Why Hasn’T Waste Reduction Conquered Construction?

Trond Bølviken1 & Lauri Koskela2

1Director of Strategy, HR and HSE, Veidekke Entreprenør AS, P.O. Box 506 Skøyen, N-0214 Oslo; email: [email protected]
2Professor of Construction and Project Management, School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, United Kingdom; email: [email protected]


Waste and waste reduction are some of the main concepts that differentiate lean thinking from other approaches to production planning and control. Since its introduction in the West in the 1980s, the concept of waste reduction has had a major impact in manufacturing. But not so in construction. This paper raises the question of why this is the case. Possible answers are sought not only in the mainstream theories of production and construction management but also in the specific characteristics that distinguish construction from manufacturing. Eight possible answers to the question are identified and discussed. The paper concludes by arguing that many of the identified reasons are in fact being addressed by newly developed Lean Construction concepts.


Waste, Construction, Manufacturing



Bølviken, T. & Koskela, L. 2016. Why Hasn’T Waste Reduction Conquered Construction?, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -. doi.org/

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