Swedish lean construction practices identified in the last decade of research
Paper in proceedings, 2020
Studies on lean construction (LC) can possibly point to differences in its practical realization (i.e. different coverage of construction processes), in order to fit certain purposes. Different LC practices may entail the implementation of parts of the bundle of concepts that constitute LC (e.g. Last Planner), or the integration of LC with other frameworks and tools (like BIM). The identification of such practices may lead to the emergence of certain positive outcomes, like initiating a discussion on suggesting new and/or updated LC tenets. Here, the contextual characteristics of different construction sectors are appreciated by focusing on the Swedish national context. We explore the last decade of research output documenting cases of LC practices in Sweden, and then we critically analyse this output to categorise these practices according to the construction processes they cover. Methodologically, a systematic literature review utilising the augmented concept-centric framework was conducted, and the abductive method was utilised to analyse the review outcomes. The main LC practices in Sweden are found to pertain heavily to production and strategy, while covering partnering, stakeholder collaboration, design, planning, and supply chains to a lesser extent. However, the knowledge of these practices is scattered, which precludes a more advanced adoption of LC in Sweden and prevents it from fully countering issues it is supposed to tackle - as shown in a recent report on the productivity in the Swedish construction sector. Moreover, through the years, there has been a heavy focus on industrialised, rather than “conventional”, construction. However, while the study of the former - which has a well-defined, but also modest market share in Sweden - has been precise and extensive, the needs of the latter have yet to be adequately addressed. These findings may entail that more work is needed for a stronger requirements-driven adoption of LC in Sweden.