Towards a lean model for production management of refurbishment projects: ApRemodel Project

Sergio Kemmer, Lauri Koskela, Veijo Nykänen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


This is the Stage 3 Report for the ApRemodel project, which aims at improving processes for multi-occupancy retrofit by generating a lean model for project delivery. In this respect, a process-driven approach has been adopted to investigate what can be done to improve the way that retrofits projects are delivered. An initial literature review, focused on the management of refurbishment works, revealed that the research on this matter is scarce. There are plenty of studies related to the broad refurbishment area, however only a small number refer to the way that those construction projects are delivered. According to the literature, construction organisations have predominantly used traditional methods for managing the production of refurbishment projects. The problem is that those tools and techniques are not often appropriate to cope with the complex characteristics inherent to construction projects, especially in the case of refurbishments. Moreover, they have often not been based on a clear theoretical foundation. As a result, numerous types of waste have been identified in refurbishment projects such as waiting time, disruptions in performing tasks on site, rework, among others. This has led to unsatisfactory project performance in terms of low productivity, project delays, and cost overrun. The first step towards better production management in refurbishment projects is recognising the complexity of the sector in order to adopt the correct approach to cope with this specific scenario. In this respect, lean construction is identified as an appropriate way to deal with the complexity and uncertainty inherent in refurbishment projects, given that this management philosophy fully integrates the conversion, flow, and value views. This document builds on the findings from the literature review as well as evidence from case studies. Managerial practices based on lean construction principles have presented successful results in the management of complex projects. Case studies available in the literature report the feasibility and usefulness of this theoretical foundation. Moreover, the evidence from these studies show considerable potential for improving the management of refurbishment works. A list of methods, tools, and techniques are identified. This report may used by construction refurbishment organisations and housing associations as a starting point for improving the efficiency in managing production of refurbishment projects. To this end, partnerships between industry and academia are strongly recommended. Although the usefulness of lean principles in complex projects is already proved, further work is needed to check what practices are best for the respective refurbishment context, as well as identifying enablers and barriers for practical adoption. Furthermore, additional studies would be also necessary to better understand the extent to which the implementation of lean philosophy might influence performance of refurbishment projects. This report should be seen as work in progress with much more to learn, as detailed research work around the sustainable retrofit process in a lean way is further developed.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7984-6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesVTT Technology


  • refurbishment
  • lean construction
  • complexity
  • management
  • sustainability


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