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.