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A systems thinking approach for incremental reduction of non-physical waste.

Omotayo, Temitope; Olanipekun, Ayokunle; Obi, Lovelin; Boateng, Prince


Temitope Omotayo

Ayokunle Olanipekun

Lovelin Obi

Prince Boateng


Purpose: Continual cost reduction of overhead costs of building projects can realign the concept of post-contract cost control towards value-driven construction projects and stakeholders’ satisfaction. This study synthesised and analysed the viable continuous improvement measures critical for waste reduction during the execution phase of a building project. Design/methodology/approach: A review of existing literature facilitated a list of continuous improvement measures. This literature review findings enabled a Likert-scale questionnaire which was administered to two-hundred and fifty (250) small- and medium-scale construction companies (SMSCC) in Nigeria. Multiple linear regression statistical tests deduced the significant cost reduction measure from which a causal loop diagram was designed to indicate continuous improvement measures during the execution phase of a building project. Findings: Cogent construction activities associated with overhead costs were deduced from the statistical tests as being payment of suppliers and sub-contractors and purchase orders. An all-inclusive casual loop model for cost reduction through waste minimisation in construction projects as a viable oriented mechanism for meeting clients' requirements was developed. Practical implications: The causal loop continuous improvement model recognised external and internal factors which are crucial for SMSCC to focus on for their organisational growth and performance enhancement. Originality/value: A focus on non-physical waste in construction organisations potentially addresses behavioural challenges for continuous improvement.


OMOTAYO, T., OLANIPEKUN, A., OBI, L. and BOATENG, P. 2020. A system thinking approach for incremental reduction of non-physical waste. Built environment project and asset management [online], 10(4): construction 4.0 and circular economy, pages 509-528. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 6, 2020
Publication Date Sep 30, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 30, 2020
Journal Built Environment Project and Asset Management
Print ISSN 2044-124X
Electronic ISSN 2044-1258
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 4
Pages 509-528
Keywords Continuous improvement; Cost control; Cost reduction; Post-contract; Systems thinking
Public URL


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