According to an article in the July-August 2010 issue of Design-Build Dateline, even though construction firms tend to adopt new ideas and methods a bit slowly, Lean construction is here to stay and represents the future of the industry. The article begins:
“The Lean approach to construction contracting may soon become an industry standard. In our opinion, it is the answer for operational excellence. Just as it is only a matter of time before the majority of companies adopt virtual construction, most contractors will adopt lean construction. Some contractors do it now, although they may not call it lean; they practice all the methods and attributes of a lean enterprise, having learned the most efficient ways of working.”
It may still be too early to understand how much of a role Lean Construction will play in the future of the construction process. Historically, however, one of the best gauges for success of any initiative in our industry begins with the involvement of the owner. To that end, the fall 2009 issue of The Voice, a publication of the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT), included an article on pages 35-37 entitled Starting the Journey Towards LEAN Project Delivery. The article focused on how owners might choose to use LEAN Project Delivery “in reshaping the way you manage your AEC projects and increase your competitive edge in the new economy”. In the Fall of 2010, CURT along with the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) will be holding a summit, Getting In The Game, to discuss how and why owners use Lean Construction.
Has the game begun?
Whether it has or not, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) made the decision not to wait. During 2010, AGC has been actively participating in efforts to prepare its members on the practice of building Lean. In early 2010, the AGC launched the Lean Construction Forum, which includes in-person meetings and a website (www.agcleanforum.org). Additionally, the Forum has sponsored three in-person Lean Construction programs this year. Participation in the forum is open to any industry stakeholder interested in the Lean process.
In 2009, AGC engaged a management consultant to conduct comprehensive research and develop a curriculum for a Lean course of study and certification. In 2010, that same team has been asked to further develop a business plan articulating all aspects of the launch of a Lean program for the industry. Timelines have been set for when different parts of the curriculum should be made available, but much of that depends on how quickly others join the game.
What are you doing to learn more about Lean building and all of its parts?