What Is Lean Construction?

Lean construction is a new way to define, design and build, and it can be applied on any project, with any project delivery model.

From its history in production and manufacturing, Lean construction applies the same principles to improve productivity. Key differences derived from Lean construction include:

  • Control is redefined from “monitoring results” to “making things happen.” Planning system performance is measured and improved to assure reliable workflow and predictable project outcomes.
  • Performance is maximizing value and minimizing waste at the project level.
  • Project delivery is the simultaneous design of the facility and its production process, or concurrent engineering.
  • Value to the customer is defined, created and delivered throughout the life of the project. In current practice, the owner is expected to completely define requirements at the outset for delivery at the end, despite changing markets, technology and business practices.
  • Coordinating action through pulling and continuous flow as opposed to traditional schedule-driven push with its over-reliance on central authority and project schedules to manage resources and coordinate work.
  • Decentralizing decision making through transparency and empowerment. This means providing project participants with information on the state of the production systems and empowering them to take action.

Lean design and construction is a production management-based project delivery system emphasizing the reliable and speedy delivery of value. It challenges the generally-accepted belief that there is always a trade-off between time, cost, quality and safety.

 

Glossary

Glossary of terms (PDF)

 

Recommended Literature

2 Second Lean
How to Grow People and Build a Fun Lean Culture
Paul A. Akers

It’s Your Ship
Management Techniques From The Best Damn Ship In The Navy
D. Michael Abrashoff

The High-Velocity Edge
How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition
Steven Spear

Transforming Design and Construction
Bill Seed

The Lean House
John Shook, CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institutes, explains the Lean Transformation Model (The Lean House) and how it can transform your organization.
Read more

This Is Lean – Resolving the Efficiency Paradox
Niklas Modig & Pär Åhlström

 

White Papers

Motivation and Means
How and Why IPD and Lean Lead to Success
By University of Minnesota in collaboration with University of Washington, University of British Columbia, Scan Consulting
Download PDF

Process Benchmarks
Target Value Design: Current Benchmark (1.0)
By Glenn Ballard
Download PDF

Choosing by Advantages Study
George Washington University Hospital Rad Onc Space
Download PDF

Five Simple Concepts of CBA
Five Simple Concepts for Making Sound Decisions
By Jum Suhr
Download PDF

Basic Principles of Sound Decisionmaking
(The CBA System is also called sound decisionmaking)
By Jim Suhr
Download PDF

Putting the Five Big Ideas to Work
Transforming the experience of project work
by Hal Macomber
Download PDF

Maximizing Success in Integrated Projects An Owner’s Guide
The Owner’s Guide to Maximizing Success in Integrated Projects is the application of the findings from a robust empirical study of over 200 capital facility projects.
By Robert M. Leicht, Keith R. Molenaar, John I. Mesner, Nryan W. Franz and Behzad Esmaeili
Download PDF

Target Value Design
Nine Foundational Practices for Delivering Surprising Client Value
by Glenn Ballard & David Long
Download PDF

Last Planner System
Just the Essentials
Advice from the LPC Project Coaches
Download PDF