Lean construction is a more efficient version of the traditional construction process which is based on the concept of lean manufacturing. This concept was first introduced by Japanese car manufacturers to improve their work output, cut down on waste and increase profit margins.
The aim of lean construction is to approach a building project with a solid plan in mind on how long it will take, who’s involved and managing that team to produce their best work in the shortest time they can. Building materials are economically sourced and waste control is carefully monitored.
The Principles of Lean Construction
- Identify the project construction process and report on the specific costs and timeframes of each stage.
- Keep building waste material to an absolute minimum
- Have a plan in place that no material is brought on-site until it is to be used imminently
- If some building structures can be built off-site to avoid congestion, include that in the project construction plan.
- Pursue the goal of a ‘perfect’ build through the process of clever planning, close monitoring and continued reports to boost improvement
Lean Construction Philosophy
The philosophy of Lean Construction is about designing and operating the right process and having the right systems, resources and measures to deliver things right, first time. The elimination of waste materials, activities and processes that absorb resources but create no value is an essential part of making this concept a reality.
In regards to Lean Construction, waste includes avoidable building errors, slow work progress, delayed starts, site overcrowding and poor site maintenance. Lean construction is not about cutting costs, it’s about increasing value by encouraging an efficient team output and enthusiastic involvement in continuous construction process improvement.
The idea of ‘right first time’ is essential to the lean philosophy. ‘Right’ in this context means designing a straightforward plan and process so that it can’t go wrong. This approach involves an extremely rigorous, questioning analysis of every detail of product development and production, continuously seeking to establish the ultimate source of problems. Only by eliminating the sourced cause can the fault be indefinitely eliminated.
Any building structures or products that can be assembled off-site will be in closely located ‘cells’ so that work flows continuously, with each step adding more value to the product. The standard time for all activities is known and the aim is to completely eliminate all delays in the entire production process.
The construction team is kept informed of progress towards their production and cost targets by use of information displays so that they can see the project status at all times. Work teams in lean construction are highly trained and multi-skilled, and many of the traditional supervisory and managerial functions have been delegated to them.
Lean construction has become a hot topic in the industry in recent years due to its phenomenal cost saving and deadline meeting achievements when done properly. And it doesn’t have to start when your team get the contract to go on-site and fulfil their role. CIS Online is an All-Ireland construction project database that reports on all key projects from pre-planning until they go on-site.
4197 construction projects with a total value of €17.8 billion have been added/updated to our comprehensive dataset in the last 100 days.
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