Lean and Sustainability: Three Pillar Thinking in the Production Process

Cathrine Andrea Johnsen1 & Frode Drevland2

1M.Sc. Student, Department of Civil and Transport Engineering, NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, + 993 81 946, cathrineaj@gmail.com
2Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Transport Engingeering, NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, +47 920 64 262, frode.drevland@ntnu.no

Abstract

The concepts of Lean Construction and Sustainable Development share certain fundamental objectives, such as reducing waste and increasing value. The aim of this research is to investigate the extent to which the use of lean construction principles can assure increased sustainability in construction projects. This paper will explore the commonalities of these concepts and determine indicators that can be used to express the impact of lean on all three pillars of sustainability: economy, society and environment. This work is executed as an explorative sample study of what are considered two of the leading companies in using lean construction approaches in the Norwegian construction industry. Semi-structured in-depth interviews of six key contributors were conducted. The work is limited to the production phase of a project, and focuses on sustainability in the process rather than of the product. The main finding is that lean construction can have a positive impact on selected indicators for sustainability. This impact is primarily related to reduced stress, less sick leave, increased productivity, more efficient use of resources and improved quality. Lean construction observably has an evident impact on all three pillars of sustainability, and it should be focused on equating the social, economic and environmental aspects of future work.

Keywords

Lean Construction, Lean and Green, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Production Process

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Reference

Johnsen, C.A. & Drevland, F. 2016, 'Lean and Sustainability: Three Pillar Thinking in the Production Process' In:, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, USA, 20-22 Jul 2016.

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