Construction Crew Design Guidelines: a Lean Approach

Naveen Nerwal1 & T.S. Abdelhamid2

1Graduate Research Assistant, 552 West Circle Rm 401H, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1323. Email: [email protected]
2Associate Professor, 552 West Circle Rm 214, School of Planning, Design and Construction, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1323. Email: [email protected]


Construction work is executed by a variety of specialty trades, using group of workers commonly known as crews. Performance of these crews is very crucial to the work being executed and consequently for the overall project performance. Yet decisions regarding how to design a crew (makeup and how work itself will flow) and improve their performance are addressed in an ad hoc fashion, if at all. Also, despite the clear significance of crew design, only a modest scholarly interest in this area has been seen in the last two decades. Developing lean-based guidelines for crew design will allow us to answer questions such as: Can we choreographically design construction work crews, and how? The aim of this research is to address this question by developing lean-based crew design guidelines for construction operations by conducting an extensive literature review focused on “work design/team design” that have well developed theoretical and empirical foundations in Lean Production, Lean Construction, Socio-Technical System theory, and Organizational Psychology. These theories provide important soft and hard factors which affect crew interactions. Synthesizing these existing production theories into a new unified model to develop a set of lean-based crew design guidelines is expected to lead to better overall performance of crews achieving lean construction ideals of minimizing waste and maximizing value for construction operations and projects at large.


Work structuring, production system design, lean construction, training



Nerwal, N. & Abdelhamid, T. 2012. Construction Crew Design Guidelines: a Lean Approach, 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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