Lean Management in the Construction Field

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Lean Management in the Construction Field

Everywhere you look, there are new construction projects being started and built. Construction is one of the top industries in the world, and with that, the construction industry is one of the largest contributors of waste and pollution. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2004), “the U.S. building industry accounts for 39% of total energy use, 12% of total water consumption, 68% of total electricity consumption, and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions.” (Nahmens & Ikuma 2012, p 155) To counteract large waste and pollution statistics, the construction industry is now slowly implementing a new construction concept of lean and green construction. Green construction and lean construction coincide with one another in terms of sustainability, and cost reduction. Through running projects with lean and green in mind, waste can be drastically reduced at both the project, and the management level of construction and have positive effects on both the economic and environmental dimensions. Waste at a project level can come in many different forms from wasted materials to wasted time. Waste is so rampant on a construction project that most people have a hard time noticing construction project waste. A scrap of extra material that was cut down to size and can’t be used for another part of the project is an example of material waste at the project waste. Usually on large projects, there are multiple companies working on single project, each with a specific task that the company must accomplish. Delays and space conflicts can take place between the different companies if the project isn’t planned out properly leading to wasted time and wasted money. Also, if the subcontracted companies only focus on their own specific tasks and don’t effectively communicate and work with other subcontractors, work conflict can occur. Often on a large construction project, it is nearly



References: Lam, P. T., Chan, E. H., Chau, C. K., Poon, C. S., & Chun, K. P. (2009). Integrating Green Specifications in Construction and Overcoming Barriers in Their Use. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education & Practice, Vol. 135(Issue 4), p142-152. Nahmens, I., & Ikuma, L. H. (2012). Effects of Lean Construction on Sustainability of Modular Homebuilding. Journal of Architectural Engineering, Vol. 18(Issue 2), p155-163. Song, L., & Daan, L. (2011). Lean construction implementation and its implication on sustainability: a contractor 's case study. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol. 38(Issue 3), p350-359.

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