The key elements of lean construction are defining value and eliminating anything that does not contribute towards that value i.e. ‘waste’. Value is defined from the perspective of the client as being what the client wants from the building project.
Waste includes physical waste on site but also time, materials, poor quality work, unnecessary or unwanted elements or features etc.
There are many lean construction techniques and we use a number of them on our sites.
1. Reducing Physical Waste
Utilising the advantage of a direct labour force, we have set up a waste management working group within Sandwood, consisting of a team of operators and managers that meet monthly to review how to reduce physical waste on site and encourage recycling.
2. Lean Programming
We utilise lean programming to establish target programmes with float (inefficiencies) shown and monitored separately.
3. Last Planner
Short term programming is devolved down through the organisation to put control in the hands of the people undertaking the work – in our case down to the trade team leaders.
4. Quality Control
As with programming, quality control becomes everyone’s responsibility and is devolved down to the individual and the teams.
Programmes are designed to balance resources to achieve a flow around the building to eliminate bottlenecks and delays.
6. Pull Not Push
Simple schedules to highlight dates when information/decisions are needed, using a simple traffic light system to highlight slippage.
7. Continuous Improvement
Failing to improve procedures, methods and systems is itself waste, so continuous improvement is a central element of lean construction. A stable management and workforce and specialisation in one area both assist in the process of continuous improvement.