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An integrated approach toward lean for production homebuilders Open Access


Other title
Production management
Lean construction
Industrialized housing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Yu, Haitao
Supervisor and department
J.J. Roger Cheng (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Mohamed Al-Hussein (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Geoffrey Qiping Shen (Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
J.J. Roger Cheng (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Stanislav Karapetrovic, (Mechanical Engineering)
Mohamed Al-Hussein (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Simaan M. AbouRizk (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Homebuilding is widely regarded as the most analogous sector in the construction industry to automobile manufacturing. In the past decades, increasing interest from homebuilders has been seen to model the homebuilding process after manufacturing, particularly lean production, to improve productivity. However, differences inherent in the nature of the products prevent the direct implementation of lean principles and systems in the homebuilding industry. Project-oriented techniques used by the other sectors of construction are still dominant in homebuilding process planning and control. There is a clear need for an approach to integrate a lean production system into the homebuilding process and to overcome the challenges in lean implementation. The purpose of this research is to develop a lean production approach for the North American homebuilding industry. Specifically, this research intends to provide a framework and a set of guidelines that can help production homebuilders to improve their efficiency through lean transformation. This study first investigated the current homebuilding process and then conducted a comparative study between the homebuilding and automobile industries. Based on the analysis, a lean homebuilding model was developed, and key lean strategies were identified to support lean implementation efforts. Case study results revealed that a lean production system can be successfully applied to the homebuilding process, and lean strategies, such as continuous flow, pull system, production leveling, standardized work, investing in the people, and visual management were effective in improving a homebuilder’s operation performance in terms of construction cycle time, process stability and house quality. The major contribution of this dissertation is to provide production homebuilders a roadmap to developing their own lean production systems and lean implementation strategies. The research results are also anticipated to be a benchmark for future studies in the academic field and for the homebuilding industry.
License granted by Haitao Yu ( on 2010-08-12T09:22:40Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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