Capability-Building Competition in Design: Case Study

Peter Berg1, Dean Reed2 & Shashikala Sriram3

1Project Executive, DPR Construction, 222 N. 44th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034, USA, [email protected],
2Lean/Integration Advocate, DPR Construction, 1450 Veterans Boulevard, Redwood City, CA 94063, USA, [email protected],
3Preconstruction Manager, DPR Construction, 222 N. 44th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034, USA, [email protected],


This paper uses the action research method retrospectively to better understand the development of capability on a series of 7 Higher Education building projects during the architectural planning phase prior to the start of design. The research question is whether Takahiro Fujimoto’s explanation of the way Toyota continuously built its capability to deliver automobiles buyers wanted can inform the development of more competitive capability within design and construction companies and together on projects. This paper follows one by the first 2 authors published in the IGLC27 2019 Proceedings in which they use Fujimoto to explain the development of a capability to pre-fabricate and install exterior wall (X-wall) panels for 6 projects during construction. In this new paper the authors share their understanding of Fujimoto’s explanation and survey literature they found helpful for understanding what they observed relative to his theory. Then the authors describe “Programmatic Spatial Cost Modeling” and analyze the development, use and competitiveness of this capability across the 7 projects. In closing, the authors share their conclusions in the form of questions and speculations for further research.


Theory, kaizen, target cost, capability, information



Berg, P. , Reed, D. & Sriram, S. 2020. Capability-Building Competition in Design: Case Study , Proc. 28th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 121-131.

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