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Introducing the Concept of First and Last Value to Aid Lean Design: Learning from Social Housing Projects in Chile

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Value for the customer through efficient production processes is a fundamental principle of lean thinking. In lean construction, value to customers is largely delivered through project planning and control activities only. Thus, it can be argued that lean construction overlooks the opportunity to address value from the early stages of a project. Aimed at improving this, lean design arose as a new approach for design management promoting customer and end user involvement from the early stage of projects. However, even here environmental and social issues are postponed over individual requirements. As a result, lean potential in general skips the opportunity to address value from a wider perspective in which the return of value from the construction industry to society is considered. This paper proposes dividing the wider understanding of the performance of the (global) built environment from the particular (local) project requirements calling the former first value and the latter last value. The theory is triangulated through observation of how a developing country (Chile) is resolving social issues through the use of the built environment. The work described develops lean design management by providing a clearer vision of value to reduce waste and aid sustainability in the built environment.
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Keywords: Lean construction; lean design; lean design management; value

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2011

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