Implementing Value Through Lean Design Management

Stephen Emmitt1, Dag Sander2 & Anders Kirk Christoffersen3

1Hoffmann Professor of Innovation and Management in Building, Department of Civil Engineering, Teclmical University of Denmark, DK-2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. [email protected]
2MTH0jgaard A/S, Denmark. [email protected]
3NIRAS, Consulting Engineers and Planners, Denmark. [email protected]


The philosophy of lean thinking has been adopted relatively quickly by contracting organisations, keen to reduce waste in the realisation of construction projects. The concept has, however, been slow to catch on in the earlier design and detailing phases where decisions have a major influence on the ensuing construction processes and the level of value realised in the project. Given a strong argument for greater synergy between design, manufacturing and construction there would appear to be considerable potential in moving the lean thinking upstream, starting with the briefing and conceptual design stages and managing the flow of decisions through to the completed building, thus helping to deliver value within a lean framework. Value is the end-goal and therefore value parameters are key to the achievement of improved productivity and client/user satisfaction. The three-phase Value/Process/Operation (VPO) model starts by identifying value parameters, then moves to designing the process and finally onto the operations. The model lies at the heart of a lean design process model implemented by a consulting company and a contractor in Denmark. The case study helps to illustrate the benefits of taking a more holistic and integral approach based on the agreement of value parameters at the project outset. Through the use of creative workshops, that encourage open communication and knowledge sharing, the lean design process model has been instrumental in delivering value and improving productivity.


Communication, Design management, Information and decision flows, Lean design, Productivity, Value parameters, Workshops.



Emmitt, S. , Sander, D. & Christoffersen, A. K. 2004. Implementing Value Through Lean Design Management, 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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