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Conference paper

Trade specialization has created a significant number of handoffs on construction sites. Without proactive management from the general contractor, handoffs can result in the generation of waste, such as idle time between production activities, transport waste originating from an excessive number of mobilizations and demobilizations, and errors and omissions from miscommunication between trades. These interruptions can severely disrupt the workflow of a project. While small batching of activities offers opportunities for scheduling to takt time, a tension potentially exists between the desire for small batches and the benefits of reduced handoffs that accompany grouping of activities. This paper discusses the development of a lean simulation that explores the advantages of reducing the number of handoffs on a construction project while still acknowledging the benefits of small batching. A first run study of the simulation game was conducted on a sample of 30 students. Metrics showed all teams experienced a significant reduction in the number of turns to complete a round when several sequential tasks were grouped together. On site, this result may be achieved by employing a multi-skilled crew, sharing information more fully through Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), or by selective prefabrication. While feedback was positive, further work is needed to strengthen the game’s learning outcomes.

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