores in detail this concept map and proposes a conceptual role for slack in the realm of Lean.

Keywords

Slack, buffer, complexity, variability, uncertainty, concept map, waste

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Reference

Formoso, C. , Tommelein, I. D. , Saurin, T. A. , Koskela, L. , Fireman, M. , Barth, K. , Bataglin, F. , Viana, D. , Coelho, R. , Singh, V. , Zani, C. , Ransolin, N. & Disconzi, C. 2021, 'Slack in Construction - Part 1: Core Concepts' In:, Proc. 29th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC). Lima, Peru, 14-16 Jul 2021. pp 187-196

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