Change in South Africa Construction: Lessons From Lean Thinking

Fidelis Emuze1 & Heinrich Ungerer2

1Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Built Environment, Central University of Technology, Free State, Private Bag X20539, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa Tel: (051) 507 3089 Fax: (051) 507 3254, E-mail: femuze@cut.ac.za
2 BTech Graduate, Department of Built Environment, Central University of Technology, Free State, Private Bag X20539, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa Tel: (051) 507 3082 Fax: (051) 507 3254, E-mail: hpungerer@gmail.com

Abstract

The philosophy that Lean construction teaches has produced changes in the construction process and methodology. The change is evident in people that form the major input in a project undertaking. As such, shedding traditional approach to work, especially craft construction requires a new way of thinking on the part of skilled and semi-skilled workers in construction. This change is necessary to reverse the ills in the industry. Hence, change in South Africa is a must due to a number of performance related issues that have made media headlines in the form of fatalities and project time overrun, to mention a few. Thus, after the review of the related literature, this qualitative study examined ‘how a lean thinking induced change in the mind-set of workers can be used to improve performance in South African construction.’ The outcomes of the study show that most of the contractors lack a structured way to motivate their workers in terms of ‘waste consciousness’ that would change their approach to task execution. The culture and thinking of the workers thus is in need of rejuvenation in order for them to continually engage in refining their contributions to project goals. The South African construction industry should thus find ways to eliminate ‘the wheels’ of repeated mistakes that have hitherto engendered poor performance.

Keywords

Construction, Change, Lean thinking, Motivation, South Africa

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Reference

Emuze, F. & Ungerer, H. 2014, 'Change in South Africa Construction: Lessons From Lean Thinking' 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 1121-1131

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