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 of terms (PDF)


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