School of Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)


Diana Schwerha


Lean Construction, Last Planner System, Commercial Construction, Middle East, Project Planning


Engineering | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations


Question: What are the benefits of using the Last Planner System in commercial construction projects in areas with high disruption, e.g. the Civil War in Iraq from 2005-2017. Purpose: The purpose of this research is to explore the benefits of using the Last Planner System with respect to the key project metrics of cost, safety, quality, and time performance in projects operating in highly disruptive environments. Very few qualitative studies have been done on the Last Planner System in commercial construction and none specifically studying work in areas of high disruption. Research Method: The study utilizes qualitative methodology with a grounded theory approach with input from focus groups and structured interviews. Twenty-one individuals who were practicing engineering professionals from the middle east participated in this research. Findings: The grounded theory approach led to four themes regarding the use of the Last Planner System. These themes were planning, quality, safety and cost. 95% of the participants felt that using a lean approach helped reduce waste in construction projects, 75% reported that lean approach had improve planning and quality of work, and 65% of them reported the lean approach extended safety in their construction work in Iraq. Limitations: This study utilized professionals from the Middle East who were working on specific types of commercial construction projects. Results may be different for other construction sectors. Implications: Results indicate that the use of the LPS can assist in improving the project metrics of cost, quality, safety, and planning over traditional project management methods. Value for authors: This paper communicates results from engineers and managers in the field and thus are highly applicable.