Understanding waste in construction
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Waste is one of the key concepts in the Lean Production philosophy. The elimination of waste has been largely used as a driver for improvement in the manufacturing industry. By contrast, it has not been strongly emphasised in the construction management books and mainstream journals. This chapter presents an overview on previous studies that have contributed to the understanding of waste in the construction industry, including the main concepts, cause–effect relationships, and typical metrics used. It is partly based on a systematic literature review, using as main sources papers from IGLC (International Group for Lean Construction) conferences and from a set of construction management journals. Based on the idea of waste propagation, a set of five waste categories are identified as the most important ones from the point of view of production control. This study intends to make a contribution towards understanding of the nature of waste, particularly in the construction industry, and to discuss opportunities for improving the way this theme has been approached by the construction management community.