BIM and Lean in the Design-Production Interface of ETO Components in Complex Projects

Patricia Tillmann1, Daniela Viana2, Zach Sargent3, Iris Tommelein4 & Carlos Formoso5

1Lean Integration Specialist, Superior Air Handling, [email protected], +1 408-630-1320
2PhD Candidate, Building Innovation Research Unit (NORIE), Federal University of
3Vice President, Superior Air Handling, [email protected]
4Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Director, Project Production Systems Laboratory (, 212 McLaughlin Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA, [email protected]
5Associate Professor, Building Innovation Research Unit (NORIE), Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil , +55 51 33083518, [email protected]


This paper presents a case study on a complex construction project that demanded a great level of prefabrication in order to meet a fast schedule and to overcome logistical challenges. The study was carried out with a mechanical contractor firm developing a series of Engineered-to-Order (ETO) components for the project. The objective of the research was to study the possibility of devising an integrated approach for production planning and control for this ETO environment. Two papers report on this research. The first one describes the methods used to plan in an integrated manner the prefabrication, delivery, and installation of ETO components at the job site. This second one discusses the use of BIM to support such integrated management and the challenges faced during its implementation. Finally, the paper describes how the team used lean construction principles to overcome some of these challenges. The contributions of this paper include, first, articulating challenges faced when using BIM on a complex project as a support to managerial practices and, second, illustrating the use of lean principles in the design-production interface as a means of leveraging BIM.


Building information modeling (BIM), complex projects, design-production interface, engineered to order (ETO), industrialization, production planning and control.



Tillmann, P. , Viana, D. , Sargent, Z. , Tommelein, I. & Formoso, C. 2015. BIM and Lean in the Design-Production Interface of ETO Components in Complex Projects, 23rd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 331-340.

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