System View of Lean Construction Application Opportunities

Flavio A. Picchi1

1Doctor in Engineering, Consultant, and Director of Lean Institute Brasil. R. Vergueiro, 3645 cj. 906 - São Paulo - CEP 04101-300, Brazil, +55-11-5579-9613, FAX +55-11-570-9613,


Construction has been one of the first sectors to discuss Lean Thinking in an environment different from that where it was developed. Lean Thinking is a broad concept and construction is a highly diversified and complex sector, so the opportunities for application are very wide. This paper will discuss these opportunities in a systematic framework, useful for identifying interactions among applications developed so far as well as gaps for future studies. This framework will be constructed crossing Lean Thinking core elements and construction main flows. Due to differences between construction and manufacturing, lean tools direct application is not suitable in most cases. Lean principles deployed to a detailed conceptual level, named core elements, is argued to be a better basis for the discussion of potential applications in different environments, as construction. According to lean concept, construction is understood in this paper as a connection of five main flows. The discussion of each core element for each flow points up opportunities of application.


Lean construction, applications, system view.



Picchi, F.A. 2001, 'System View of Lean Construction Application Opportunities' In:, Ballard, G. & Chua, D., 9th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Singapore, Singapore, 6-8 Aug 2001.

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