Globalisation of the economy has lead to an increased competition in what is rapidly becoming a universal market. While the manufacturing sector has been relatively quick in responding to the changing business environment, the construction industry has lagged behind. The manufacturing industry has derived great benefits from measuring its performance through critical success factors as a part of a regime of continuous improvement. The construction industry can adopt similar practices of performance measurement and comparison to develop a culture of ‘lean construction’ through continuous improvement. The objective of this approach is to lower costs and increase productivity, resulting in a sustained competitive edge. This approach will involve development of metrics for performance measurement and benchmarking them with the best. This paper looks at the elements of lean production and lean construction, as well as the current practices, issues and outcomes of performance measurement and benchmarking. Some of the key performance issues that could be targeted for improved productivity in the construction industry are highlighted along with the potential benefits that would accrue to the industry.
lean construction, performance measurement, benchmarking