Lean Construction

The construction industry has a reputation for delays, bad quality and unsafe working conditions. This makes it a prime candidate for the implementation of lean principles and techniques. The idea of ‘lean construction‘ has been around since the early 1990s, when a group of academics in California started to look at opportunities for the application of lean in the sector. One of the results of this early work was the introduction of the Last Planner System to better manage construction sites.

The lean construction movement soon spread to other parts of the world, starting with the UK – where it influenced a number of organizations and large projects, like the construction of St Pancras station in London. Large construction companies quickly took on lean management. Like in other industries, at the beginning the adoption of lean focused heavily on the application of tools, whereas more recently the strategic importance of lean management has been recognized by the industry.

Technology is providing new opportunities for the sector, with 3D and 4D software tools taking the lead. Technological advances, coupled with the adoption of solid improvement practices, like lean construction methodology, in the construction industry, means we can design and build better, safer and lasting buildings – also guaranteeing working infrastructure for our increasingly urban world.

ECC lean construction

Building a competitive advantage with lean thinking

INTERVIEW – We chat with the CEO of a construction company in Dubai to learn about the competitive advantage that lean thinking is providing them.
lean construction Kloet

Lean in a building maintenance and renovation company

FEATURE – Visualizing the work, increasing customer focus and changing the way to interact with employees has helped a family-run Dutch building maintenance and renovation firm to transform itself.
gemba walk Paris Ouest Construction

How a construction company survived the recession using lean

NOTES FROM THE GEMBA – With a strong focus on quality and on solving problems once and for all, Paris Ouest Construction has managed to weather the storm of the recession, the author finds out during a gemba walk.
lean construction gemba story

A gemba story to study lean thinking in construction

INDUSTRY FOCUS – Drawing from his direct experience at the gemba, the author shares what he learned about applying lean thinking to his family’s construction company, and a few useful tips.

An NGO uses lean principles to rebuild New Orleans

CASE STUDY – Following one of the deadliest hurricanes in US history, an NGO started to use lean management principles to speed up the reconstruction of homes in the Louisiana city… and the results were impressive.
cimtas lean thinking

Cimtas Module & Shipyard: lean principles in construction

CASE STUDY - A Turkish shipyard and engineering company has found that lean principles and practice are the only way to deliver unique, large construction projects efficiently and successfully.

The state of lean construction

INTERVIEW – Brian Swain, Director of the Lean Construction Institute UK, has supported some of the largest construction projects in Britain, including London’s Olympic Village. Here he talks about the evolution of lean in the industry.
dura vermeer lean construction

Turning around a business using lean construction ideas

CASE STUDY - Addressing failure cost and introducing a new quoting process are only two of the ways in which Dutch construction company Dura Vermeer is successfully achieving a lean transformation.

John Bouthillon on his experience with lean in construction

COLUMN - In the first of a series of columns written by CEOs, John Bouthillon of PO Construction explains how lean has kept his company afloat through the recession.