What is Agile Construction Management?

Written by LetsBuild

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Lean ebook cover

It is about 6 weeks ago that I Blogged on the subject of Lean Construction. Well, Agile Construction is what takes that up to the next level. When we were being Lean we were being Mean with time and materials. Now we are going to be Agile and make the best possible use of what we have allocated by being Lean!

Agile Construction has 7 “Principles” – that just means things that need looking at to the likes of you and I. They are:-

  1. Labour productivity and measurement.
  2. Job scheduling and planning.
  3. Procurement management.
  4. Prefabrication – (off-site manufacture where possible to cut down time on site.)
  5. Reduction of labour costs – (means asking subbies to tender, not ripping off the lads!)
  6. Estimation accuracy pre-start.
  7. Project financial management.

There might be an 8th. which would be

  1. Getting the Client involved and responding quickly to change requests.

So, to get to this stage we have to implement the five elements of the “Last Planner” and these will then carry us on to the end of the project. These elements are (rephrased into sensible language) :-

  1. The Master Programme – (sets milestones, strategy and identifies long-lead items)
  2. “Pull” Planning (which just specifies hand-overs and operational conflicts.)
  3. “Make Work Ready Planning” – (just means checking the order Tasks have to be done in.)
  4. “Weekly Work Planning”- (Oh dear! What do we have to do this week?)
  5. “Learning” – Mark up on the Programme to see where you’ve got to and reschedule if necessary.

Hopefully you now understand not only “Lean”, but also “Agile” Construction! Both are intended as aids to completing construction projects on time, to budget and to standard. I have made an effort to tone down the Academic-speak associated with both of them, but what I’ll do now is translate both “Lean” and “Agile” into the kind of language we would more normally use in construction. So, in short and simple terms:-

Come up with a good Detailed Programme to Completion (DPC), compiled after chatting to all parties. Wander around the site at least once a week and update the DPC. If anything is slipping then get it accelerated!

Nothing new there, is there? Those academics do waffle on! We construction managers just do it as routine! I just wish I was young enough to still be physically lean and agile!