Lean Construction: Do the Principles Apply to Independent Contractors?

The methodologies of lean construction are being widely adopted on major construction projects in an effort to establish greater control and minimize waste.

Our industry is traditionally slow to embrace change, but we are beginning to see more rapid adoption of technologies and innovative principles. Concepts such as lean construction are important to successfully integrating new technologies into traditional workflows.

For our latest blog post, we’ve looked at the five key lean principles to determine if they can be applied by independent contractors or professionals in our industry.

What Are the Key Concepts of Lean Construction?

Lean construction is based more around methodologies rather than strict rules. The following five concepts form the basis of lean construction.

Listen Closely to Client Feedback to Establish Value: A true understanding of product delivery is vital for the best possible result. Communication between all involved parties helps to prevent unnecessary delays and rework.

Remain Agile in Design Processes: Stronger collaboration, with design and construction teams to work concurrently whenever possible for greater efficiency.

Minimize Waste Wherever You Can: Reduced material and labor costs can be achieved by eliminating workflow lapses, overproduction and inefficient scheduling.

Ensure Supply Chains and Workflows are Co-ordinated: Maintaining a reliable and consistent flow of tasks through intelligent foresight at a macro level.

Commit to Constant Improvement: Ensuring that no stone is left unturned in personal and professional development, be it through new technologies or upskilling with an eye to the future.

Can Independent Contractors Apply These Methodologies?

In short, yes. While not all of the above five principles are directly relevant to independent professionals, there are certainly some benefits that can be applied.

Listening to and acting upon client feedback and instruction is the bedrock of running an independent business in our industry. Demands are constantly evolving, and time constraints mean that independents simply cannot afford to make avoidable mistakes. Many examples of rework are caused by incorrect assumptions or poor communication during a project, so taking steps to avoid this is a prudent decision.

Minimizing waste wherever possible is a no-brainer for independent contractors, as rising material costs are a significant challenge in 2019. Precise estimating and planning can be helpful in this regard by preventing material stockpiling.

Continuous improvement is arguably the most important lean principle for independent professionals. Staying competitive in an evolving landscape can be extremely difficult, so it’s vital to be aware of the innovations and techniques that can help you to improve. The Internet is a fantastic resource for training opportunities and research purposes; there is a wealth of information and improvement available to contractors willing to stay open-minded about the future of their enterprise.

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