Applying Lean, Green, and Six-Sigma Framework to Improve Exterior Construction Process in Saudi Arabia

  • Banawi, Abdul-Aziz (Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh) ;
  • Bilec, Melissa (Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh)
  • Received : 2013.06.04
  • Accepted : 2014.01.20
  • Published : 2014.06.01


Over the last decade, Saudi Arabia has experienced significant economic increases as evidenced by the 30% growth in its gross domestic product; furthermore, the construction industry has increased 10% in the same time period. Due to this significant growth, the construction industry is encountering issues related to construction quality resulting in significant waste and associated environmental impacts. In this research, we applied our previously developed framework that integrates three different methods-Lean, Green, and Six-sigma - to a residential construction complex in Saudi Arabia. Our aim of this case study was to explore the application of the framework in practice to glean quantitative results and further validate the framework. In the case study, we used the developed framework to identify a significant issue related to quality and delays - final completion of 53 residential units was delayed because of failed exterior buildings surfaces. We then used the framework to define the causes behind the defects via a field investigation of the 53 units. Of the defect, construction execution was responsible for 43% of the defect, 31% untrained workers, 19% unfavorable construction weather condition, with 7% accounting for other issues. A procedure was developed in concert with the construction manager and overall developer reducing the amount of rework and waste causes revealed by the field examination and the framework. Although two steps were added to the original construction process to overcome waste causes, still save a lot of resources and reduces environmental impact. In summary, we found that the Lean, Green, Six-sigma framework increased productivity, quality, and reduced waste.



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