Engineering and Construction
Lean construction techniques to mitigate the problem of construction waste for better environment and economy.
The construction industry has been one of the most impactful and largest businesses contributing to growth and development. The construction industry has led to economic and social, such as building and constructing materials, creating job opportunities, and providing government revenues. The construction industry, however, has been facing an issue and be part of environmentally unsustainable practices (Raman, 2015). Some of the unsustainable practices include use of non-renewable resources, dumping, and water contamination, and waste generation.Various methods have been developed in efforts to curb environmental and economic issues in constructiin industries. The paper discusses Lean construction techniques used to mitigate the problem of construction waste for a better environment and economy.
According to statistics, the construction industry has been the most environmentally impactful business globally, caused by its internal and external practices. However, the industry has reduced unsustainability cases, especially issues related to the supply chain, unnecessary transportation, processing, and production (Young, Hosseini, and Laedre, 2016). Causes of waste in construction industries include; improper storage of materials, poor planning, weather conditions, and a mistake from workers. Mistakes from the workforce is a huge contributing factor towards the generation of waste in the industry. Some of the mistakes c from workers include improper disposal of non-renewable waste (Raman, 2015). Mostly workers n construction industries are non-skilled or working under poor management that does not focus on conservation. Waste products have a great impact on environments, social impacts, and economic impacts. The waste produced from the construction industry contains toxic chemical elements that affect humans and animals’ health once released in water bodies or land (Dave,et,al.,2016). On the other hand, according to a report from Hong King in 2007, the country produced two thousand nine hundred tons of waste from construction industries. Waste production can affect people in terms of health, space, safety, and other inconveniences.
Lean construction is one of the methods used to eliminate construction waste, which integrates several principles. The method involves eliminating waste enhance value stream, perfection, quality, and focus on customer requirements and demand in the construction industry (Young, Hosseini, and Laedre, 2016). The approach has been used in Denmark, Australia, Brazil, the USA, and the UK. The lean approach apply lean thinking into the industry, applied in the value stream, and assists in coming up with strategies that enhance social constructivism by emphasizing customers as key factors. Lean production assist manages the environmental, economic, and social impacts of waste production. For instance, the approach helps eliminate waste of labor, money, time, equipment, and space (Dave,et,al.,2016). The approach enhances the production of quality products without waste production, such as the Toyota production system (TPS). The TPS applies lean production principles that help eliminate unnecessary transportation, overproduction, excess inventory, waiting, and utilized skills. The approach has helped enhance quality through improvements in administration, product development, customized production, and customer services.
Lean production consists of five very important principles that enable construction industries to eliminate waste and improve quality (Dave,et,al.,2016). The five vital principles include using a pull policy used to meet and react to clients’ demands. The strategy assists the customers’ produce only required goods according to customer’s demand, and avoid unnecessary or overproduction. The approach ensures the industry understands and identifies clients’ needs and wants and focuses on the client’s value instead of quantity (Bajjou,and Chafi, 2018). Also, enhancing the flow of work, where flow improves speed and avoids interruptions from one process to another. Improving flow assists in eliminating any issues and obstacles that may bring interruption in the production process.
Additionally, understanding the value stream helps the industry identify and use processes and procedures that enhance quality services and products (Dave,et,al.,2016). Understanding the value stream helps the industry manage and eliminate waste and embrace value-adding techniques. Lastly, understanding the system and implementation of new strategies and ideas is key. The strategy also enhances the application of all the four principles in addition to value, enhancing flexibility, adequacy, and process perfection (Young, Hosseini, and Laedre, 2016).
The five lean principles’ of lean construction assist construction industries reduce eighty percent of waste products and fifty percent of cost produce (Bajjou,and Chafi, 2018). Also, it will help improve quality, increase profits, reduce labor, increase throughput, promote cash flow, decrease manufacturing time, and promote customer services. Some of the Lean tools for preventing waste include process analysis, mistake proofing, and pull technique. Process analysis involved developing a quality process that matched with the organization’s goals of decreasing waste (Ansah,et,al.,2016). The waste analysis involves efforts to identify whether the industry has strategies to reduce waste in construction. On the other hand, mistake proofing is an essential tool that helps the industry develop and use strategies to improve performance and eliminate risks. Mistake proofing works on eliminating any faults and mistakes in the industry. Another tool includes the pull techniques, which enhances planning and prevention of waste. The lean tool assists in reducing waste that impacts the environment and economy of the construction industry (Ansah,et,al.,2016).
Lean thinking principles for reducing waste include; striking a balance between conversion and flow, which enhances waste management. The industry decreased the cost and share of any activity that does not add value to the industry, such as unnecessary transportation. Also, an increase in flexibility, transparency, process completion, and a decrease in variability (Ansah,et,al.,2016). The construction industry can enhance continuous improvement of the process, simplify various approaches and steps used in production.
The application of lean tools in the construction industry has been challenging for most industries, where not all industries are having integrated the strategy (Ansah,et,al.,2016). Most of the industries lack the skills in applying the strategies. For instance, most management systems lack the skills and expertise to coordinate the value stream process, hence making it challenging to apply the strategy (Raman, 2015). On the other hand, the high-cost od of adoption and adaption has been an issue; most construction industries find it expensive and time-consuming to apply the lean principles and tools. The principles may be effective, but it would consume time and cost before the industry adapts and I adoption process.
Most construction industries lack the attitude and mindset for change. Many construction industries are reluctant and comfortable in their average production strategies that impact neighborhoods and society financially and environmentally (Bajjou,and Chafi, 2018). Through creating awareness, as one of the challenges, construction industries would embrace and apply lean production strategy as a game-changer in enhancing conservatism. On the other hand, most industries claim that the current methods are ineffective, especially when used together with industries’ old habits. Lack of a positive mindset and attitude for change is the biggest challenge, where regardless, most industries have embraced the lean construction policy (Raman, 2015). Construction firms should build a proper organizational culture that aims at waste reduction, increase if value, create awareness, minimize waste materials and damaged materials, enhance the application of 5S in reducing waste, and leveraging skills and strategies for a better and quality outcome (Dave,et,al.,2016).
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Raman, S. A. (2015). Innovation and Research and Development in Construction Industry (Doctoral dissertation, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia).
Young, B. K., Hosseini, A., & Laedre, O. (2016, July). Project alliances and lean construction principles. In 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, USA (Vol. 20, p. 22).