Execution of the finishing works in high-rise apartment buildings is made complex by the need to customize apartments to the varying requirements and designs of individual clients. The conventional construction planning practice of progressing upward from floor to floor breaks down in the face of the arbitrary sequence in which clients finalize their decisions. The results are long cycle times for delivery of completed apartments and corollary high levels of work in progress, budget and schedule overruns, and general dissatisfaction with the process on the part of the developer, contractor, subcontractors, and the clients. Application of lean construction principles to this problem has led to development of a management model that adopts pull scheduling, reduced batch sizes, and a degree of multiskilling. The main benefits expected are an enhanced ability to provide customized apartments, improved cash flow, and reduced apartment delivery cycle times. The model was first formulated in theory, then tested using a management simulation game and computer simulation, and subsequently, developed for practical application. This paper presents an analysis of conventional practice, the theoretical background to the lean approach, and the specific management changes proposed.
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