Lean Principle - Understanding Lean Construciton

Lean is a body of knowledge dating back hundreds of years focused on sustainably growing an organization.

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During the last 20 years the construction industry has been rapidly adopting some of these tools to improve productivity.  

Field Productivity: What is Lean Construction? Maximize customer value while minimizing waste by leveraging people.

Major advancements were made by Henry Ford and during WWII with the Training Within Industry (TWI) program.  

Toyota made major contributions to the body of knowledge from 1948-1975

The term “lean” was only coined 30 years ago in 1988 by John Krafcik with Greg Howell and Glen Ballard starting to apply the concepts to construction around 1995.  


The core concept of lean is maximizing customer value by minimizing waste and leveraging people.  

The book Lean for Dummies elegantly defines value-add to the customer as having to meet 3 criteria:  

  1. The customer must be willing to pay for it.
  2. It must transform the raw materials (inputs) in some way.
  3. It must be done correctly the first time.

Learn to identify and eliminate your waste

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Labor Productivity
Field labor is the often the biggest variable on a construction project - making it the biggest risk and opportunity....

Labor Productivity
Field labor is the often the biggest variable on a construction project - making it the biggest risk and opportunity....

Planning and Preparing for Unknowns
When faced with many unknowns, it is important to plan and prepare for multiple scenarios while holding off on being decisive until the last responsible moment.
What is Lean
Labor productivity in the construction industry impacts all contractors and project owners and has become even more challenging with the craft labor shortage.
Impacted Productivity - Highly variable Labor Scheduling (Level Your Schedule)
The biggest risk for a specialty contractor is the performance of on-site labor. One of the biggest impacts to labor productivity is having a schedule that requires large variations in labor.