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  • Performance Drivers Pty Ltd

Lean Construction and the Last Planner (Part One)

The tools and practices improving construction project outcomes

Interest in the potential of Lean thinking to improve performance in the Construction industry is on the rise. We’re seeing clear evidence of substantial performance improvements among our clients, and in construction businesses of all types and sizes.

Lean/Integrated Project Delivery is a response to customer and supply chain dissatisfaction with the results in the building industry. Results from using Lean or Integrated Project Delivery in construction include improvements in safety, customer satisfaction, quality of construction, reductions in project length, lower costs, and greater profitability.

Research conducted by the Lean Construction Institute – Australasia Limited (LCIA) shows that when Lean is done correctly, the following measures can be achieved:

Tools and practices include:

Last Planner® and the Last Planner® System of Production Control

The Last Planner is an individual or group which directly assign activities to workers, including supervisors in design, construction etc.

The Last Planner® System of Production Control was developed to improve the predictability and reliability of workflow, improving the hand-off of work in the construction process, and to optimise the project as a whole. It is often the starting point for a Lean construction project and the following concepts all have roots in the Last Planner System.

Master Scheduling – also known as Master Planning

Not so much for control of the project, more a tool for identifying the major events and milestones. It is also a means of assessing whether the project requirements are being met, identifying long lead items, and providing a basis for contracts with the supply chain..

Pull Planning - also known as Phase Planning or reverse phase scheduling

This planning process begins with the end of the project in mind, working backwards to plan what should be done to deliver the requested project outcome. It is a collaborative and detailed process: With everyone who knows about different aspects of the work contributing what they know about the work, the materials, and the equipment required.

Look ahead planning

This is the detailed planning done by a team which looks six to eight weeks ahead, drawing on the pull plan for upcoming activities. The weekly meeting to look ahead aims to identify any constraints which could impede the work. Responsibility for overcoming each constraint is assigned and progress updated each week. Resolution moves the status of the work from should be accomplished to can be accomplished. The most practical tool in the Last Planner is PPK (Percentage of Promises Kept) which forms the core of the weekly progress meetings.

In part two of our Lean Construction and the Last Planner series, read more about the results of using Lean in Construction.

References The Lean Construction Institute is the owner of the Last Planner trademark.


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