Lessons Learned from Managing the Design Process of a Large and Complex Construction Project Seen in a Lean Construction Perspective

  • Bo Terje KalsaasEmail author
  • Anders Rullestad
  • Hanne S. Thorud
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


The construction project being studied is a government investment related to a relocation of a biomedical institute delivering research-based knowledge and contingency support in the fields of animal health, fish health and food safety. The project covers a total of 63,000 m2 distributed over 10 buildings. The buildings have a very high degree of complexity due to a large proportion of special areas, great ambitions to the minimize environmental impact in addition to strict compliance to Infection Prevention and Control in order to achieve a world class product in its field. The project is procured as a design-bid-build project divided into 40 different execution contracts. The design alone has required 1 million hours and more than 100,000,000 Euro. The purpose of this article is to study the applied methodology for managing the detailed design to identify lessons learned from the project. The theory underlying the study is inspired by lean design management and design theory linked to design as phenomena, including reciprocal interdependencies, iteration, decomposition, design as a “wicked problem”, learning, gradual maturation, etc. The article is based on an abductive research design and has been implemented as a case study where both qualitative and quantitative methods have been used. First, the study describes how the design process was managed. Furthermore, challenges that are revealed through interviews and a survey are presented. Uncovered are a widespread volume of negative iterations and waste, where reasons for the challenges are linked, among others, to the use of traditional management methodology, a long user process and late owner and user decisions. Finally, the key lessons learned from the case are further explored in how they could be solved by alternative management methodology.


AEC-industry Complexity Design Lesson learned 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Terje Kalsaas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anders Rullestad
    • 1
  • Hanne S. Thorud
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Engineering SciencesUniversity of AgderGrimstadNorway

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