What is Lean Construction and or LPD – Lean Project Delivery?

Are you the delivery manager or project director on a major road, rail, mine or other construction project in Australia? Have you been hearing about how Lean Construction techniques may be able to significantly help your teams on site improve the way they do things?

Are you sceptical Lean Construction sounds like a BLACK BOX solution

I WAS!

Have you heard about it from several people who’ve not been able to “Pinpoint” exactly what it is or how and what it might do for you on your project? Does it seem to you a lot like TQM or other improvement methods you may have experienced across your career?

Lean Construction or LPD explained in one paragraph.

Lean Construction is a process to change the way workflows occur on projects so they are more predictable and reliable. On every construction site there are wasted resources e.g.: People standing around at times doing nothing, too much inventory sitting around on site, machinery not being used but being paid for etc. On work sites the average work complete each week verses that scheduled by teams sits at 40 to 60%. In other words most weeks work teams should have achieved 40 to 60% more productivity BUT THEY DON’T.

This results in project finish dates and budgets that continuously blow way over what they should be in costs and time.

Lean construction is a set of tools that enables major projects to streamline workflow reliability and predictability on sites. Its core focus is around optimising the project not the individual pieces, and it does this through making changes to the way project managers, superintendents, engineers, designers, procurement teams and others do some of the following:

Schedule using new methods

  • To increase performance
  • Have meetings that work
  • Track and monitor project costs
  • Use metrics on site that motivate

Lead in a new way

  • To collaborate with all teams
  • Spend (or not) spend time at sites
  • See the value of integrating supply chains into their processes

Use Continuous Learning Methods

  • Use continuous improvement in construction
  • Map value streams in to improve fabrication methods
  • Capture and transfer learnings through technology
  • Quality check without paper
  • Use CAD & BIM in new ways

Having spent time with some of the Co-Founders of Lean Construction in 2011 I became intrigued by how easily major projects can benefit by training their teams in these methods. This is not a one size fits all methodology but is one where almost every single project can find benefits.

Hunter with Greg Howell one of the Co-Founders of Lean Construction.

I have not yet in this post mentioned the actual tools that have made Lean Construction famous like Pull Planning, Last Planner, Weekly work plans etc. Over the coming months I will be writing about the Lean Construction tools and Lean Project Delivery on projects in order that more people can benefit from this work.

If you are interested and or are a sceptic like I was, then now may be the time to start researching this field.

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