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Journal article

Improving transparency in construction management: a visual planning and control model

Benefits realisation Flow Design

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss a production planning and control model known as the Lean construction management (LCM) model, which applies a number of visual tools in a systematic way to the planning and control process. The application of the visual tools in this way facilitates the flow of information, thus improving transparency between the interfaces of planning, execution and control. Design/methodology/approach: Design Science research is adopted for this investigation, which analyses the original development of the model and reports on its testing and refinement over different types of projects. The research is divided into three parts, each part focussing on a different stage of development and construction project type. Findings: The main findings are related to the benefits of visual management in the construction planning and control process, such as maintaining consistency between different planning levels, so that feasible execution plans are created; control becomes more focussed on prevention rather than correction, and creates opportunities for collaborative problem solving. Moreover, the physical display of the visual tools in a discrete planning area on-site encourages a regular exchange between participants on actual work progress as it unfolds, leading to more timely reaction to the problems at hand. Originality/value: The problem of a lack of transparency in construction planning and control leads to communication issues on-site, poor process orientation and high levels of waste. LCM improves process transparency by making information related to system-wide processes more readily available to project participants. This enables them to foresee problems in a timely manner and to take necessary measures to resolve them or to adapt the process to current circumstances. The LCM model proposes a new way of applying visual tools and controls systematically to improve transparency in construction planning and control.

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