Develop a Lean project management framework for the construction companies in order to improve the time and cost efficiencies of their construction operations




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This research explores how Lean management principles, tools and techniques could be used in conjunction with project management theories to develop a Lean project management framework for the Saudi construction firms in order to improve the time and cost efficiencies of their operations. It critically evaluates the applicability of Lean's philosophy in the construction industry. It also investigates the management implication of traditional project management practices and the performance-improvement potential of pro-Lean practices. It examines how the adoption of Lean's Kanban can help firms to address the problem of time and cost overruns. It uses Simio 10 computer simulation software to simulate the impact of Kanban's adoption on the time and cost efficiencies of construction activities using 54 real-life scenarios. It identifies the key drivers, enablers and barriers to the adoption of Kanban in the Saudi construction industry using semi-structured interviews and web-based survey questionnaires. This research has found that construction firms in Saudi Arabia are struggling with the management of delays and that their activities are characterised by cost and schedule overruns. Saudi Arabia has, for many years, invested billions of pounds in infrastructure projects, particularly on transport initiatives such as new roads, ports and bridges. However, not many of these initiatives have been completed in time or on budget. In fact, delays and cost overruns are so common in the country that they have become seen as the norm and as a reality that project managers should just accept. This research has also found that the principles of 'Lean Construction' and Kanban's 6 rules in particular offer a viable solution to many of the current problems of Saudi construction firms. Kanban enables construction companies to switch from push-based systems to pull-based systems which involve real-time monitoring of consumption and demand-triggered replenishment. Kanban's adoption also ensures that the capacities of upstream and downstream processes are perfectly aligned, which helps firms to reduce bottlenecks, avoid backlogs and fine-tune their processes and construction activities. Moreover, this research has found that Lean construction's success depends heavily on senior management's commitment and also on staff training and understanding of the technical requirements of Lean's systems. In fact, lack of commitment and senior managers' short-sighted investment policies are identified as the two most significant barriers to Lean construction's principles' adoption and operationalisation.





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