Taking the Lean Construction Approach With Your Projects



While having it’s roots in man­u­fac­tur­ing, Lean con­struc­tion (LC) is becoming an estab­lished practice in the building industry. It’s all about planning your project using the right mindset. When using this phi­los­o­phy, you are carefully analyzing each part of your project to determine where you can reduce costs, time and effort. 

At its core, LC is a simple concept – minimize the bad and maximize the good. LC is driven by three main prin­ci­ples that should guide your planning and decision making. 

  1. Create a pre­dictable project through careful planning and research.
  2. Increase the flow of com­mu­ni­ca­tion between you, your work partners and your customers.
  3. Reduce the overflow of waste.


Ready to maximize on every oppor­tu­ni­ty and gain the com­pet­i­tive edge you need to succeed in today’s industry? Following are some tips to help you get in the mindset of using lean con­struc­tion methods.

Consider Your Customers First

Under­stand­ing your customer’s point of view is one of the main under­ly­ing themes of the lean con­struc­tion phi­los­o­phy. Approach every project with the customer’s expec­ta­tions in mind. With LC, it’s more about the why” instead of what.”



Form a rela­tion­ship with your customers early in the process and under­stand why they want their project complete. It’s important to share their vision and under­stand the value it brings to them and how they expect it to impact others.

Under­stand­ing expec­ta­tions also help you com­mu­ni­cate with other stake­hold­ers, ensuring they are seeing the same vision as your customers and deliver the products and services that bring value to the project. 

Broaden the View of Your Project Using Value Stream Mapping

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can be used in any industry to improve the processes and pro­ce­dures involved in a project. This is where you create your own visual reference for the project by writing down and analyzing the steps involved to deliver the end product to the customer. It allows you to view the main points of your project in a larger way. 

VSM is different than typical process mapping because it’s about the broader picture, mapping all processes from supplier to customer instead of focusing on the specific details of one process. It also documents infor­ma­tion flow and com­mu­ni­ca­tion systems that are used to complete the process — hence the holistic view of the project. 



VSM includes the following ten steps. Click here for a more detailed expla­na­tion of each step.

  1. Under­stand Value: Figure out the value-adding activities.
  2. What Is Your Focus: Determine which value stream you are tracking.
  3. Walk the Process: Get phys­i­cal­ly close to the process for this step.
  4. Work Backwards: Start from the end customer and work back.
  5. Define the Basic Value Stream: The basic steps in each value system.
  6. Fill in Queue Times: The wait times between each process.
  7. Fill in Process Data: Enter all data that is relevant to the project.
  8. Add Faces: An indicator of the number of workers in a process. 
  9. Add the Value Per­cent­age (%VA): Find the per­cent­age of Value-Added activities.
  10. Interpret the VSM: What are you now seeing from your improved view of the project?

Know Where You Generate Waste

According to the Lean Con­struc­tion Institute, about 70% of the activ­i­ties performed in the con­struc­tion industry add either no value or more waste to a project. Waste can be found in many places, including areas you’d never suspect.



Here are seven common areas where waste can be iden­ti­fied when reviewing a project. These areas are derived from the Toyota Pro­duc­tion System but can apply to all indus­tries. (A good way to remember this list is by using the acronym TIMWOOD.)

  1. Trans­porta­tion: Examine how you are moving your people, equipment and materials from one process to the next. Is there a more efficient way to do this? 
  2. Inventory: Are you carrying more than you need to support the projects you currently have in progress? 
  3. Motion: This is in relation to people. Are you moving your teams in the best way to add value to your projects? 
  4. Waiting: Look at the time you’re spending in between steps. How can you cap­i­tal­ize on this extra time?
  5. Over Pro­cess­ing: It’s important to think of your process with the customer’s expec­ta­tions in mind. Are you doing more work than needed, adding too many steps or using the right equipment to produce the expected results? 
  6. Over Pro­duc­tion: Are you creating something before it’s truly needed? 
  7. Defects: Are you wasting time reworking or re-producing something because it was defective work? 

Here are the ways choosing Bautex Block for your exterior load bearing wall system elim­i­nates these seven wastes:

  1. Trans­porta­tion: Bautex Block is effi­cient­ly shipped. In fact, a truckload of block is almost 3,000 square feet of wall delivered directly to the job site. 
  2. Inventory: Deliv­er­ing on time, just in time is the com­mit­ment Bautex makes to its customers. There’s no need to order months in advance and have material sit on site being unused with the potential for damage or having to work around inventory.
  3. Motion: One system, one trade. It takes a single trade to build Bautex walls. There’s no need for layer upon layer of materials and trade working over the same section of the building to create an assembly. 
  4. Waiting: There is no waiting or coor­di­na­tion of trades between steps on building the projects exterior walls and envelope. A single system built by a single trade elim­i­nates waiting on site and waiting for trades.
  5. Over Pro­cess­ing: There are so many steps and so many layers in today’s wall assem­blies. Bautex sim­pli­fies the build into a single system. 
  6. Over Pro­duc­tion: Eliminate the need to build certain portions of a project because of material or labor avail­abil­i­ty. Simplify the schedule using Bautex Block. 
  7. Defects: Too many wall assem­blies are damaged or built incor­rect­ly by sub­se­quent trades working on the same wall. Bautex removes the defects by building a robust wall system from a single block using a single trade. 

If you’re looking for ways to stream­line your con­struc­tion process and eliminate waste on your job site, contact us today to see how Bautex’s Wall System can help you.