Lean For The Construction Field



Many industries have applied Lean thinking and methodologies to cut down on waste and better their resource use. Lean’s main principles can apply to the construction field, where it is very easy to go over budget and use excess resources.

This is why many construction companies are using Lean practices as they improve construction safety, efficiency, and communication.


Let’s look at how Lean works on construction job sites and the benefits of using Lean construction.


How Lean/Agile Works On Construction Job Sites

Introducing Lean construction industry principles on job sites allows for an all-around improved work environment. Agile construction risk management practices are also very useful as they help to break projects down into smaller tasks, which has several benefits.


Worker Safety

There have been numerous risk management studies that correlate high incident rates with the design of the project. Between 1990 and 2003, 42% of injuries in the U.S. construction industry were related to decisions made during the design process.

Implementing Lean design practices can prevent safety hazards and improve construction site safety management. By reducing waste and labor-intensive operations, Lean construction is more efficient. This reduces the amount of time that workers will spend on a potentially dangerous job site - thus reducing risk and improving worker health & safety.


Lean/Agile construction also enhances the organizational processes meaning that construction companies can better monitor and manage their construction sites. As such, they can create a risk management plan in which they are able to mitigate accidents onsite and reduce any confusion or misunderstandings.


Compliance

Not only does Lean improve worker safety, but it also improves safety compliance. By using Lean/Agile practices, construction companies can lay everything out clearly. This way, they can make sure that they adhere to all safety regulations.


Lean practices generally comply with construction safety criteria as they result in less time spent on site. This cuts down the risk of potential accidents or fatalities.


Because Lean/Agile also focuses on delivering value, there is a great focus on customer requirements and expectations. Therefore, Lean construction ensures that companies comply with these requirements better.


Communication

A break in the communication chain can result in many problems. These can include rework, delays, health & safety issues, using too many or wasting resources, and even going over budget.


Lean principles emphasize communication and collaboration. So, with all team members working together in an integrated approach, there is less room for error.


Because of this emphasis on communication, workers feel more comfortable pointing out any potential issues or coming forward with their ideas and solutions. This helps to promote more efficient operations, as well as identify and solve problems faster.


It also ensures that everyone is working toward the same objectives. So not only does it enhance communication, but leads to better end-results as well.


Improved communication also lowers the risk of errors and decreases the need for rework. Most Agile construction projects will have an effective platform in place to facilitate planning and real-time communication. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows their tasks and responsibilities.


In addition, communicating well on-site helps site managers to track construction progress and employee time tracking more accurately. This way, they can see where to focus their efforts to ensure that the project stays on schedule.


Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of using Lean/Agile is that it improves efficiency in the construction process. Lean’s principles are about driving productivity and efficiency within the field while Agile enables flexibility and the ability to adapt to changes quickly.

Following Lean/Agile principles results in workers becoming more efficient and using fewer resources.


Deliver Greater Value

By reducing waste and using fewer resources, construction companies using Lean principles can deliver greater value. In the construction industry, waste doesn’t always refer to physical waste from unused supplies and materials. It can also refer to inefficiencies that waste time, money, and resources.


So, by following Lean principles on job sites, construction companies can optimize efficiency and reduce several different categories of waste. This ensures that they deliver value in the best, most cost- and time-effective way possible.


With an Agile framework, construction companies can better adapt to changes. If any requirements change during the project, they can quickly adjust and make sure that they meet the demand.


Both Agile and Lean focus on delivering high value to the customer. So, by using these approaches in construction, companies can ensure that they meet all expectations and deliver quality results.


The Impact Of Lean In The Construction Industry

Agile/Lean is already used by a handful of Construction companies that consistently do better with resources, risk management and deliver on time.

During their annual congress, the Lean Construction Institute (U.S.) asked why people adopt Lean construction practices. A word cloud emerged, showing that people valued Lean’s emphasis on efficiency, improvement, and teamwork.

This word cloud shows that Lean has become a valuable part of the construction industry. The results show that Lean practices lead to increased productivity, respect, efficiency, better flow, value, health & safety, and more.

Multiple studies have been done to show the impact of Lean practices on the construction industry. In one study, McGraw Hill asked contractors about the benefits of Lean construction and discovered that over 60% of them reported:

  • Higher quality of work (84%)

  • Greater customer satisfaction (80%)

  • Improved productivity (77%)

  • Reduced costs or increased profitability (64%)

  • Improved safety (77%)

  • Reduced project schedules (74%)


This research just goes to show the positive impact that this approach can have in the construction industry and on job sites. Agile/Lean is the best-kept secret in the industry to achieve goals faster!


Final Thoughts

Lean has made a significant impact on the construction industry showing many benefits. Companies need to start applying Lean/Agile practices to stay ahead and better balance their projects’ increasing complexities.


Lean helps to maximize project efficiency and provide better risk management processes to workers. This means that you can work smarter and faster while also making sure that your workers are safe.


To help simplify your processes and support field safety, compliance, and workflow efficiency, SkillSignal has got you covered. SkillSignal Lean/Agile construction compliance software is a concrete innovation that can significantly help the construction industry with more streamlined and flexible field operations.




References

https://www.build-review.com/how-lean-methodology-creates-more-productive-construction-firms/

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/lean-construction#

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260228283_An_empirical_study_of_the_impact_of_lean_construction_techniques_on_sustainable_construction_in_the_UK

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/engineerfelipe_leanconstruction-respect-construction-activity-6730164587989225472-aP3C/

https://constructionblog.autodesk.com/lean-construction/

https://leanconstructionblog.com/Applying-Lean-Thinking-to-Improve-Safety-Performance-in-Construction.html



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