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Lean History

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Submitted By apadden
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There are currently many published problems related to the construction industry mainly due to the uniqueness of its production. Problems such as low productivity, poor safety, lack of quality and inferior working conditions are frequent (Pheng and Fang, 2005). Lean Construction seems to be accepted by the Egan Report (Egan, 1998) as one of the essential components for the future of the construction industry.

Problems with the implementation of Lean Construction
The transition of lean from manufacturing to construction is not a straight-forward though, as Jorgensen and Emmitt (2008) have revealed;

• In lean manufacturing, the typical focus is on highly standardised, repetitive, production processes, which are not always relevant to the construction sector, with the exception of some repetitive building types • Current lean organisations in Japan can leave their employees working in hard and stressful conditions and are left with inferior rights to those of workers in western industrialised countries • The implementation of JIT, which requires small but frequent deliveries lead to increased pollution

Pheng and Fang (2005) also observed difficult features with the implementation:

• The large size of the building • The immobility of the constructed product • The high degree of complexity in the number and range of component parts and linkages • The expensive cost of production to produce quality and durable goods


Pheng, L. S., Fang. T.H., (2005). Modern-day lean construction principles: Some questions on their origin and similarities with Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Journal of Management Decision, Vol. 43, Issue 4, pp523-541

Jørgensen. B., Emmitt. S., (2008). Lost in Transition: the transfer of lean manufacturing to construction. Journal of Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 15, Issue 4,...

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