Case Studies

These case studies have been reviewed by members of Lean Construction Ireland and summaries are presented below for your use. These are useful materials to further your learning on Lean Construction thinking and practices, and which you can adopt/adapt on your own construction projects.

Case Study #Focus AreaBrief SummaryAuthors When published?Links
1Examining successful projects to look at common features for success. CLIP, Lean ImprovementThis is a study of seven successful projects, where construction contractors used the Construction Lean Improvement Programme (CLIP). The purpose of the research was to see if there were any common features or processes that could be passed on to others, in the form of best practice.Martin WatsonOct-2003Link
2Looking for common features for success on projectsThis is a study of eleven case studies in construction where contractors, product manufacturer and suppliers used the CLIP. Each case study has a different set of circumstances, but used Lean Construction techniques. The purpose of the research is to identify common features or processes that can be passed on to others, in the forms of best practice.BREAug-2006Link
4Study based on multi -family housing costs increasing between 1968-1998 showed that costs per build doubled whereas cost per single occupancy only rose 70%. Main difference is using wood for load bearing elements in single story buildings. Study then deals with identifying waste and concentrates on transportation /rework waste elements. According to Josephson & Saukkoriipi (2005) waste in Swedish construction waste can be divided in Defects and Control (75%), Utilisation of Resources, Health and Safety, System and Structures.Movement of pre-fac facility nearer to site - was previously 1170km away from production site. Problems relating to production on site could be eliminated by means of standardising practices, using VSM's and better feedback loop to pre-fabrication site. Waste with regards to systems and structures are in line with Koskilie (2000) studies in that he points out that this waste is attributed to decisions made before structures are even started to be built. Factors like skill and experience need to be taken into consideration.Gustaffson, Vessby, Rask2011Link
5Lean and Sustainable ConstructionLean can help with the following areas of sustainable construction:
* Engage project teams and supply chains in the sustainability agenda
* encourage design and build processes for minimum waste
* fuel innovation in process and products to minimise energy, carbon and material resources
create a focus at all stages of a project to preserve and enhance biodiversity,
* enable benchmarking and focused performance improvement.
Claire Corfe2013Link
7Lean Construction GuidesCIRIA have developed six guides to help the construction industry and client organisations understand the benefits of Lean construction.
Six guides:
Lean Construction and BIM
Lean and the Sustainability agenda
Lean benefit realisation management
Lean guide for client organisations
Selecting and working with a Lean consultant
Lean tools and techniques - an introduction
CIRIA (Construction Industry Research and information Association)Various datesLink
8Collaborative planning, Daily Meetings, KPI's30 year DBFO:
Widen 62km of M25
Refurbish Hatfield Tunnel (Section 6)
O&M of M25 plus key feeder routes (400km)

Time benefits
Earthworks Box cut 4-5 weeks time savings /cost savings £400,000
King sheet piling system 12- 13 weeks time savings /Cost savings £7,860,000
3D control of drainage - 3 weeks Cost savings £280,000
slot drain - 3-4 weeks time savings - cost savings £340,000
Capping beam 2-3 weeks time savings /cost savings £300,000
On a £1.3Bn project savings of 0.75% were realised . However, significant programme success was attained between 8 weeks and 24 weeks at certain key highway junctions.
Highway Agency - M25 Road WideningVariousLink
9LEAN productivity gains found through 300+ individual focus areasThis tracker has highlighted the commitment and intent to drive lean principles and in turn has clearly developed a healthy lean and shared learning culture. This tracker is in the public domain which benifts all involved and anyone who may be interested in reading, including clients and compeditors alike. This culture is different to the hide the numbers process demonstrated by many contractors currently. A productive construction industry is a healthy construction industry. Currently in intel a productivity tracker is being developed and maybe a decision needs to be made to make it available to the public minus sensitive and confidential information, highlighting the intent to drive LEAN construction in Ireland. Highways England/ Balflour Beatty and associated contractorsProgressing throughout Highway development from 2011 to 2015Link
11Design for Six-Sigma - Focus on Project DeliveryUsing the Design for six sigma tollgate system to ensure proper checks and balances were in place to allow for more streamlines proceedures and define projects in a more cohierant manner. Using this system they were able to properly define the clients needs at the earliest stage. The project would not be able to move on to the next tollgate without fully completeing the previous gate requirements and compleating rigerous assurance sign-off sheets. This document highlights the importance of LEAN principles being implemented at the start and not the sole responsibility of the contractors involved throughout the project life cycle.Global Infrastructure partners, Bechtel and London Gatwick airportDec-2009Link
13Application of Lean manufacturing principles to constructionIf manufacturing has made such vast improvements in quality and productivity, why not construction? This report identifies the core principles of lean productions, compares and contrasts the manufacturing and construction industries, and identifies the potential for implementing lean principles in the construction industry.
Lean cannot be reduced to a set of rules or tools. It must be approached as a system of thinking and behaviour that is shared throughout the value stream. Lean has the potential to improve the cost structure, value attitudes and delivery times of the construction industry.
Diekmann, Krewedl, Balonik, Stewart & WonJul-2004Link
16Comparison of Steel Mill A comparative study of two identical HDG steel mill plants built beside each other 3 months apart, one using traditional construction methods and the other using lean construction methods. Two experienced lean practitioners were parachuted in to run the lean project and were able to show impressive measurable differences in many key areas:
Injuries on site 65% less than companywide average
Project delivery was 19% faster on Lean project
17.4% less cost on Lean project
Formwork rental was 75% less
Equipment rental was 28% less
End of job overtime was 68% less on Lean project
Labour productivity up 12% on Lean project
Peak manpower was 420 on traditional project vs 270 on Lean project
Baker Concrete Construction2012Link
1735 completed projects were evaluated (20 without BIM and lean; 15 with BIM and lean) worth a combined construction value of $585M. One project is picked out and its use of the last planner system is focused on.
The metrics used for comparison are:
1. Change orders (as % of total project construction costs)
2. Schedule
3. Project Target Value Design
4. Sustainability Value Generation
5. Annual Maintenance Costs
Reduction in operating budgets of $46 million in past four years (-16%)
Using critical path scheduling previously only 12% of projects finished on time
In past 10 years 30%+ of projects are delayed by 90+ days
Change order rates went from 7.73% to 4.43% when using BIM & Lean on project
Average savings of $900k per project due to reduction in change orders ($13.6M total)
Using critical path scheduling 20% of Lean & BIM projects completed on time vs 5% of projects without Lean or BIM
Average delay on project with BIM 25 days vs 80 days on projects without BIM
Using target value design 83% of projects met target budget and averaged 7% under budget
Potential Cumulative Savings for SDCCD - $25,863,512
Maintainance costs per square foot dropped from $3.73 to $1.46 from 2009-2013
Using BIM and Lean improved LEED silver certification by a factor of 45%
David Umstot, Umstot Project & Facilities Solutions & Dan Fauchier, The Realignment GroupMay-2014Link
18Measuring construction innovation on projectsMuch innovation in the construction sector occurs only at the project level and tends to be process and organization based. Construction companies invest comparatively little in formal R&D, but simply adopt new technology on projects as it becomes known.
The report investigates the ways that construction innovation occurs, lists indicators currently used to measure construction innovation, evaluates those current indicators and finally proposes a framework that analyses the Innovation Value Chain (IVC).
Ozorhon, Abbott, Aouad & PowellMay-2010Link
19Rail, London, Channel Tunnel Rail LinkThe Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) in St Pancreas required 13 new platforms, 185M extension of station and a new underground Thameslinks station delivered in a congested environment. The JV project team invested in SPS (Strategic Project Solutions) to provide new business processes and web based tools to enable workflow control and management of materials at production level. The solutions involved were SPS Production Manager which enabled workflow control of over 55,000 tasks, SPS Materials Manager which managed off site supply and delivery of materials and finally a 3D Digital Prototyping.

Measured Benefits
The measurable savings in phase 1 were $3.51M at a cost of $0.95 which is an ROI of 3.7. The end of project forecast savings are $6.1M for the same cost driving an ROI of 6.4

Intangible Benefits
All stakeholder teams (38 no) participate in short term planning and regularly collaborate on work streams and processes. Modelling provides better representation of space and requirements enabling faster and better informed decision making.
Glen Ballard and Andre KoerckelJul-2015Link
22Lean, Flour Mills, Direct Project ComparisonTwo new flour silos and an underground tunnel beneath were built at a flour milling factory in Egypt with the Last Planner System (LPS) being used on the project. Percent Expected Time-overrun (PET) and Percent Planned Complete (PPC) were used as metrics to evaluate the benefits of implementing LPS. Risk factors on the project were identified and the PET was quantified based on the probabilities of the occurrences and impacts of many risk factors on the project. By minimising and mitigating risk factors in advance using lean construction techniques the project demonstrated notable benefits.
Total Project time was reduced by 15.57%
PPC improved from 78% in week 1 to 98% in week 12 (25.6% improvement)
The LPS impacts 67% of the total factors that influence PET values
Usama Hamed IssaAug-2013Link
23Applying Lean thinking in construction and performance improvement. This document is a very informative research article about Lean in construction, it is not a case study and any metrics mentioned are from research rather than findings.Time spent on wasted activities in construction is 57%
Time spent on wasted activities in manufacturing is 12%
Rework works out as 30% of construction time
Accidents acount for 3-6% of total costs on a project
At least 10% of materials are wasted on a project
On Australian construction projects it is reported up to 35% of total project costs are due to rework and contribute as much as 50% of a projects total overrun costs.
Remon Fayek Aziz, Sherif Mohamed HafezFeb-2013Link
24UK Highways, LEAN, Measured projects, Dedicated LEAN TeamThe UK Highways Agency established an in house LEAN Division and is engaging with its supply chain to help suppliers undertake LEAN projects that have measure benefits and knowledge transfer. The goal of their LEAN initiative is to deliver cost, quality and time benefits to the public and stakeholders and foster a culture of continuous improvement. The core LEAN team are supported by LEAN practitioners from internal divisions and affiliated LEAN leaders from their supply chain who are consultants and contractors. There was a key focus on engaging with leaders at the top of all the relevant bodies. The Highway agency also developed a set of metrics HALMAT aka Highways Agency LEAN Maturity Assessment Toolkit which gauged how LEAN their supply chain partners were and would help identify which suppliers to engage with in the future.

Measured Benefits
The LEAN programme delivered by the Highways Agency has delivered a Benefit Cost ratio higher than 30. At end of year 4 a target savings is £90M of which £52M has been realised and has been shared between the Agency and Supply chain. Over a 4 year period this appears to equate to 1% cost saving. (90M over 2.5Bn turnover x 4 years (reviewers calculation!)
Derek DrysdaleJuly 2013Link
25Audi were reloacted production of the A1 car from Genk Belgium to Mastorell in Spain. The goal was to construct a 97,000 sqm building for a car plant in six months.D&S stablished a robust schedule for the general contractor using Overall Process Analysis, a way to work collaboratively on the development of the schedule with a strong focus on processes and bottleneck resources. The most important bottleneck was material delivery and so the supply chain was integrated in the process from the beginning. Key challenges were convincing the general contractor, the planning team, the supply chain partners and companies’ own project team that the production management approach would deliver the project on schedule.
Thereafter the subcontractors held a weekly look ahead meeting and defined together the scope of work for the next weeks. In a daily pre shift meeting the foreman met in front of the planning boards to set the performance goal for the day. At the end of the shift the whole team met again to assess the work that had been completed and measure progress for the day. D&S implemented daily and weekly improvement meetings to identify problems early and to drive continuous improvement on site.
In July 2013, after only six months, the structure of the new plant was completed and handed over to installation of the production plant. The project set a new international benchmark for the car manufacturer.
Patrick Theis, MD of Drees & SommerAug-2015Link
26The paper presents both a theoretical basis for alternative work schedules in construction as well as the results of a survey administered to trade contractor personnel. All signs indicate a 4 day workweek is better for all stakeholders however not enough research has been completed in the construction yet to be certain. This alternative work schedule reduce times spent setting up work, clearing away and non value added time around breaks. Flow is improved if management use the 5th day to plan the next 4 days. Productivity, safety and quality of life is improved for the workers.● The US workforce are 3% less productive than top 10 most productive countries despite working 21% more hours
● Injury's on site typically occur around the times of morning and lunch breaks
● Average travel time to & from work is 50 mins a day
●Workers average 20-30 mins each day getting to work area and preparing the days task and also a similar time for cleaning and vacating the work area
● There can be a 100 minute reduction in set up time (Non value added work) by reducing to a 4 day work week
● A craftsmen only needs to be 7% more productive to equal output of a 4 day 36hr week if dropping from a 5 day 40hr. e.g. 20 ft/hr of pipe to 21.4 ft/hr
● When working more than 40 hrs per week there is a measurable reduction in productivity
● 80% of sheet metal, electrical and carpentry workers believe a 4x10 hr workweek would give them a better quality of life over other options proposed
● 64% of workers of workers believe productivity would be improved by a 4x10 hr work week
● 62% of workers of workers believe safety would be improved by a 4x10 hr work week
Nikolin, Herrera, McCready, Grau & Parrish2015Link