While providing commercial and industrial demolition services, we are always seeking to improve our own performance while pushing overall innovation in the demolition field. We network with contactors, trade specialists, and other industrial demolition companies to stay informed. We also keep track of construction research developments. As in any other field, ideas can have a big impact in contracting work. Lean construction is a landmark concept that construction and demolition contractors should know.
What is lean construction?
Lean construction is a building approach that increases efficiency. It was developed in the ‘90s, after project plan failure researchers discovered that on the average job site only about half of the planned projects were completed by the end of the plan week. Traditional Construction Management approaches—work breakdown structure, critical path method, and earned value management—often lead to missed deadlines and bloated budgets. The Lean Construction movement sought to revise traditional Construction Management by conducting ongoing, continual research and development in design and construction. Lean Construction applies lean manufacturing principles to the entire construction process. It is a method of construction that minimizes waste while maximizing value.
Fundamental principles of lean construction:
- Manage Variability throughout the project by understanding all steps in the construction process, and by managing the value streams of those steps.
• Transformation, Flow, and Value. These are the three main variables to focus on according to lean construction. Transformation is turning building materials (inputs) into construction elements (outputs). Flow is the movement of work, from work crew to work crew or toward the customer. Smooth flow increases productivity and reduces waste. Value is the customer’s actual cost to produce and install the project. Lean Management defines value from the customer’s point of view.
- Prefabricate and Modularize. Prebuilt building systems increase flow.
- Careful Scheduling. Lean construction includes the use of a Master Schedule that lists key milestones. Stakeholders collaboratively create plans for each project phase.
• 3D and 4D Modeling Tools help lean contractors discover conflicts in building plans and model process flows.
• Seek Continual Improvement through performance analysis. In this way, lean construction is similar to the Japanese concept of Kaizen, which advises continual improvement. Indeed, early Lean Construction researchers were informed by the Toyota Production System developed in Japan in the 1950s and ‘60s.
By following these core concepts, lean construction can keep workers continually installing product while decreasing inventory and tools and minimizing costs.
Lean Demolition. As leaders in green demolition, we’re constantly seeking ways to reduce waste while maximizing client value through demolition asset recovery. This process is similar to lean construction, in that we define value from the client’s perspective. Likewise, minimizing waste is key in green demolition and asset recovery. We recycle and salvage as much as possible from each demolition project. Green demolition methods, such as crushing concrete on site, salvaging scrap metal, and reselling building fixtures, benefit both the client (through salvaging income) and the earth (through minimized landfills). Elder Demolition shines in green demolition and asset recovery. Contact us today to learn how we may be able to entirely offset your demolition costs through asset recovery and green demolition.
[Photo by USACE Europe District via CC License]