Potential of Poka-Yoke Devices to Reduce Variability in Construction

Auinaldo dos Santos1 & James Powell2

1Ph.D. candidate, Civil Engineer, M.Sc., University of Salford, Department of Surveying, Bridgwater Building M54WT, England, [email protected], Homepage: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/1262/
2Professor and Director of the Academic Enterprise, D.Sc., OBE, CEng., Eur. Eng., B.Sc., M.Sc, Ph.D., AMIST, FIOA, FIMgt., MCIOB, University of Salford, M54WT, England, [email protected]


This paper discusses the application poka-yoke devices to reduce variability in construction sites. Initially it presents the main pressures for improving production practices in the sector and then it describes the main aspects of reduction of variability. Subsequently, it presents poka-yoke as one of the basic heuristic approaches to implement this principle in practice. The researchers investigated the application of poka-yoke in construction through six case studies carried out in Brazil and England. The pattern-matching approach, supported by quantitative and qualitative data, has confirmed the usefulness of this approach in construction practice. However, the empirical evidences revealed that the sector makes little use of this approach at the present moment. In this sense, there is great scope for developing mechanic and electronic mistake-proof devices to adapt into existing construction machinery. Construction suppliers should reflect on the idea of building poka-yoke devices in their products in order to guarantee the correct use of their products on site.


Poka-yoke, mistake-proofing, reduction of variability.



Santos, A. D. & Powell, J. 1999. Potential of Poka-Yoke Devices to Reduce Variability in Construction, 7th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 51-62. doi.org/

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