Lean BIM: Six reasons why construction needs to embrace BIM alongside Lean Thinking

Combining Lean Construction thinking (in the shape of Last Planner approaches) and BIM (Building Information Management) on construction projects can enable big reductions on time, cost, waste and stress, and in doing so improve profits, capability, staff wellbeing and reputation.

Improving construction: we need to swap out the inefficient square wheels of yesterday for todays round wheel thinking.
Improving construction: we need to swap out the inefficient square wheels of yesterday for todays round wheel thinking.

My recent ‘Lean BIM’ lecture at Leeds Beckett, explored and discussed with case studies, how achieving the 30% construction strategy cost saving target is within reach.

Lean thinking and last planner approaches should be seen as collaborative working preparation for BIM. Both share similar aims – ‘producing  the right product at the right time in the right quantity for the customer and to produce exactly what you need and nothing more’.

Here are 6 of the many compelling reasons for adopting ‘Lean BIM’ …

  1. BIM in conjunction with lean construction (ie Last Planner approaches) can get construction activity closer to the Honda expression of “everything we do … goes into everything we do” (Currently only 40-60% of what we do in construction goes into what we do, ie what we get paid for or hand over to our customers).
  2. BIM, like lean construction thinking forces us to focus on the end game first, understanding client value and pulling that value through design and construction.
  3. BIM, like Last Planner will reduce firefighting and stress on project management team.
  4. BIM will drive lean and predictable programming and material sequencing.
  5. BIM will streamline the supply value stream for materials, enabling just in time supply, adding value and reducing unnecessary costs.
  6. BIM will greatly assist in improving information flow and communications, between project partners and supply chain. Techniques such as the TQM / Toyota ‘5 whys‘ repeatedly shows communication as the root cause of many if not all costly problem

However,  embracing  both BIM and Lean has a number of essential pre-requisites, for example

  1. BIM and Lean construction both need construction leadership at organisation and at project level.
  2. Contractor core processes (eg design and construction) need to be shaped around Lean Thinking and BIM requirements.
  3. BIM Is a people collaboration mindset. Even on BIM projects, approaches such as last planner are essential to ensure people (the last planner) involvement in project short-term planning and improvement, and
  4. Early contractor and supply chain involvement with strong collaborative culture must be in place.

“The construction aspects of projects is the easy bit – “a doddle”  … The harder, more complex bit is the collaborative working ‘glue’ that surrounds the design, build and operation of the facility, whether BIM is used or not” John Lorimer (In PPP Publication)

Innovation Voucher Provision

mb-m-and-c-1-blueThe Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is making Innovation Vouchers available worth up to £5000 for construction and built environment companies. Applications are due to open on the 10th of December and close on the 23rd of January 2013.

Fairsnape in association with IBE-Partnership is delighted to assist you  in preparing and submitting your application for Innovation Vouchers in the following topics that we offer as your innovation provider to improve your construction performance.

  1. Social Media – Awareness, Getting Started, Developing, Strategy and Policies, Measuring,
  2. CSR – Awareness, Developing Strategies, Integrating and aligning systems, Measuring.
  3. Sustainability (1) – Awareness, Strategy, Policies, Aligning / writing systems, Measuring
  4. Sustainability(2) – (Beyond Waste) – Awareness, circular economy, cradle to cradle thinking, healthy products innovation, measurement,
  5. Construction Carbon – Awareness, Strategies, Measuring and Improving, Application of wold class tools
  6. Benchmarking – (Beyond KPI’s) – Awareness, Strategy, Benchmarking Project, Measuring, Application of world class tools
  7. Business Strategy – (EFQM) Awareness, Improving overall and holistic strategy, facilitation, measurement
  8. Collaborative Planning / Last Planner – Awareness, Strategies, Training, Guidance, Facilitation, Application of world class tools
  9. Lean Construction Techniques – Awareness, Strategies, Training, Guidance, Facilitation, Application of world class tools
  10. Collaborative Working – Awareness, Strategy, Principles, Training, Facilitation, Preparation for BIM
  11. BIM – Awareness, Strategy, Policies, Preparation Plan, Facilitation,
  12. Customer Management– Awareness, Strategies, Training, Guidance, Facilitation, Application of world class tools
  13.  ISO14001 – Awareness, Strategy + Policies, Improving/Writing EM system + process, training, readiness for assessment
  14. ISO90001 – Awareness, Strategy + Policies, Improving/Writing QM, training, readiness for assessment system + process
  15. PAS 2030 – Awareness, Strategy + Policies, Improving/Writing Green Deal system + process, training, readiness for assessment
  16. Bidding – Awareness, Strategy, Process/Approach, Support,

mb-m-and-c-1-blueThis is a great opportunity for you to innovate and improve your effectiveness and efficiency, improve attractiveness to clients  and of course improve the bottom line at no cost to you. If you are interested in progressing further please call or get in touch to discuss.

00 44 7776 234702

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Twitter Building Down Barriers

A few tweets caught my eye on Friday between two SELCA (SE Lancs Construction Association) members, nothing really remarkable in content, but what was interesting was the exchange was between  joinery and bricklaying contractors, @rlmbrickwork and @tmjcontractors. As was mentioned, such conversations just wouldn’t happen on site.

That got me thinking, I have long maintained that organisations cannot really collaborate (few are designed to collaborate), hence the need and importance of last planner approaches, but that its people across organisations that collaborate, and of course that social media can only foster and enable more person to person connectivity.

And real collaboration.

So thoughts mused on how twitter can be used to enhance the last planner approach, enabling real time sharing of progress and issues between subcontractors. eg

@joiner: will the 2nd floor be ready for us on Tues as planned?

@plumber: @joiner first fix complete on for you to start in tues morning. Spoke with @electrics who will be done too. Good to go 

 @joiner; great thanks, will have a couple of guys there

 @contractor: delivery of plasterboard expected for 10am, loading out to level 2 for you

 @joiner @contractor ok, we can help offload ?

Dreaming or Potential? I know many SME contractors who dismissed the idea of any weekly last planner type sessions with subcontractors a few years back, but now see them as essential to construction project management. Maybe in a few years twitter will be a key project tool …. ?  (After all if  social media can be used to organise flashmobs, even dare I say riots, then surely we can use it to coordinate construction projects?)

Last Planner: There are many definitions of Last Planner in the context of lean construction, but essentially its about collaborative working, planning, scheduling and progress reviews with trade supervisors – the last planners – to reduce costs and delays, waste in its widest sense and add value. Often run as a series of weekly or daily planning and progress sessions on site.

Twitter Building Down Barriers: By the way the title above is purposely taken fromBuilding Down Barriers, a 1997 (just pre Egan) action research initaive to remove barriers between construction players that has shaped much of todays Modern Methods of Construction Management thinking.