Lean construction, as a concept, set of principles, and practice, is slowly becoming more widely utilized in the construction industry. Lean construction is becoming recognized as being an easy fit when it comes to the construction of a metal or prefabricated commercial or industrial building.
There are a number of reasons why the linkage between lean construction and building a metal commercial or industrial structure is an easier occurrence when contrasted with other types of construction modalities. In order to appreciate this reality, as person needs a basic understanding of the underpinnings of lean construction.
Understanding the Concept of Lean Construction
Lean construction, as a concept and practice, is of fairly recent origin. Lean construction is derived initially from manufacturing practices first refined in Japan. The Japanese term of art for these manufacturing practices in English is lean manufacturing. The theories underpinning lean construction were initially fully fleshed out by the International Group for Lean Construction in its first meeting in 1993. These concepts, principles, and practices were put into practice in the construction industry, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, since the dawn of the 21st century.
Lean construction is considered to be an amalgamation of operational research together with practical development in the design and construction of a commercial or industrial building. Lean construction principles and practices can be incorporated in residential construction projects as well.
Lean construction differs from its manufacturing predecessor in one key way. Unlike in manufacturing, construction by definition is a project-based process. Thus, an enterprise like a contractor that elects to follow lean construction practices must recognize that the process developed for a current project will not ideally fit a future one. An ideal fit is fundamental to the entirety of the lean construction process.
According to the researchers who transitioned lean concepts from manufacturing to construction, lean construction is focused on the alignment and what is called the holistic pursuit of concurrent as well as continuous improvements on all elements of the built and natural environments. This requires a consistent, continuous, and complete focus on the various elements of construction, including design, construction itself, activation, maintenance, salvaging, and recycling.
Lean construction necessitates the coordinated involvement in all stakeholders associated with a construction project from its inception through its completion. These stakeholders include, but are not limited to, owners, architects, designers, engineering, constructors, suppliers, and end users of a building.
The Marriage of Metal Buildings and Lean Construction
Metal buildings are uniquely compatible with the lean construction process. The fact that an element of the construction of a metal building is a true manufacturing process provides an easy marriage between the construction of this type of structure utilizing lean construction concepts, principles, and practices.
One of the reasons why lean construction weds well with the building of a metal structure arises from the inherently easier construction process itself. By design, metal buildings are crafted for easy construction.
By bringing together lean construction practices with putting up a metal building, the simplicity of the process if further enhanced. As a result, the timeframe for putting up a metal building can be minimized a bit more than would be the case when more traditional metal building construction projects are utilized.
In addition, by at least somewhat accelerating the already reasonably well-paced construction process, the costs associated with putting up this type of structure decreases further. This cost reduction occurs because of two reasons. First, because of a decrease in man hours spend on the construction aspect itself, a cost savings is realized. Second, because the structure is put into use sooner, the building is financially productive at an earlier point in time.
In as much as metal buildings can be customized from the outset and during what might best be called the manufacturing phase, stakeholders naturally are pulled together from the outset. This initial assemblage of stakeholders is a more natural occurrence in the realm of the design and construction of a steel building than is seen in the construction of other types of structures.
Finally, lean construction has a broader focus on the impact of a construction project on the environment. This underscores another way in which lean construction and the building of a metal structure wed well. More often than not, a metal structure is comprised primarily, or significantly, of steel. Steel is the most widely recycled metal in used today. In point of fact, any project involving the use of steel by definition contains recycled metal. As a result, the construction of a steel building has a more environmentally sound impact than is the case of other types of structures.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.