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Managing Resources in a Sustainable Building Process

Svetoft, Ingrid, Johnsson, Mats

Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)



Managing resources efficiently in a building process is of great importance in a sustainable development. The framework in a building process contains legislations and rules from a societal perspective combined with demands of a more efficient way of working within the companies involved. The knowledge of all actors involved must be used in order to solve this complex task. The quality of new buildings does not always match the expectations from the clients today so efforts must be done to improve the process. Another urgent issue is to deal with existing buildings. Participatory governance can describe the citizens’ democratic right to participate in decision-making concerning building or renovation processes. The public sector in Sweden discusses the possibilities of working more systematically with the ambition to use all the resources in a better way and with an end-user perspective. Today different processes seem to be parallel and do not always support one another. How can we achieve the best quality in the integrated process and in the end-product? Can a genuine dialogue and integrated processes be one way to achieve a better result? The case study evidence suggests that the primary focus of the logistics concept in construction is to improve coordination and communication between project participants during the design and construction phases, particularly in the materials flow control process.


The Building Industry faces challenges both in new building projects as well as when dealing with existing housing areas. The economical resources are limited and the regulations and restrictions are many. Examples from the Swedish building industry show severe problems with quality and how to manage the financing of the damages. The knowledge and awareness ought to be within all actors involved in the process but the question is if there are obstacles for using it? Where and when shall the resources be adopted to the process and which are the effect of a more integrated way of working? A gap can often be indentified between different processes and actors involved in this complex industry dealing with governing the built environment:

Theoretical framework

In the planning- and building process several kinds of flows are managed simultaneously. The flows are governed within and between the companies involved, the residents and the governmental framework of regulations and laws. If using a combination of theories from transport logistics, design methods and quality management maybe some of the existing gaps in the process could be avoided. The challenge is to see the possibilities in new demands in services and products. New skills, competences and attitudes are required when working with processes. It is also of great importance to create an understanding and acceptance for the changes. Starting with defining and focusing on the end-user in the process can be an important unifying force. Customer driven processes and a modern perspective on quality puts the end-users needs, expectations and requirements in focus. Using theories from the design area one could start with looking into Architectural design where decisions influence the artificial environment in our every day life. The act of designing is a complex activity undertaken a close cooperation with many other actors. There is a growing recognition of the importance to think more creative and dynamic by adding values and culture into the process If implementing the lean thinking philosophy and tools into construction industry one must include lean ideals and tools into the participating organisations. Eliminating waste and maximising value must be applied into the processes within the organisations as well as on site-based construction. Logistics activities commonly involve movement and storage for the purpose of having the desired object of at the right place at the right time. Transport, storage and distribution are cornerstones of logistics and its most visible manifestations. For the construction industry, logistics comprise planning, organization, coordination, and control ofthe materials flow from the extraction of raw materials to the incorporation into the finished building Several Swedish laws emphasize the importance of the involvement of residents and end-users in the planning- and building process. Communication and knowledge transfer can be used as a tool for combining parallel processes. Digital communication networks offer the possibility of better links between clients, designers, construction organizations and suppliers

Case study results

Three case studies are used to exemplify different levels of collaboration and integration between parallel processes. Case I and II was part of a doctoral thesis and the third case is an ongoing research project not yet documented.

Case study analysis

Case studies on large scale projects in Sweden shows that working with the end-users needs and requirements in focus can support the complex building process. Working in a more integrated way can support the complex mix of technology, people and decisions involved. Recourse logistics models and customer driven process methods can support the integration of parallel levels and phases in the process. The dialogue between the actors involved where experiences are shared can also give new and useful knowledge if it can be developed in a generous atmosphere.


Some experiences from three different case studies in Sweden shows that it could be possible to use more of logistic models and “Considerate Lean” models in the building and planning process. There is an opportunity to get long term sustainable housing by involving the residents and end-users and by using their knowledge in the process. Logistics require that all involved processes are communicating with each other. If not, the lean model will be hard to apply. Lean is about taking away all waste that is not used in the value added process. It concerns time, products, costs, etc. If this is done in a proper way it is possible to make a shift to a more value added process i.e. storing activities can be used for more productive and value adding work.

Nyckelord: integrated processes; logistics; service logistics; lean renovation; sustainable process; communication; co-operation

Citera: Svetoft, Ingrid & Johnsson, Mats, Managing Resources in a Sustainable Building Process, Proceedings of SB13 – Oulu, Finland : Sustainable procurement in urban regeneration and renovation Northern Europe and North-West Russia, 21–25 May 2013., 2013