Complexity - A New Way of Understanding Construction

Sven Bertelsen1

1M.Sc. consulting engineer. Sven Bertelsen, Strategic Counselor aps. Senior Research Advisor to Lean Construction – Denmark. [email protected]


The general view of the construction process is that it is an ordered, linear phenomenon, which can be organized, planned and managed top down. The frequent failures to complete construction projects on budget and schedule give rise to a thinking that the process maybe not is as ordered and predictable in its nature as it may look. A closer examination reveals that construction is indeed a complex, nonlinear and dynamic phenomenon, which often exists on the edge of chaos. The paper introduces the world of complex systems and examines construction in this perspective, and by that it proposes several new elements to the understanding of project management.


Construction, complexity, project management



Bertelsen, S. 2003. Complexity - A New Way of Understanding Construction, 11th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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