Achieving leanness with BIM-based integrated data management in a built environment project

Xiaozhi Ma, Albert P.C. Chan, Hengqin Wu, Feng Xiong, Na Dong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Although various concepts and techniques are introduced to the built environment to achieve a substantially efficient building production, the effective application of these methods in projects is of immense significance to the field of building construction. Among these initiatives, lean construction and building information modelling (BIM) are mainstream endeavours that share many common principles to improve the productivity of the built environment. This study aims to explore and explain how BIM-based integrated data management (IDM) facilitates the achievement of leanness in a built environment project. Design/methodology/approach: This research is conducted through an ethnographic-action research that relies on the design-science approach and case study through a collaborative research project. As participants of the project, the researchers of this study cooperate with the practitioners to design the project approach and production workflows. Research data and evidence are obtained via participative observation, including direct observation, results of activities, unstructured meetings and self-analysis. Findings: In this study, the project and production perspectives clarify the building design and production process, as well as analyse how BIM facilitates the achievement of leanness in building design and construction. BIM-based frameworks for IDM have been developed to handle miscellaneous information and data, as well as enhance multidisciplinary collaboration throughout the project life cycle. The role of the integrated BIM model as an information hub between the building design and building construction has been identified. Research/limitations implications: The project and production views of building and construction are used in this study because the research purpose is to link the BIM-based IDM to lean construction. Although this mixed approach can slightly undermine the theoretical foundation of this study, a substantially comprehensive understanding can be gained as well. Practical implications: This study provides a new perspective to understand how BIM-based IDM contributes to lean construction. Originality/value: This study provides new insights into IDM in a built environment project with project and production views and presents BIM-based frameworks for IDM to achieve lean construction through the BIM process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-487
Number of pages19
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • BIM
  • Building production
  • Integrated data management
  • Lean construction
  • Project management
  • Virtual design and construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science(all)
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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