Construction projects are more complex than ever—with tight deadlines and budgets, small inefficiencies quickly add up to high costs and more waste.
Luckily, lean construction principles offer organizations practical ways to minimize waste and maximize value throughout their projects.
We’ll explore the five most notable lean construction benefits and discuss three ways to start implementing lean practices in your organization.
The top 5 lean construction benefits
The lean construction benefits that your organization can expect vary based on how you apply lean principles and your current state of operation.
While the benefits of lean construction are almost limitless, let’s explore five of the most notable and common:
1. Better planning and scheduling
Inefficient scheduling is one of the largest reasons why construction professionals see productivity loss on the job site. That productivity loss takes the form of things like scheduling workers before their role is needed or scheduling them in congested areas, resulting in inefficiency all around.
Lean construction best practices include using a pull planning and scheduling approach to reduce conflicts and improve efficiency. This lean construction benefit comes from planning schedules backwards to meet deadlines, allowing stakeholders to coordinate and address potential problems more effectively.
2. Improved safety, fewer risks
What’s the most valuable resource in construction? Your employees. Over the years, the industry has been working to increase worker safety and reduce risks on job sites—leading construction firms understand that safe worksites are profitable worksites.
Supporting these efforts is a significant lean construction benefit, emphasizing communication and collaboration to create a safer environment with fewer risks for both workers and companies.
Lean construction planning methods encourage teams to monitor their progress and identify potential risks to handle them quickly while involving key stakeholders to avoid lasting negative effects on the project.
3. More control over costs
You might’ve guessed by now: Collaboration is a core component of lean construction. With this collaboration, construction professionals can realize cost savings and increase their productivity. In fact, McKinsey found that enhanced collaboration can improve productivity by 8 to 9%, reducing overall costs by 6 to 7%.
This cost reduction brings us to the third lean construction benefit: more control and higher margins. Lean methodologies help reduce downtime and root out inefficiencies in construction processes.
Further reading: Breaking down the 6 principles of Lean construction
4. Satisfied employees, satisfied clients
Another lean construction benefit is more engaged employees, leading to a higher number of successful projects and increased engagement of stakeholders at all levels. With a lean approach, everyone involved in a project communicates and works together from the onset, resulting in a better understanding of their roles.
Lean construction helps construction professionals deliver their projects on time and on budget to improve the satisfaction of everyone involved, from their subcontractors to their customers. Satisfied employees and clients impact a construction company’s long-term success.
5. Enhanced quality of output
You are what you build. Coordination, collaboration, and communication are at the core of ensuring the best possible results, from processes to materials.
Lean construction focuses on those three Cs along with trust and accountability throughout each stage of a project. When teams, contractors, and clients work together, they bring innovation and value that aligns with the project’s goals from the onset.
This lean construction benefit means less rework and conflict, resulting in more efficient production and a higher quality of output.
3 steps to take advantage of these lean construction benefits
Shifting to lean construction methodologies is labour intensive and can feel challenging to pull off; however, if you follow these three steps, you can start seeing those five lean construction benefits almost immediately:
Read more: Target Value Delivery in lean construction
1. Focus on collaboration and transparency
Getting the most out of the benefits of lean construction starts with ensuring everyone involved in a project knows their roles and responsibilities. That means addressing concerns about scheduling, planning, communication, etc., and ensuring that every worker and stakeholder is comfortable using the collaboration tools your organization employs.
Building transparency means engaging with your subcontractors about how they’ll benefit from lean construction practices too. Involve them in the planning process early on to ensure they understand the role they’ll play in the project and get them onboarded with the collaboration software that your team uses.
2. Overhaul your planning and scheduling practices
To get the most of lean construction benefits, use the pull planning method to optimize schedules and the Last Planner® system for coordinating tasks. Then, regularly assess the project’s progress and milestones to ensure everything (and everyone) stays on track.
Check-in with contractors, clients, and stakeholders regularly, take note of where you can make improvements, and create actionable plans to make them. Keep the lines of communication open and take the time to discuss lean construction best practices with everyone involved.
3. Develop the right lean construction principles for your organization
As the project goes on and teams start completing milestones, develop your own principles for operation. Review these standards with your team and set clear expectations. It’s also good practice at this time to quantify the lean construction benefits and results you achieved, making the case for continued investment into lean methodologies.
Learn how to develop and implement lean principles in your organization to get the lean construction benefits we discussed with our free ebook: A quick guide to Lean practices for construction professionals. Then, book your personalized demo of LetsBuild and see how we can help deliver true value to your clients on time and on budget.