Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Robert W. Fitzgerald, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Frederick L. Hart, Department Head

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Guillermo F. Salazar, Advisor




There are several, well-known difficulties in building construction that often result in low productivity and poor quality. Recent efforts to minimize their effects resulted in partial improvements but the sources of the problems still exist. Within the manufacturing and service sectors, however, improvements were attained with the introduction of a new production philosophy - later identified as lean production - that initiated in Japan (1945) and was introduced in Europe and in the United States in the 1980's. The primary goal of lean production is the elimination of waste, seen as any non-value-added activity in the production system. The design and implementation of this innovative method of production involves the development of a comprehensive strategic planning by the organization and requires long-term capital and human resources investments. An academic movement, designated“lean construction" originated in the United States (1994) with the purpose of studying the applicability of the lean production philosophy for the AEC industry. Current lean construction research, however, advances toward improving construction processes at the project level, but limited researchers address the core motives for manufacturing organizations to shift from mass production to lean production. This thesis focuses on the level of understanding on organizational issues in the implementation of lean construction and seeks answers for fundamental strategy-related matters. The thesis provides results of investigating those issues from the perspective of the owners, through an on-line survey conducted within the higher education institutions segment and 1) concludes that lean construction is feasible for AEC firms that serve that market and 2) suggests the appropriate business strategy to efficiently compete in that market.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Civil & Environmental Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Lean construction, strategic management, total quality management, Construction industry, Management, Strategic planning, Total quality management