Mechanical construction is unique in that it includes design, fabrication and installation of sheet metal ductwork. Because of this characteristic, the manufacturing principles of buffering and batching can be applied directly to mechanical construction in an attempt to improve field productivity. Improving field productivity is key to how a mechanical contractor earns a profit. An analytical case study was conducted to determine the buffering and batching practices used at a large mechanical contracting firm. This case study consisted of semi-structured interviews directed at field supervision, project management, and shop supervision. The goals of this project include: 1. To fully understand the ductwork procurement process from each groups’ point of view 2. To establish the current buffering and batching practices in place 3. To provide a basis for analyzing and comparing the firm’s current buffering and batching practices The answers from these interviews were analyzed in the context provided by previous research on the subject. The current buffering and batching practices of the mechanical contractor were defined, and the impact that these practices have on the mechanical contractor’s field productivity was qualitatively determined.


Mechanical, buffer, batch, supply chain, pre-fabrication

Date of this Version



Building Construction Management

Department Head

Robert F. Cox

Month of Graduation


Year of Graduation



Master of Science

Head of Graduate Program

Robert F. Cox

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Daphene Cyr Koch

Advisor 2

Kirk D. Alter

Advisor 3

Bryan J. Hubbard