When you think about Lean Construction, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Well, as stated by Autodesk Construction, ‘‘The Lean methodology is most often associated with manufacturing. Its roots began at the Toyota Production System in the early 20th century as a means for process improvement.’’ Nonetheless, what has Manufacturing got to do with Construction? To put things into context, the concept of manufacturing efficiencies including maximizing operations, projects and projects has been long respected by the Construction sector and has subsequently been widely adopted across the industry as a way of improving overall project efficiencies to obtain better long-term project outcomes and reduce construction waste.

Simple diagram explaining Lean Construction

What Lean Construction procedures do Construction companies need to follow?

Identify Value

Instead of just looking at the plans and building cost analysis that involves the construction of the establishment, lean construction goes deeper into the reasons behind the project. For instance, if the building is a national museum, then the contractors must provide alternative ideas that fit best with the project’s objectives. Lean construction takes time to analyze the reason for the project and then create options for clients, knowing that these alternative ideas will have better rewards. The value of the building holds greater depth than the materials used in the construction.

Define Value

When the construction company understands where the client stands, they can prepare plans that are in line with the customer’s end goals. The contractor will do budget planning for equipment, labor, and construction materials. In this procedure, the construction companies define the value of the project by presenting an organized layout that makes the project more valuable to the client. If there are adjustments, the team can make revisions and changes in the numbers.

Eliminate Waste

The purpose of lean construction is lessening and, at times, eliminating wastes coming from the development of the project. With that, lean construction looks at every opportunity in the project and determines the possible wastes. Lean construction recognizes and categorizes eight kinds of excesses.

Over assessment

Sometimes, some clients choose to push through with their desired design even when it’s irrelevant to the project. When that happens, it becomes a waste.

Delayed Resources

Waiting is a common problem when it comes to construction. Postponed delivery of construction materials slows the development of the establishment, and it’s a waste of time and energy on the part of the workers, project managers, and engineers.

Excess Inventory

As the opposite of the first category, excess inventory is the early arrival of construction items before the schedule. Often, the materials will deteriorate if not used right away. The loss of these materials will affect the allocated budget.

Transport Errors

If the project has more than one construction site, the possibility of transfers is possible. However, the sudden transport of equipment, workers, or construction material before the scheduled use is a waste of energy and time.

Overproduction

A project that finishes before the completion date is excellent. But when accomplished and the next step will not start right away, this will become a loss for the client and construction company.

Faulty Work

Despite being careful, projects will still encounter defects. These flawed works require reworking and the use of more materials. The time spent in remaking the faulty parts is wastage in resources and time.

Problem With Distance

Distance is another problem in construction projects. Some clients prefer hiring workers that live far from the construction site. This, however, adds is a waste of money and time for the project heads and client’s part. Moreover, choosing suppliers far from the location site is not advisable for the project.

Create A Flow of Work

After identifying and eliminating wastes, the next step is to create an ideal workflow system for the project. It follows a sequence of events, like an annual schedule, to make sure that the use of time is well spent. The team will also allow adjustments to the plan to suit the needs of the project. Sometimes, the team also considers factors like organization structure to create better schedules.

Establish Pull

In creating an efficient work schedule, the planners know that communication is crucial.  Unlike other methods that only focus on one aspect of the project, the lean construction approach recognizes collaborative efforts between contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and owners. The group follows the progress together, analyzing the parts that need extra help and which areas are almost complete. An ideal building project has no delays, and the methods of lean construction avoid these problems.

Seek Perfection

Lean construction aims to improve the planning mechanisms and scheduling processes of a project. More opportunities in development are possible when creators identify flaws and unnecessary additions to the plan. In time, the schedule of values construction, resource delivery schedules, and other parts of the project will be free from redundancy and nuisance.

 

It’s the aim of Hamilton Mayer to identify experienced candidates for our clients. A definite trend we’re finding is, how much lean construction experience do individuals have, and more specifically, the types of projects this has been successfully implemented.

More recently, a good client had highlighted to us that he would be interested in interviewing candidates with strong high-rise, hospitality experience for a couple of $100m+ projects they have coming up in Texas. With that said, candidates with Lean Construction experience were highly sought after but at the same time I was also notified over $60k investment had been made training the Texas Business Unit in Lean Construction, which is fantastic to see. This got me thinking, what other construction companies are investing in training for their teams on the adoption and utilization of Lean Construction? Probably not enough, but it’s worth pondering over.

Another consideration I want to highlight is: What % of the candidates Hamilton Mayer speak with are aware of Lean Construction, or even incorporate it into their schedules? This will no doubt be an in-coming LinkedIn poll further down the line, but in the meantime, I must admit I don’t think from my opinion a lot of the candidates our firm work with truly understand or have any real definite grasp of Lean Construction and its benefits. What advantages would the Construction industry gain from a wider level of its workforce equipped with the right level of training to deliver a greater proportion of its projects via Lean Construction methodologies?

Concepts of Lean Construction To Consider:

  • Using modelling and visualization techniques to improve planning and communication
  • Early planning, to improve workflow, focusing on defining achievable tasks and avoiding mistakes, duplicated effort, out of sequence working and activity that does not add customer value
  • Look-ahead scheduling.
  • Pre-fabrication and modular building to reduce activity on site and better distribute the workload.
  • Just-in-time deliveries
  • Value management techniques

In Conclusion:

Is the future of Construction all about Lean Construction? The fundamental point to highlight here is that clients will always want to see a return on their investment. Meticulous planning alongside excellent communication will help deliver a project to schedule, budget and high levels of satisfaction clients are looking for. The more Construction companies adopting Lean Construction techniques as part of the service offering will become far more competitive in the marketplace, as well as encouraging investors to participate to the growth of the market’s economy, which surely isn’t a bad thing.

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