A new approach for modelling variability in residential construction projects

Mehrdad Arashpour, Ron Wakefield, Nick Blismas, EWM lee


The construction industry is plagued by long cycle times caused by variability in the supply chain. Variations or undesirable situations are the result of factors such as non-standard practices, work site accidents, inclement weather conditions and faults in design. This paper uses a new approach for modelling variability in construction by linking relative variability indicators to processes. Mass homebuilding sector was chosen as the scope of the analysis because data is readily available. Numerous simulation experiments were designed by varying size of capacity buffers in front of trade contractors, availability of trade contractors, and level of variability in homebuilding processes. The measurements were shown to lead to an accurate determination of relationships between these factors and production parameters. The variability indicator was found to dramatically affect the tangible performance measures such as home completion rates. This study provides for future analysis of the production homebuilding sector, which may lead to improvements in performance and a faster product delivery to homebuyers.



Completion time; Production management; queuing; Residential construction; Sensitivity analysis; Variability in supply chain; work-in-process inventory

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