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Six Key Points to Understanding Lean Construction

Lean and mean – that phrase may bring up images of a muscular runner – or, for those in construction and construction management, it may bring up the need for smart choices that save time and money. The construction industry is schedule- and cost-driven. In recent years, Lean Construction has been gaining traction as an approach that helps firms stay lean and mean - working within budget to meet or exceed the demands of the schedule, and to deliver high-quality, client-focused results. Here are six key points to understanding lean construction – and what it can do for you and your clients.



1. Lean construction in a nutshell

Lean construction emphasizes minimizing waste while maximizing value. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It can be – especially when applied to efficiencies in factories, where the concept originated. However, the needs and challenges of a construction project are much more complex than those of factories. That complexity makes lean construction even more vital as an approach that informs pre-planning between all stakeholders.


2. It’s a concept – not a step-by-step approach

Lean construction principles and concepts can definitely save time and money, and deliver superior results to clients. But there is no “one right way” or “ten step programme” to approach or achieve lean construction. The basic principles can be applied in a number of ways, based on the specific needs of the project and stakeholder preferences.


3. It’s about the client’s POV (Point of View)

Construction clients often want designers, engineering firms and construction firms to plan with more emphasis on what they as client want, rather than what the other stakeholders think is best. Lean construction principles put greater emphasis on the client’s point of view by guiding stakeholders in building a relationship with the client and involving them, their goals and values early in the planning process.


4. Downtime = waste

A primary focus of lean construction is to eliminate waste, usually by eliminating downtime. Lean construction principles guide the stakeholders in employing approaches that prevent waste and deliver efficiency.


5. Plan and adjust to maintain flow

The lean construction process supports consistent, predictable and reliable workflow. As challenges emerge and adjustments are needed, the emphasis on maintaining workflow guides the revision process.


6. Emphasize continuous improvement

Lean construction is designed to address the complex challenges construction projects face. Because no two projects are the same, and because lean construction approaches vary, a key to successful projects is paying attention to lessons learned. Capturing lessons learned maximizes the value to the client – both as the current project progresses, and by carrying lessons learned forward into future projects.


Are you interested in exploring how implementing the key principles of Lean Construction can ensure your project success? Contact EGML Consulting today to discuss your project scope and requirements.

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