What is Lean Design & Construction

Lean Design and Construction is a production management-based approach to project delivery -- a new way to design and build capital facilities. Lean production management has caused a revolution in manufacturing design, supply and assembly. Applied to project design and delivery, Lean changes the way work is done throughout the delivery process. Lean Construction extends from the objectives of a lean production system - maximize value and minimize waste - to specific techniques, and applies them in a new project delivery process. As a result:

  • The facility and its delivery process are designed together to better reveal and support customer purposes.
  • Work is structured throughout the process to maximize value and to reduce waste-at the project delivery level.
  • Efforts to manage and improve performance are aimed at improving total project performance, because this is more important than reducing the cost or increasing the speed of any particular activity.
  • "Control" is redefined from "monitoring results" to "making things happen." The performance of the planning and control systems are measured and improved.

The reliable release of work between specialists in design, supply and assembly assures value is delivered to the customer and waste is reduced. Lean Design and Construction is particularly useful on complex, uncertain and quick projects. It challenges the belief that there must always be trade-offs between time, cost, and quality.

Typical Images of the Output of Lean Project
Planning Sessions: Alcon Corp. R&D Labs Project

The Alcon Corp Research and Development Laboratories is a project performed by LCI member company Austin Commercial. The purpose of the $11M project was to provide support office space, additional research labs, and a machine shop for future expansion.

The project consisted of extensive demolition of existing interior office spaces while saving light fixtures, doors, and door frames to be reused in the build-out of two buildings totaling 127,000 sq. feet. The project took place over a six-month schedule. Lean/pull planning was used to provide regular updates and planning for construction progress. Below are pictured typical pull planning results pasted on a wall; these reflect the evolution of project activity from two different weekly planning sessions.