Increasing Adoption of Lean Construction by Contractors

Matt Stevens1

1Matt Stevens Ph.D. Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Building, and Planning, University of Melbourne (, Room 401, 757 Swanston Street, University of Melbourne VIC 3010, AU. Phone +61 3 8345 8673,


Lean manufacturing became popular in the 1990s and has been increasingly discussed in the construction industry over the last decade. However, by some measures, construction contractors, responsible for project safety, quality, cost, and scheduling, have been slow to adopt it. Better approaches are needed to convince contractors of the benefits of the lean approach in the construction industry. To facilitate adoption, this paper reviews lean’s current status in the construction contracting environment and suggests methods to increase its engagement by construction firms. Clarification and realignment of lean’s definition and methodology may be needed. A meaningful way to measure the value of lean may motivate more construction firms to adopt lean methods. Empirical studies can show correlations between best practices and desired outcomes. If lean’s practices can be demonstrated to increase efficacy, the rest of the industry may be more likely to adopt the lean model.


lean construction, construction contractor, production, construction productivity, construction metrics.



Stevens, M. 2014, 'Increasing Adoption of Lean Construction by Contractors' In:, Kalsaas, B.T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T.A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 377-388

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