How Lean Construction Practices Are Decreasing Schedules for Contractors

By Akio

McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute, and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction. Below is an excerpt from that report on the the impact Lean practices are having on contractors in regards to scheduling.

Construction Manager


The Impact on Contractors of Schedule Decreases Due to the Adoption of Lean Practices

Reduced project schedule is one of the top benefits of adopting Lean practices, and saving time in the construction industry also cuts costs on projects and can increase profitability.

However, the savings only accrue to the contractor if the owner has not already factored the reduced amount of time into their expectations of the contractor, especially in the case of a negotiated project, or if the contractor has not deemed it necessary to build those cost savings into their bid in order to win a project in a highly competitive market.

The study results suggest, though, that these options are not mutually exclusive. About two thirds of contractors report that the schedule savings they experience due to their Lean practices do have a positive impact on the profit they experience in their projects, and just about the same percentage of contractors report that they are able to bid projects more competitively due to the schedule savings.

Tweet: About 2/3 of contractors report that adoption of #LeanCon allowed them to bid more competitively @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/LFmlD+

Tweet: “About 2/3 of contractors report that adoption
of #LeanCon allowed them to bid more competitively”

Clearly, there must be significant overlap of firms who both have schedule reductions feeding their bottom line and schedule reductions absorbed in their efforts to be more competitive.

However, the findings also reveal that the industry is nearly unanimous about the growing expectations of owners that projects can be done in shorter time frames due to the adoption of Lean practices in the industry.

Tweet: The industry expects that projects can be done in shorter time frames due to the adoption of #LeanCon @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/R69b4+Tweet: “The industry expects that projects can be
done in shorter time frames due to the adoption of #LeanCon”

This aligns with the previous finding that increasing their firms’ competitiveness rather than direct profits is the larger benefit from Lean.

The in-depth interviews with Lean experts shed further light on this finding. Experts report that, even just five years ago, most owners were not familiar with Lean, but they see a broad change occurring.

Some believe that owner mandates will be the most critical driver of Lean construction in the industry in the future, a shift from what they currently see occurring, other than in one or two sectors like healthcare with engaged owners that have led the industry on Lean adoption.

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Facade Design and Fabrication: The Expensive Disconnection

By Patrick

Facade design

Most BIM (Building Information Modeling) technologies today disconnect the production of permit drawings from the processes for fabrication and installation. When owners include subcontractors in preconstruction services (as they often do with general contractors) they have the ability to coordinate these activities and reduce errors.

What is needed then is a data backbone to connect the building design to the fabrication detailing and installation sequences. It is common practice to have architects design a facade, independently from the manufacturer who fabricates the facade, and also independently from the general contractor and subcontractors who install the facade system.

Construction projects have included waste levels of more than 25%, and a major portion of that waste is related to the building envelope and facade. Waste consists of redundant document production, unused stored materials, idling workers, rework of installations, and other factors.

Tweet: A major portion of construction project waste is related to the building envelope and façade #LeanCon @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/3_aQU+

Tweet: “A major portion of construction project waste
is related to the building envelope and façade”

Owners and general contractors need to understand how much waste is connected to facade design engineering and planning processes.

New Contract Structure

The Design-Bid-Build relationship is the traditional contract model. Unfortunately, it makes it difficult for owners to drive project efficiency because of a lack of transparency in business processes and cost management systems.

In these circumstances, no one can take ownership of cost management over the entire life of a construction project. The Design-Build-Operate relationship is one answer to this issue.

In this form of agreement owners have the ability to coordinate the work of general contractors, subcontractors, building product manufacturers, operation and maintenance companies, and other stakeholders, in order to find a better way to deliver projects.

This approach makes building construction more like large scale product manufacturing, which historically has had much less waste.

Tweet: #LeanCon makes building construction more like large scale product manufacturing @Dassault http://ctt.ec/eu94e+

Tweet: “#LeanCon makes building construction
more like large scale product manufacturing”

Information Exchange Problems

When facade design engineers make fabrication documents, information exchange is a critical issue. If a building has a complex facade shape, it is important to seamlessly generate accurate 3D geometry and to produce specific 2D drawings for CNC cutting machines.

Current BIM software has limited capability to produce 3D geometry appropriate to fabrication. Therefore it makes sense for architects to access libraries of parts used by a manufacturer rather than creating similar information from scratch.

It is hard for facade design engineers to adapt to frequent design changes and reproduce facade production documents on the fly, unless they are directly connected to the architect’s model.

Installation Planning

Installation is, of course, an important perspective from which to improve productivity. If the unique types and shapes of facade panels grow in number and variety, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage onsite installation.

If delivery sequence and installation processes of panels are not managed well onsite, it is hard to understand which panels should be installed in which positions. This could result in a large waste of time and resources.

To compound this problem neither manufacturers nor architects include cranes, scaffolds, and other installation equipment in the documents. This third data source must also be included to optimize the delivery process.

In summary, we need new contracts, new processes, and new tools to address the massive amount of waste in building construction. The separate processes of design, fabrication detailing, and installation planning need to be combined into a single environment to properly understand costs and risks in building projects. A promising solution for such an environment is on the cloud.

Tweet: Façade Design and Fabrication: The Expensive Disconnection #LeanCon @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/wrjsU+

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11 Benefits That Sway Non-Practitioners to Adopt Lean Construction Practices

By Akio
McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute, and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction. Below is an excerpt from that report on the benefits that will influence non-practitioners to adopt Lean practices.

Construction workers

Potential Benefits With a High Influence on Non-Practitioners for the Adoption of Lean Practices

Over half of the firms that are familiar with Lean but are not using any Lean practices find that nine different benefits from achieving Lean would be highly influential on their decision to use a Lean approach.

While some factors do appear to influence a wider range of companies, this finding does suggest that emphasizing the range of benefits to be achieved by implementing Lean will be an effective way to engage a broad swath of the industry.

Tweet: Emphasizing the range of implementing #LeanCon is an effective way to engage non-practitioners @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/aBoyr+ Tweet: “Emphasize the range of #LeanCon
benefits to engage non-practitioners”

Firms appear to be influenced most by factors that impact their bottom line and their competitiveness, but factors that help them improve the way work is done at their company—from improving safety to the ability of supervisory staff to focus on managing employees—are also important.

The potential benefits with the greatest degree of influence on these firms are similar to the benefits expected by practitioners when they first implemented Lean.

Greater productivity and profitability are considered the most influential drivers. The study results clearly demonstrate that most contractors who have implemented any Lean practices are experiencing these benefits, but firms considering Lean need to make sure the level of achievement they expect coincides with what others in the industry have achieved.

Other critical benefits to encourage wider Lean adoption among those familiar with Lean are greater customer satisfaction and higher quality construction.

These directly impact a firm’s reputation and their ability to be competitive, and they are among the highest of the benefits reported. To encourage wider Lean adoption, capturing these benefits in clear, quantifiable terms and widely publicizing them is likely to have a broad impact in the industry.

Variation by Type of Firm

While the number of specialty trade contractors who are familiar with Lean but not implementing any Lean practices is too small to draw definitive conclusions, there is a clear trend for three factors to have a higher influence on trade contractors than on general contractors: greater productivity, improved safety and greater customer satisfaction.

Tweet: Which 3 factors are more likely to convince trade contractors to adopt #LeanCon practices? @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/94NyW+Tweet: “3 factors tend to sway #AEC trade contractors to
#LeanCon: productivity, safety, customer satisfaction”

Trade firms have a greater focus on individual workers in general, as is revealed in the in-depth interviews with Lean experts, which is why improved productivity and safety are particularly critical to them.

In addition, even more than general contractors, trade contractors frequently rely on their reputation and shared experience with general contractors to be selected for work. Building satisfaction among the general contractors is a strong way for them to become more competitive.

Tweet: The Benefits That Will Influence Non-Practitioners to Adopt #LeanCon Practices @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/bM6nY+Click to Tweet this article

 


Download the full Lean Construction SmartMarket Report, with our compliments.

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Related Resources

Dassault Systéms’ Lean Construction 3DEXPERIENCE® Solution

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