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The advantages and disadvantages of Lean Construction

The advantages and disadvantages of Lean Construction

Originally, Lean Production was started by Japan, more specifically the car manufacturer, Toyota, after WWII. In 1997, the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), a US company, adopted the lean way of thinking for construction and as a result now define Lean Construction as “the application of lean thinking to the design & construction process creating improved project delivery to meet client needs and improved efficiency for constructors.”

The aim with Lean Construction is to implement efficiency and sustainability. Get things done quicker, more efficiently, and with a sustainable future. However, is this easier said than done?



Advantages:

Efficiency
By defining processes, developing management and implementing strategies such as the 5 S’s (Sort, Streamline, Shine, Standardise and Sustain), companies can therefore improve productivity.

Speed
With improved efficiency comes increased speed. The more efficient the project, the faster it is completed. And the quicker one project is completed, the quicker companies can move on to the next, which could mean more clients!

Less Wastage
This does not only refer to product wastage, but to time, energy, and money as well. Lean construction aims to decrease waste from all aspects of the project.

Safety
Thanks to better organisation and standardised strategies put in place via Lean Construction, many companies have seen a signification decrease in workplace injuries.

Disadvantages

Commitment
For Lean Construction to be successful, commitment and focus are need by all involved. Team unity and sometimes additionally training are required.

Other projects
Current/unfinished projects may take a hit whilst a company is trying to incorporate Lean Construction and is something that needs to be considered before taking on a new strategy.

Time
Adopting anything into a company can be tricky but more significantly, it can be time consuming. Instant results are not guaranteed as it takes time to implement new techniques. Results are more gradual.

Cut corners
Some argue against Lean Construction as they believe in order to build so quickly and efficiently, corners are being cut. For example, less than appropriate materials are being used and won’t last as long as traditional materials, meaning the project itself won’t hold the same longevity.

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