Lean construction: More than common sense

Lean is far from the novel concept it was back in the ‘50s when Toyota first popularized it. Yet, here we are in 2017, and a new lean event, whitepaper, seminar, book, association, or video seems to pop up everyday.

Why is this?

It’s because the construction industry, as a whole, does not fully understand or respect the approach.

“How many times have you heard that lean is ‘just common sense?’” asks lean advisor Gregg Stocker. “Referring to lean as nothing more than common sense is often an excuse to ignore transformation and continue to do things in the same way.”

Seems a bit harsh, but he’s not wrong. When contractors categorize lean as “common sense”, it generalizes a strategy that is built on specific tools and principles that are designed to enhance value and uncover wasted resources — wasted time, wasted movement, and wasted human potential.

We’ve all heard the old adage “Measure twice, cut once.” It’s good common sense, reduces errors and improves efficiency. But, it’s not lean.

To fully embrace lean, an organization needs to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid. It requires very specific and intentional training from the top down.

The Lean Construction Institute – Canada (LCI-C) was established two years ago as a special committee of the Canadian Construction Association to address this need. One of the LCI-C’s objectives is to deliver training to the construction industry. In February the Canadian Lean Construction Certificate Program was announced.

The program will have three levels of certification, each with its own education and/or experience requirements:

  • Level One – Lean Project Delivery Fundamentals
  • Level Two – Lean Project Coordinator
  • Level Three – Lean Project Facilitator

LCI-C anticipates Level Two exams will be available to be written in late 2017. Level One exams will be available much sooner.

Lean projects are completed faster, on budget, and with fewer safety issues than most traditional projects. But, it’s not a matter of simply applying common sense. It is a detailed approach that is very different from what most contractors are used to.

“It’s basically thinking backwards from your outcome,” explains Art Winslow, director of lean and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) at Graham. “You establish what your outcome is, what your milestones need to be. Then you’re working to discover what needs to be done to meet each of the milestones. It’s 180 degrees from traditional planning.”

And, that right there is the biggest challenge. It requires change. In order for the construction industry to embrace lean thinking, it needs to stop saying lean is just “common sense” and get the necessary training to understand the concept fully.

Corinne Lynds Editor | April 19, 2017

Read the original article here: http://www.on-sitemag.com/features/more-than-common-sense/

July 25, 2017

WiC Nanaimo: A Race in the Park

Our Women in Construction Nanaimo team fought hard against 37 other teams in this year's Silly Boat Regatta on July 16th and walked away proudly claiming the title of "Super Silliest Boat"!
Read More
July 21, 2017

Replacing Hard Hats with Safety Helmets

For 40-plus years the design of construction hard hats hasn’t changed much—a brimmed shell attached to a suspended, adjustable headband. Our neighbours in the south are looking at new designs to improve safety on site. Should we too?
Read More
June 19, 2017

3D-printing bringing "impossible" designs to life

When Janjaap Ruijssenaars revealed his Landscape House design to the world, everyone went nuts. The Dutch architect’s proclamation that his visionary building would be 3D printed made international headlines, as did the shape it could take thanks to 3D-printing software.
Read More
June 08, 2017

CHEK News' Downtown 2020: Construction Edition

We worked with Richard and Don from CHEK to help paint a picture of the construction industry as their team tells a story of the changing cityscape in Downtown Victoria. Tune into CHEK at 5 PM tonight (June 8)!
Read More
May 30, 2017

Skyscrapers of the Future Could Be Made of Wood

Back in 1889, Chicago's 10-story Rand McNally Building became the world's first all-steel-framed skyscraper, ushering in an age in which metal, glass and concrete towers would dominate the skylines of major cities. Since then, those sturdy, versatile materials have allowed builders to create scores of spectacular structures.
Read More
May 28, 2017

CBTU resolve to work with indigenous communities

On May 17th, Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) resolved to provide career opportunities in the skilled construction trades for underrepresented segments of the population including First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Peoples.
Read More
May 22, 2017

Communities of practice for a stronger industry

More and more, you’re seeing and hearing this term thrown around the construction industry. Organizations like the Lean Construction Institute of Canada (LCI-C) are promoting and supporting communities of practice to improve the procurement process and ultimately strengthen the industry.
Read More
May 16, 2017

Digital transformation in the real estate industry

While digital transformation has disrupted almost every type of business, the real estate industry has been traditionally slow to move with the times – until now, according to participants at a recent 2nd Asia Pacific Leadership Symposium in Hong Kong organised by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Read More
May 15, 2017

Trust-based teams build better

Award-winning author and futurist Rex Miller says the way most construction projects are carried out now drives good people to do bad things.
Read More
May 15, 2017

VPD Steps Up Enforcement in Support of Roadside Worker Safety

The B.C. Cone Zone Campaign coincides with the increase in roadside work throughout the province in the warmer months of the year. In the City of Vancouver, major road construction and repair projects will be as much as 25 percent greater than the same period in 2016.
Read More