Transforming construction by adopting a Lean Thinking approach...
Welcome to CIRIA's Lean Construction page.
Lean thinking in construction encompasses the idea that customer value can be maximised, whilst waste is minimised. Simply speaking, Lean transformation means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.
News (August 2017) - New Lean Guide
LEAN CONSTRUCTION SEMINAR, 10 October 2018
As part of its continuing programme on Lean, CIRIA is organising a seminar on Lean construction, including the synergies between Lean and Health & Safety. This will include members of the author team and steering group responsible for producing CIRIA’s latest lean guide. Further programme details are available here.
Lean construction: Health and Safety synergies
The benefits of Lean in terms of continuous improvement, communication and empowerment are well recognised. However, Lean thinking is entirely consistent with the desire to execute a project safely, effectively and efficiently.
Over the past six months, CIRIA has managed a collaborative project with industry to help identify these synergies and illustrate approaches that can be used to support health and safety aims in a variety of situations from problem solving at a task level to overall programme management.
The project involved two workshops together with a number of written contributions the aim of the report is to:
(a) stimulate further interest and discussion of the potential for applying Lean techniques to health and safety challenges in the construction sector and
(b) encourage the capture and quantification of health and safety benefits arising from the application of Lean to construction
A document capturing these findings can be downloaded from www.ciria.org/lean
The guide is being issued with a view to stimulating the collection of further case studies that help illustrate and quantify the health and safety benefits of Lean.
For full details on the guide, please click here.
More Lean guidance planned
The above guide is one of a suite of guides planned by CIRIA on Lean
- Building Lean capacity through training etc.
- Lean and the design process
- Quantifying lean benefits (case studies)
- Health & Safety benefits of Lean
If you are interested in contributing to the development of these guides please email Owen Jenkins at CIRIA.
Details of existing guides are set out below:
CIRIA Lean Construction guides
Our guide “Build Lean” published in 2011 was, quite literally, a novel approach to describing how an organisation might trial, demonstrate and roll out lean activities. The narrative in the book describes how the lead character, Steve, uses Lean to transform his organisation into a successful customer-facing business.
The publications was followed in 2013 with a further suite of six guides addressing the following questions:
• Which are the principal Lean tools in a construction context?
• What can clients do to promote, enable and benefit from Lean? •
• How can the benefits of applying Lean be measured and demonstrated across an organisation?
• What is the best way to go about appointing and working with a Lean consultant to increase organisational capacity ?
These guides also recognised that, currently, the greatest successes in construction arise from the congruence of different initiatives and tools. So the following guides were also prepared.
• How are the Lean and BIM agendas linked?
• How are the Lean and sustainability agendas linked?
Click here for an overview of the guides and an introduction to Lean.
Download individual guides:
C729 Lean consultants
C728 Lean clients
C727 Lean tools
C727 Lean benefits
C726 Lean and sustainability
C725 Lean and BIM
C769 Health and Safety synergies of Lean
There have been over 2,500 downloads of our Lean Guides to date.
Authors of CIRIA’s Lean construction guides share the principles and practicalities of implementing lean in construction. Webinar presentations are accessible via the links below:
Enabling lean - Client's guide, Gerry Chick, BRE
Enabling lean - Appointing a consultant, Nigel Fraser, West One Management Consulting Ltd
Applying lean - Principal tools, Richard O'Connor, Transform Business Improvement Ltd
Applying lean - Benefits realisation management, Stuart Smith, Borton Group
Build Lean – CIRIA's guide to Lean construction
Transforming Construction using Lean thinking (2011)
This innovative Lean construction guide, written in the form of a novel introduces Steve, a senior leader in a construction business, as he receives news of another failed tender. He licks his wounds and goes on to compare two projects, one which out-performed the other, as a result of using a Lean Thinking approach. Follow Steve on his journey as he discovers how Lean can help his business.
Find out more about the Lean guidance and read chapter summaries, as well as a general overview.
Order your copies now (£28 for members and £55 for non-members). Bulk discounts are also available.
|"Our suppliers are showing genuine enthusiasm and commitment towards Lean and are producing excellent results. The new guide from CIRIA will help them to develop further on their Lean journey and make continuous improvement practice sustainable within their organisations. It's an interesting read that is specially targeted at construction and should hopefully raise some thought provoking questions!" Derek Drysdale, Director Lean Improvement Division, Highways Agency
Build Lean - training
In 2011 CIRIA launched Lean in construction training. The training, aimed at senior managers, aims to give delegates an insight into what Lean is and how it can be applied in construction and provide delegates with a sound understanding of Lean principles.
Find out more about training...
These short articles provide a concise introduction to a number of Lean topics.
- Leaning towards improvement – Owen Jenkins introduces CIRIA’s latest phase of Lean activity including CIRIA’s 2015 Lean survey. September 2015
- Implementing Lean in construction - new guidance, March 2013
- Owen Jenkins, CIRIA, discusses the outcome from a recent CIRIA Lean and BIM event held in London, July 2012
- Owen Jenkins and Gillian Wadams, CIRIA, discuss the outcome from a recent CIRIA Lean and BIM event, July 2012
- Nigel Fraser and Richard Kelly, BAA, describe an approach for measuring the effectiveness of introducing waste reduction in Lean construction, April 2011
- Ali Mafi, Lean Thinking, and David Krohn, CIRIA, recall the main learning points from the Construction Productivity Network (CPN) and Buildoffsite trip to the Jaguar manufacturing plant in Castle Bromwich, January 2011
- Paul Underwood, business improvement director, Morgan Est, explains how lean is applied across the business and how this has led to improved customer satisfaction, quality and reduced costs, February 2010
- This briefing recounts a summary of presentations given by members of those organisations currently considered to be leading the race to be lean, October 2009
- Susan Steensma, project manager, CIRIA, examines the resurgence of interest in lean construction and asks: in the current economic climate, does lean provide the answer to retaining quality and profit while reducing costs? June 2009
- Milan Radosavljevic from the University of Reading provides an overview of what makes a lean organisation, December 2008
Transforming the construction sector: what does Lean Thinking have to offer?
1 March 2012
CIRIA was delighted to host Daniel Jones, one of the world’s authorities on applying lean. In an inspiring lecture, Daniel illustrated what lean thinking has to offer construction and the importance, in particular if Lean leadership.
The evening also included presentations from
• Nick Pollard, Chair of the Cabinet Office Efficiency & Report Task Group
• Derek Drysdale, Divisional Director, Lean Improvement, Highways Agency
• Terry Stock, Head of Project Delivery Unit, Ministry of Justice
View the presentations...
Transforming construction using Lean thinking
9 May 2011
This event provided delegates with the opportunity to:
• gain insight as to how the change to a lean culture can be achieved within your organisation
• consider the drivers on industry from the perspectives of different parties concerning the lean process - including private and public-sector clients, designers and contractors
• find out more about CIRIA’s publication, explaining how it can help organisations develop their approach to lean construction
• find out about other guidance and activities on lean construction.
View the presentations...