Lean Construction Applications for Bridge Inspection

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-NC24

Fiscal Year: 2015/2016

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Abigail Clarke-Sather, Ph.D., Jennifer McConnell, Ph.D., Emal Masoud, M.S., Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): Daniel Clem, T.Y. Lin International Group

Sponsor(s): USDOT-FHWA


Lean philosophy was used to analyze the efficiency of bridge inspection. Emphasis was put on identifying activities that add value to the final output, an owner approved bridge inspection report. 26 bridge inspections were shadowed. Time spent on bridge inspection activities was recorded for all bridge inspection stages listed sequentially: review of documents; mobilization; inspection; demobilization; and reporting writing. Findings from this research suggest that out of the total routine inspection duration, one-third was claimed by the mobilization and demobilization stages, another one-third by the inspection stage and the remaining one-third by the report writing stage. The previous values consider only time that was directly observed; report writing time further increased to half of the total time duration when inspectors’ self-reported time on report writing was included. Consequently, when including inspectors’ self-reported time the mobilization and demobilization stages combined with the inspection stage then consumed the remaining one fourth of the total time duration. Furthermore, only 42% of total time spent on the routine inspection of bridges was found to add value to the final output, which is in alignment with value added duration findings for other industries such as construction and car repair services prior to the implementation of Lean methods. Room for improving the efficiency of, and decreasing the time taken for, routine bridge inspection exists.