Lean thinking is a concept begun in Japanese manufacturing that strives to eliminate all waste from a process while pursuing perfection in the finished product. Lean thinking has been applied to the construction process in the form of lean construction. However, traditional resistance by the construction industry to manufacturing ideas has limited the extent of lean construction. When used, lean thinking has been limited to only the design process or only the construction process. This paper introduces the idea of design-led lean as a method of improving construction performance by incorporating lean principles at the earliest stage of a project – design. The goal of design-led lean is to design a project in a way that avoids, reduces, or mitigates variability during the construction process in order to facilitate flow. Design-led lean builds on the constructability concepts identified by the Construction Industry Institute through the addition of flow considerations.
Lean construction, lean production, constructability, design-build, design process, variability, flow