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The Impact of Lean Construction on the Job Site

Betsy Ennis

Lean Construction, what’s the big deal? Efficiency, collaboration, sustainability; these are just some of the benefits to implementing the Lean Principles onto the jobsites.

The official Lean Construction Institute (LCI) that spearheads and regulates the methods was founded in 1977 to develop processes and communications regarding the management in construction projects. Through early testing it was discovered that traditional project planning schedules were only being hit 54% of the time by project teams. How does the LCI principle affect projects in 2024? How can you get Lean on your next Project? Let’s Dive in!

 

Lean Construction’s core value is “respect for people”. At the heart of every project, meeting, and conversations lies a deep respect for all project partners collaborating toward a common goal. Built around this principle are the other pillars that Lean Construction stands on: Continuous Improvement, Removal of Waste (Sustainability), Focus of Process, and Flow & Value. The idea is that we use these rules to increase productivity, profits, and innovation in the industry.

 

These processes differ from the traditional method of planning and executing projects. The primary difference is collaboration by involving all partners from the project’s inception. This includes schedule and preconstruction efforts; all aspects at the front end of a construction project are approached collaboratively being led by general contractor. Primarily used in the Healthcare Construction sector, facilities across the nation are spearheading projects with a Lean approach to achieve their goals quicker, with greater efficiency, and in a more sustainable manner.

 

JP Cullen has a team of Lean Experts serving the Wisconsin Community of Practice. Devin White, a project manager at JP Cullen and LCI certified, delivered a presentation at last year’s Lean Institute Annual Congress Meeting.

Adam Mastalir, a member of our preconstruction and estimating division, is currently spearheading our preconstruction efforts on one of the largest healthcare projects in Wisconsin. Lean Principles are guiding the planning process and integrating all the project partners in regular Big Room and Pull Planning sessions.

 

An example of Lean Construction methods coming to life is exemplified by the ongoing Pull Planning sessions led by Adam. These sessions assemble owners, end-users, architects, MEPs, subcontractors, and project team members for integrated planning. Cleaning out an entire meeting room transformed into a blank canvas, where a comprehensive schedule is created in a 3-D manner. The setting eliminates the need for a flurry of emails or phone calls in order to make a decision. Every individual needed to validate schedule, procurement, and savings are present in that very room, facilitating swift and effective collaboration.

 

In a recent Big Room collaboration, yet another example of success unfolded. The renovation and expansion of a community’s emergency department is currently underway. During this Lean Principle guided meeting, it was uncovered that the budget needed to be adjusted resulting in nearly $200K in savings to the owner in a matter of 90 seconds. Crucial stakeholders were already present in the room which eliminated the need for days or even weeks of coordination to find a solution among the entire group.

 

These instances of integrating Lean principles into our projects reflect the direct impact envisioned by the founders over 45 years ago: fostering rapid and effective collaboration while respecting everyone involved. The outcome? Groundbreaking healthcare facilities are being built across Wisconsin, constructed with greater efficiency, enhanced safety measures and sustainability at the forefront.

We actively participate in Lean Construction educational events and networking opportunities throughout the state. To discover more about Lean practices or explore how these principles can enhance your upcoming project, reach out to Adam Mastalir, at adam.mastalir@jpcullen.com.

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