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Carrying out a construction project requires previous planning that combines a work project with a work team within a specific time and space. However, these limits and specifics are not always met as there are variable factors that can affect the process and suppose a timing or economic imbalance in what has been planned. For this reason, collaborative planning seeks to eliminate or reduce all of the unnecessary expenses and processes that not only do not provide any added value to the project in question, but also make it more costly or postpone the delivery date for the client in the end.


Origins of Lean Construction

The origins of Lean Construction date back to the research of Lauri Koskela (1992), researcher and doctor of industrial management, whose analysis highlights the new professional philosophy where the principal objective focuses on the elimination of activities that do not generate any added value during the construction process. This is meant to generate the maximum possible amount of value at the least cost possible. Lean Construction is continuously attempting to optimize the construction process, focusing attention on productivity and the effectiveness of the work flow.


To carry out this work philosophy, following along with the objective of reducing every possible unnecessary expense, the production process uses the “Last Planner System”  methodology. This method includes the definition of the production units and controls the status of activities, detecting where problems are originating and adjusting the planned actions throughout the process, as well as maximising the value of what is delivered to the client in the end while at the same time reducing unnecessary spending.


Advantages of Collaborative Planning


In order for the Lean Construction method to be able to reduce unnecessary time, work and material, it is fundamental to have the collaboration of every member involved in the construction project. In that sense, the Lean Construction system has different tools available to fully achieve its potential. Among the different tools, the Last Planner System can be highlighted, which, as previously mentioned deals with the technical organisation that reduces the variable factors of the construction process, diminishing the duration and cost of the project in question.


The following is a list of benefits of collaborative planning using the Last Planner System methodology:


  • Reduction of costs due to a correct administration of the previously planned budget.
  • Decrease in the window for delivery time due to improved productivity and safety measure.
  • Better final product delivery due to the elimination of unnecessary expenses.
  • Reinforced collaboration of all parties involved in the construction process.
  • Improved management of uncertainty after optimally providing continuous work flow.
  • Generate a work environment where each member is continuously learning.
  • Achieve more general client satisfaction internally and externally.
  • Facilitate understand of the subcontractor work and the dependence of that work on everything else.
  • Reduce the amount of issues following the project conclusion due to better organisation and risk management facing variability.


Comparison with the traditional model


Drawing from the basis that the construction industry is currently facing productivity challenges, ever evolving technology and the demand for value, it is necessary to emphasize that the traditional construction model tends to centre on the management of individual contracts and not on the overall management of production and the achievement of optimal project productivity. For this reason, the members in charge of the construction work in question frequently assume unrealistic expectations of the production process, that not only do not benefit the efforts to achieve objectives, but also, on occasion, they fail in management completely.


In the same way, it is common for those in charge of planning the entire process to wrongly believe that the production of the process is the result of adding up the tasks carried out by the individuals that are involved in the project. When this happens, the project is planned and negotiated very individually which does not benefit the end result as a whole.



However, if the construction project was understood and analysed as a flow of value that is in constant movement that involves the different corresponding interactions, as well as identifying the needs and restrictions of the executives, this could possibly reduce long period of insecurity and unnecessary spending on materials using the methodology of the Last Planner System.

If you would like more information about this or other subjects, contact us at detea@detea.com or read related articles on our website.

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