Lean Construction

Lead: Professor Lauri Koskela

Conventional approaches to construction, in-line with conventional approaches to management, assume that a project can be broken down into a series of stages. By taking decisions that optimise each of these stages, the overall project is then assumed to be optimised.

Lean challenges this approach, recognising that each of the stages, inspite of our efforts to make optimal decisions, is likely to contain waste and can be improved. Another tenet of Lean is that the project stages are interdependent. So, breaking down of projects into separate stages and decisions – to be made optimally – introduces both value loss and waste as the interconnections of stages and decisions will not be fully taken into account.

Lean is about improving the project as a whole rather than just focusing on individual stages. The application of Lean approaches and tools can help to achieve a joined-up approach, a focus on the whole project for reducing waste and increasing value. Collaboration across stages and across the supply chain, and the application of new planning and production control approaches towards eliminating waste, are just two examples that will help achieve such an approach.

Some specific areas of work for the theme include:

-       Theory building

-       Synergies between Lean and BIM

-       Integrated Project Delivery

-       Production Planning and control

-       Visual Management

-       Target Value Design

-       Supply chain management

-       Retrofit

-       Logistics