Value Paradigm: Revealing Synergy Between Lean and Sustainability

Vera M. Novak1

1PhD Candidate, School of Design and Architecture, Department of Building Construction, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 410 Bishop-Favrao Hall, Blacksburg, VA, 24061-0156, USA, phone +1(801) 201-1388, [email protected]


The current construction environment is characterized by risk aversion, and the delivery of value is constrained by the tension between time, cost and quality. Similarly, the approach to sustainability in the built environment remains largely focused on waste reduction and minimization of the carbon footprint. Yet the challenges of global environmental issues call for a paradigm shift from this reductionist, ‘scarcity’ approach to one of sustainable prosperity through resource renewal and value generation. The industry has recognized the need for a more integrated approach, not just to fix the process, but to transform it to deliver value beyond the tangible building product. Lean construction stands out as the approach which can facilitate a net enhancement of sustainability value through fully integrated design and delivery processes. The author explores the synergy between lean construction and sustainability, as expressed through the construct of value. Data from exemplary lean projects are gathered through survey and interviews of both prime contractor and owners, offering a two point perspective for enhanced data quality and reliability. The findings suggest a strong correlation between the cohesiveness of lean thinking and the level of collaboration on the delivery of sustainability values.


Value, lean thinking, construction process, green building, sustainability, integration.



Novak, V. M. 2012. Value Paradigm: Revealing Synergy Between Lean and Sustainability, 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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