Continuous Improvement Concept

The Continuous Improvement concept is developed within CRUX project "Design for Construction" of STAR research program "System engineering in construction" at VTT Automation


Performance monitoring and learning from experience can be combined together for developing the design and production functions in construction. With performance measures of e.g. delivery delay, lead times, proportion of scrap, amount of rework, frequency of breakdowns etc. the design and site operational staff may identify problem areas in the process, where these measures are going outside the allowed limits or where non-acceptable development trends occur. Also achieving targets set up may be monitored. The developed tools supports setting up threshold limits, giving alarms and warnings and identifying trends. Past experience may be saved in data structures linking together the symptoms, problems and their hierarchies and potential solutions to help the staff in analysing the situation and suggest potential improvement actions.

The methodology and tools build on work done within the Esprit COMPRESS project, but modified with special respect to the construction business.



The continuous improvement philosophy is introduced to construction enterprises. By the usage of the tools a corporate memory is continuously built up and enlarged. This memory acts as a source of experience for problem solving situations and improvements actions. The developed tools will be installed at a test site. The data interface module is used to connect to systems currently in use. After a training period and evaluation of the impact on user, valuable feedback is available. This feedback can be used in the definition of needed enhancements.

Impact on process lead time

Two feedback loops have been identified. The short-term loop involving design and planning activities and the long-term loop involving all activities including site operations. The short-term loop affect on-going project, while the long-term loop can address and affect future building projects. The system accumulates knowledge and learns from the continuous usage of the system. The effect on process lead time therefore depend on the extent of the usage and the time it has been in operation.

Point of contact: Kim Jansson , VTT Automation, P.O.Box 1301, FIN-02044 VTT, Finland, Tel: +358 0 456 6768, Fax: +358 0 456 6475, Email:

Updated 22.6.1995 by Mika Lautanala , Project Planning and Building Design research team, VTT Building Technology