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Transforming Construction Process with Lean Construction

Lean construction is derived from the concepts of lean manufacturing, and it combines operational research and practical construction design development. Many lean manufacturing practices and principles for end-to-end design are implemented in the lean construction process. To simplify, lean construction is about managing and improving construction process to satisfy customer needs and achieve quality, schedule delivery, safety and profitability.

Why Lean Construction?

There are three key priorities in any construction process:

  1. Keep the work flowing so that the workforce employed are always productive
  2. Reduce inventory of tools and materials
  3. Reduce waste and inefficiency inefficiency

To simplify, optimal usage of materials, time and efforts are crucial in the construction process for generating value in the process. Moreover, for any project, the system needs to collaborate business owners, AEC, contracts, facility managers, workers and various other teams at the early project stage. Lean construction identifies the gaps and aims to benefit the overall construction plan.

Lean construction follows the lean production approach, but it is differently perceived during practical implementation. Various workflows are integrated into the construction planning process to align the supply chain to maximize the value and minimize the waste. Toyota and other such companies have pioneered the lean model using TQM, SPC, and Six-Sigma to meet customer demands and improve business profitability.

How to implement Lean Construction?

We can implement Lean construction by using CPM and work breakdown structure. Other tools and methods are also used like Last Planner System, Target Value Design, and Lean Project Delivery System.

There are also toolkits available to implement Lean construction like:

  • Lean Design: BIM, A3, Process Design, Kanban
  • Lean Supply: JIT, 6S
  • Lean Assembly: Value Chain Mapping, Visual Site, Daily Crew Huddles

The lean principles can be implemented entirely and efficiently by focusing on refining the whole construction process. It requires all teams, stakeholders to be committed, involved, and work to overcome obstacles that may arise from traditional contractual arrangements.

Each departments need to follow below guidelines:

For Construction:

  • Clear communication of project plans
  • Training the team to improve teamwork and multi-skills
  • Daily progress reporting and improvement meetings
  • A well-motivated, well-trained, flexible and fully engaged workforce

 For Design:

  • Leverage Virtual Reality or 3D design to adequately visualize and define the project requirements from the customer’s perspective
  • Value Management to get better clarity and focus on client value
  • Use of integrated design and build arrangements (including partnering) to encourage close cooperation between designers, constructors, and specialist suppliers
  • Design for Standardization and Pre-assembly – both of components and processes to achieve higher quality and cost and time savings.

For Procurement:

  • Supply chain management and rationalization of the supply chain to integrate all stakeholders to contribute to delivering the overall customer value
  • Transparency of costs – elimination of waste in both processes and activities requires a clear and complete understanding of costs to ensure right decisions on customer value.
  • We must address confidentiality of expense and cash flows
  • Eliminating the boundaries between companies by partnering and getting more contribution to achieve a common goal

For Construction Planning:

  • Establish ‘best in class’ construction methods and outputs
  • Formation of a stable project program, with precise identification of critical path
  • Risk management – to manage risks throughout the project

For Logistics:

  • Just-in-time delivery of materials to the point of use eliminates the need for on-site storage and double handling

RDAEP is a full-service architectural, engineering and construction firm to help you optimize the construction process with lean principles. Our services include architecture, structural engineering, HVAC, plumbing, electrical engineering, and interior design. Call us on (860) 289-1100 or Contact Us for your design-built requirements.