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Lean construction

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FCE572 - Njeri


The following are some of the characteristics of the construction industry that have necessitated lean construction: Up to 30% of construction costs are attributed to inefficiencies, mistakes, delays and poor communication In developing countries where a significant percentage of materials and equipment are imported mistakes have major cost impact particularly where time delays render projects susceptible to currency risks and inflationary factors
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Lean construction maximises value and reduces wastes i.e. construct facilities with little waste and as cost-effectively as possible while ensuring that the design will operate in a manner that promotes the sustainability of natural resources. Lean construction demands a break-away from the tradition of separating project design and production once construction starts it quickly becomes obvious that factors that have not been considered in the design phases are of major significance in the field necessitating that the concept of design for production should be implements. LC may require more time in the design and planning phases but this attention eliminates or minimises conflicts that dramatically 5/19/12 change FCE572 - Njeri 3

Supply chain management primarily focuses on logistical control of the interface with suppliers facilitating the provision of supplies precisely on time and in required quantities. NB a supply chain encompasses all the activities that lead to having the enduser provided with a product or service. Project costs increases up to 10% because of poor supply-chain design. Through supply chain management all parties are kept aware of commitments, schedules and expedited activities so that they source, produce and deliver products with minimal lead-time and expense. In addition each member of the supply chain is made aware 4 FCE572 - Njeri 5/19/12

Just-in-time techniques aimed at minimising wastes, continuous improvement of processes and systems and maintaining respect for workers i.e. only commit the resources needed to meet customer needs. This leads to reduced inventories, higher productivity, shorter lead times, fewer errors and higher morale e.g. Toyota reduced car production time form 15 days to 1 day. JIT requires extensive planning at the beginning of the project i.e. the design process includes facility design and design of the construction process, potential conflicts are identified during design and solutions are considered FCE572 Njeri 5/19/12 to avoid wasting resources -in the future. JIT 5

Open sharing of information between all parties the parties are sensitized on the consequences of their actions. Information systems should be upgraded to provide instantaneous information to all parties seamless communication regardless of differences in hardware and location.
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requires that government provide a leadership role in adoption of sustainable construction because the industry on its own is unlikely to maintain reforms that may require relatively higher initial construction cost even though it has long-term benefits. This may be done through awareness programs, incentives and enforcement. TQM may be used in the design process to improve design accuracy e.g. design that favour appropriate technologies. Moreover the parties should enhance their project management skills.

FCE572 - Njeri



production started in the 1950s in Japan Toyota Company where wastes in mass production were identified as follows; Overproduction Waiting time Transporting Processing Unnecessary stock at hand Using unnecessary motions Producing defective goods Failure to meet customer needs
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of a lean construction process; Value there is need to clarify the customers needs Value stream by mapping the value stream, identifying and eliminating waste, the construction process can be improved Flow of project information and activities Supply flow materials Pull the efforts of all the participants Perfection work instructions and procedures are developed and quality FCE572 5/19/12 controls are established - Njeri

Obstacles/inhibitors to adoption of lean construction Construction industrys tendency to

measure performance via completion on time, within budget with little attention to owner satisfaction as a measure of performance Hard bidding by contractors on subcontractors tends to compromise quality Poor communications contractor is unable to understand drawing and specifications Innovation is adopted slowly lack of expertise, financial resources, fear and FCE572 - Njeri 5/19/12 10 uncertainty especially in developing


resource development is not seen as a priority particularly in developing countries labour force has little formal education, learn mainly by experience thus it is difficult to embrace the principals of TQM and employee empowerment Lean construction does not happen by accident but requires educated workers that are able to contribute a wealth of ideas on how to reduce waste and improve processes. Additionally workforce training on lean construction is essential Owners do not specifically demand productivity and quality due to lack of awareness they accept industry pricing
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large firms and no SME have implemented the concept of quality and productivity manager but rather they depend on experienced staff to run projects although such staff rarely have training in optimisation techniques Little if any benchmarking construction professionals guard their trade secrets very closely due to distrust, fear of losing competitive advantage or simply by being anachronistic (outdated) Wastes and problems in the supply chain are often invisible as separate parties focus on their immediate responsibility and act in their own interest i.e. the are not alerted to FCE572 - Njeri the consequences of the actions to 5/19/12 the whole



of coordination between contractors and suppliers potential for cost saving of 10 17%. Savings could also be due to reduces tendency for both to include a buffer which usually results in large cumulative affects Excessive variation due to ordering of construction components with incomplete or missing information
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