Schedule compression and emerging waste in construction: an assessment of overlapping activities

Diana Salhab, Søren Munch Lindhard*, Farook Hamzeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Compressing the schedule by using overlapping activities is a commonly adopted approach for accelerating projects. However, this approach might channel a variety of risks into the construction processes. Risks imply waste; still, evaluating the effects of using overlapping activities on schedule quality has been a looming gap in construction research. Therefore, this paper aims to study the quality of overlapping in terms of emerging waste and to demarcate the boundaries of the overlapping envelope. Design/methodology/approach: This study presents a method for assessing the consequences of implementing overlapping activities in a schedule on two types of waste namely waiting time and variation gap. A critical path method (CPM) network including eleven activities is modeled stochastically where the durations of individual activities are sampled as beta-distributions. Using program evaluation and review technique (PERT) assumptions to calculate the schedule dates, the network is simulated for various amounts of overlapping and the corresponding waste is quantified each time. Findings: Results show that not only the returns on overlapping are diminishing after a certain overlap percentage, but also waste in the production system increases. Particularly, results reveal that compressing the schedule leads to a decrease in variation gaps, but at the same time, it leads to a larger increase in waiting times, which creates more waste. Originality/value: The presented study shows through simulation how overlapping activities affects productivity by identifying wastes. It shows that despite the apparent gains, overlaps should be used with caution, and while considering the side-effects of increased waste which introduces a need for increased managerial awareness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Overlapping activities
  • Schedule compressing
  • Scheduling
  • Simulation
  • Waste


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