Project Management poses the challenge of keeping control of a multitude of interventions spread throughout the construction phase. It is estimated that these could be reduced by 20-30% in many construction projects.
In concrete terms, this means :
- Postponing the start of the construction site to better organise it
- Reduce storage space to a minimum
- Set higher production targets than in traditional construction sites
Lean Construction - a story of pace
With Lean Construction, the experts at Drees & Sommer apply the proven Lean Management model to construction projects and building sites. By focusing on the flow of information and material logistics, for example, it is possible to stabilise and even accelerate processes. In order to avoid waste, waiting times, correction of defects, low or high stocks, each work step is precisely prepared.
As with Lean Management, the principle of cadence plays a decisive role. This gives each company involved a specific time window which, depending on the complexity of the work, ranges from two to four days. During this time, the companies are guaranteed to work without being disturbed by others. The necessary materials and plans are made available to them in such a way that the various participants do not interfere with each other. On the construction site, the Lean Management team works closely with the Site Management and the contractors. This ensures that all trades are quickly integrated into the project. The resulting close and peaceful cooperation helps to stabilise the construction process and to save costs.
Drees & Sommer's project managers and process consultants ensure that the method is integrated by everyone on the construction site. They provide project managers and Site Management with a powerful process management tool that optimally combines the strategic project vision (top-down) with the operational know-how of the site (bottom-up).
Integrated process design
First, the Project Management team draws up a classic schedule based on proven values. It then examines the entire process from a Lean Construction perspective and points out weaknesses and risks, including those related to permit procedures and possible appeals, as well as problems related to the constructability of land, traffic and transport. Once all these points have been assessed, a project schedule is drawn up in consultation with all the design areas. The experts at Drees & Sommer develop the most suitable schedule for the construction site, which results in a highly precise execution concept.
For large projects, we recommend breaking them down into smaller projects. This segmentation makes it possible to go into great detail about the tasks to be carried out. Each project is then managed by a dedicated management team. In the final stage, the teams work on a logistical concept.
All of this work helps to determine the progress of the project over the next four months, and sometimes eight months. Lean Managers cover the entire supply chain and ensure that every step, from design to production to the supply chain, is met by delivering the necessary information and materials to the site on time.
Design boards: preparing the production schedule visually
On the site, the most visible tool of Lean Construction Management is a planning board. Updated daily, it shows the production schedule over a four-week period. The Site Management and the executing companies actively use it as a steering tool. The schedule enables detailed and stable work planning. It shows overlaps on the construction site, dependencies and processes.
The maps in the table represent each intervention of a company on a given day, in a given area. Some maps, however, make it easy to see critical points or missing information. At a glance, it is possible to identify the number of problems that need to be resolved in order to return to a smooth flow of work or, on the contrary, to see that the work has been well prepared. The daily updating of the production schedule on the construction site contributes to its high stability and reliability.
People at the heart of the site
In combination with BIM, Lean Construction Management links the reality of the construction site to the virtual design. The global analysis of the processes and their design allows the extraction of data that is integrated into the BIM model. In this way, construction data can be monitored in real time, simulations can be carried out, and potential bottlenecks and execution problems can be identified and resolved at an early stage. In addition, the stability of the design and its close link to the execution ensures that materials are available on site at the right time and in the right quantity within a four-week timeframe.
But beyond all the tools, the determining factor in the success of a project is the human factor. During the course of the project, a harmony must be established between all those involved. The closer they are to what is going on, the more they see the building site coming out of the ground, smell the concrete, hear the saws turning, the more everyone identifies with the project: this is what makes it possible to establish the most obvious link between the virtual design and the reality of the construction. In particular, we encourage the exchange between young engineers who bring the latest creative advances with the experience of older players in the building industry. Together in the same work teams, they make important decisions.
On site, the Lean Managers work closely with the site management and the contractors. This means that all trades are involved in the project from the very beginning. The resulting close cooperation stabilises the progress of the project and increases the chances of achieving potential time and cost savings together.