Learning from Failures in Operations

Christian Koch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper discusses failures and quality in operations in design and production of buildings. The importance of human action, interpretations and interactions in tackling complexity, fragmentation and disturbances in the building industry is underlined. Building processes encompass requisite parallelism and fragmentation due to their predominantly quantitative complexity. It is suggested that a number of critical junctions occur in these processes and that obtaining quality and avoiding failures quite often requires a series of competent and situational operation management actions. An empirical study of failures and their causes was carried out in the spring of 2004. The observation period was three month covering the assembly phase. In this period we observed 160 failures equal to a calculated cost of 80.800 euro and 8% of the production costs. However only 7-8 % end up as impact on the final product. The analysis showed that, among others, design review, project review, commencing and finalizing operations turned out to be critical junctions in the control of failures. Practical implications and improvements are discussed. The focus on critical junctions, points to supply chain management, lean construction and operational innovation in the site organisation as possible elements. Moreover the importance of flexible daily coordination is underlined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings Third International Conference on Construction in the 21th Century, : Advancing Engineering, Management and Technology
Place of PublicationAthens
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark, COM.DTU, CICT
Publication date2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event3rd International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century: Advancing Engineering, Management and Technology - Athens, Greece
Duration: 15 Sep 200517 Sep 2005
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century


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