Lean Construction


While concerns about the inefficiency of the construction industry are not new, the devastating impacts of the long recession have made it clear that, even as the economy slowly recovers, business as usual can no longer be an acceptable approach in the construction industry. Lean construction offers an alternative that allows companies to thrive in any economic conditions.

This report builds upon past BIM (building information modeling) and other SmartMarket reports’ findings by demonstrating that taking a Lean approach, including the use of BIM and prefabrication, makes firms more competitive and yields strong business benefits. Among contractors using the Lean construction practices included in the study, most report a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Higher Quality Construction (84%)
  • Greater Customer Satisfaction (80%)
  • Greater Construction Productivity (77%)
  • Improved safety (77%)

Education about Lean construction and the need for and benefits of increasing project efficiency must be a major priority for the construction industry. Increasing industry knowledge about how Lean construction can improve project efficiency is vital, as many Lean construction practices rely upon a highly collaborative approach. However, the study also suggests that, despite advances, the technologies in place must be improved to fully support a collaborative approach. The in-depth interviews with highly collaborative contractors reveal the lack of a system that fully supports the ability to collaborate with internal or external project team members.

Information is also provided on the drivers and challenges to wider adoption of Lean in the industry. In addition, the report shows that collaboration is necessary to fully realize all the benefits of adopting Lean, and, through qualitative discussions with highly collaborative contractors, it examines the degree to which existing software and systems used by contractors does and does not help to support collaboration.