LEAN Construction Delivery  can significantly improve quality, productivity, and overall levels of satisfaction.
Through the integration and practice of robust LEAN construction practices and workflows, change management, and supporting technologies, over 90% of renovation, repair, maintenance, sustainability, and new construction projects can be delivered on-time, on-budget, and to the satisfaction of all participants and stakeholders.
This post outlines LEAN construction delivery, required changes that must occur across the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, and Owner (AECOO) sector, and supporting technologies i.e BIM (Building Information Modeling) … the combination of which paves a clear path for participants to achieve improved outcomes.
All forms of construction, and there associated project phases, have been viewed as linear and discrete. This sets the stage for multiple barriers to maximizing efficiency.
Adoption of a continuous process perspective versus linear, affords multiple benefits. The following graphic portrays an integrated, ongoing convergence of LEAN construction delivery and all previously disparate and discrete competencies, processes, and technologies.
Implementation of this method requires LEADERSHIP on the part of a competent owner/facilities management authority (Owners). Owner competency includes an operational understanding and adoption of collaborative LEAN collaborative business processes, without excessive management and control.
Owners must be capable of developing statements of need, general requirements, and conceptual design. These, of course, can be created by the owner in concert with appropriate owner’s representatives.
In short, as the below diagram demonstrate, LEAN Construction is owner driven.
While the above can appear somewhat complex, the concept of LEAN construction is quite simple and has been described as five (5) basic principles .
- Specify what customers Value – Value is what the customer wants and only what the customer wants. This requires a precise understanding of the specific needs of the customer. In approximately 60% of “work” is currently non- value added.
- Understand the Value Stream – This is the combination of the processes, activities, tools, and activities that consistently produce what the customer values.
- Improve the Flow –Work should flow from one value added activity to the next with a minimum of interruption, or supporting activity to the next.
- Pull – The system support and react to customer demand. The customers “pulls” the work through the system.
- Perfection – Striving towards perfection is a continuous process. The goal is to deliver the value to the customer exactly what is anticipated.
The goals of the LEAN process are to…”
1. Solve the customer’s problem completely by ensuring that all the goods and services work, and work together
2. Don’t waste the customer’s time
3. Provide exactly what the customer wants.
4. Provide what’s wanted exactly where it’s wanted
5. Provide what’s wanted where it’s wanted exactly when it’s wanted
6. Continually aggregate solutions to reduce the customer’s time and hassle.”
Achievement of on-time, on-budget, and quality construction delivery is achievable on a consistent basis if the following foundational elements of LEAN Collaborative Construction Delivery are put in place.
- Competent Owners providing LEADERSHIP
- BEST VALUE procurement
- Early and Ongoing COLLABORATION among all participants and stakeholders
- Mutual TRUST and RESPECT
- Shared RISK/REWARD
- PERFORMANCE-BASED reward system
- Planning based upon interdependencies
- COMMON DATA ENVIRONMENT, CDE – standardized terms, definitions in plain English and standard data architectures (for example CSI Uniformat, Masterformat, Omniclass)
- Supporting Technology – Modular technology that supports, rather than restricts, robust business processes.
- Long term, mutually BENFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS
- Global oversight that takes advantage of local knowledge and capabilities
The most widely known and used examples of LEAN Collaborative Construction Delivery Methods are Integrated Project Delivery, IPD (for major new construction), and Job Order Contracting, JOC (for renovation, repair, maintenance, sustainability, and minor new construction).
Cost, time, and quality no longer need to be mutually exclusive.
Moving from the foundation elements of LEAN construction to day-to-day activities provides additional insight. LEAN construction is all about defining, consistently implementing, monitoring, and continuously improving practical and beneficial processes and their related outcomes. Waste is managed through increasing communication among ALL participants and assuring full transparency. Suggestions and improvements are welcomed. The goals is to minimize activities that do not create value.
- Change management (Process and Cultural)
- Written Execution Manual or Operations Manual as a component of all contracts
- Joint meetings, including site visits, among all participants
- Key performance indicators, KPI’s and ongoing monitoring
- Continuous training
- Co-located multi-disciplinary teams
- Empower worker to make decisions and make suggestions
The role of contractor or other service provider relative to LEAN construction is simply to deliver exactly what the customer expects. This encompasses multiple activities before project start, including but not limited to:
- Determining the purpose(s) of the project
- Understanding the client’s business and financial requirements
- Understanding user needs
- Identifying ALL stakeholders and their needs/requirements.
- Determining local conditions
- Determining applicable codes, standards, & laws
BIM and LEAN Efficient Construction delivery methods greatly increase the likelihood of positive construction outcomes from the typically 2% to well over 90%.
They assure that information is provided earlier in the overall process, shared in common, easily understood formats, and is not overlooked.
Whether you achieve over 90% of your construction related project on-time, on-budget, and at the desired quality, or at best 40%-50% is entirely your choice. As an owner, architect, engineer, contractor, subcontractor, facilities manager, or building user, you decide on what projects are appropriate, how you manage them, and whom you work for… it’s up to you.
Owners must lead and accelerate the shift from design-bid-build, lowest bidder, and even design-build, to LEAN collaborative delivery methods. They must demand integrity and trust in the construction process. Studies have demonstrated time after time that owners are responsible for low productivity throughout the construction sector. It’s time for a change.
BIM and LEAN Efficient Construction delivery
Understanding, promoting, and implementing BIM and LEAN Efficient Construction delivery helps to assure that the team can make repair, renovate, or build what the owner wants and supply all required information for ongoing life-cycle management of the asset. In short, when complete, money, time, or quality problems will not lead to dissatisfaction, lawsuits, and unhappy campers!
Sharing information and collaboration between all stakeholders involved in the process becomes the essential element to take advantage of the potential offered by BIM and LEAN Efficient Construction delivery.
As all stakeholders: designers, contractors, owners and services collaborate and work synergistically is just then that BIM have played its potential fully.
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Luca Moscardi & Peter Cholakis
 LEAN Construction Delivery – A system to minimize waste of materials, time, and effort in order to generate the maximum possible amount of value. 2002, Koskela, L., Howell, G., Ballard, G., and Tommelein, I. The Foundations of Lean Construction. ADAPTATION
 1996, Womack and Jones 1996
 Adapted from Lean Construction Institute 2001
 2005 CMAA Study, 2016 McKinsey Report