Skip to main content

What is Lean Construction?

Published December 15, 2016

What Is Lean Construction & Why You Should Care
One of the challenges of implementing lean construction is that many firms believe that “lean” is associated with manufacturing and that construction is a different industry. While construction is certainly different, the manner in which lean construction is geared toward dynamic projects makes it a great fit for construction projects.

To compete with other construction firms, lean construction must be employed in order to minimize costs while maximizing the quality of the project. This includes not only the construction of the building, but also the maintenance, salvaging and recycling of a building. Therefore, lean construction is a concern for everyone, especially those who are concerned with keeping costs low and doing what is best for the environment.

Value Defined From The Perspective Of The Customer
Lean construction defines value from the perspective of the customer. It is also much easier to provide customers with exactly what they want when they want it. One of the most important parts of lean manufacturing is identifying value from the perspective of the customer. Once value has been identified, it is then necessary to identify value streams through which value is delivered. Pull must also be achieved so that nothing is delivered until it is necessary.

A Perfect Alignment Of The Supply Chain
To be successful with lean construction, it is necessary to have a perfect alignment with the entire supply chain that is responsible for the construction project in order to maximize value and minimize waste. It is also necessary to identify all obstacles in the way of value creation so that they can be avoided.

Workers Constantly Add Value
When the supplies arrive at the work site, it is essential that workers are constantly working so that they are constantly adding value to the construction site. Therefore, management must be highly organized and must be constantly aware of what each staff member is currently focused on.

Waste Is Constantly Eliminated
Lean construction makes it easier to eliminate waste. The goal is to use that which is necessary and nothing more. This is accomplished through careful strategic planning. In order to minimize waste, each step of the construction process must be subject to close scrutiny and careful details must be recorded to allow businesses to understand exactly how much is being wasted.

The Value Stream
Lean construction allows for construction managers to understand the value stream of each step of the construction process.

Prefabricated Buildings
Lean construction allows for certain aspects of construction to be prefabricated and made more modular. This allows for parts to be constructed in a manner that maximizes efficiency and minimizes waste. Modular parts are also much easier to measure.

Become More Competitive
The greatest benefit of all is that you can perfect your construction process by constantly making improvements. This allows for your company to be forever placing pressure on construction firms that have not achieved such a level of perfection and that cannot provide as much value at a lower cost and with a smaller environmental footprint.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading supplier of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges.