Lean construction is a “way to design production systems to minimize waste of materials, time, and effort to generate the maximum possible amount of value,” (Koskela et al. 2002). Designing a production system to achieve the stated ends is only possible through the collaboration of all project participants (owner, a/e, contractors, facility managers, end-user) at the early stages of the project. Lean construction supplements traditional construction management approaches with (Abdelhamid 2007): (1) two critical and necessary dimensions for successful capital project delivery by requiring the deliberate consideration of material and information flow and value generation in a production system; and (2) different project and production management (planning-execution-control) paradigms.
Before a successful lean implementation, a lean assessment should be conducted to identify gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed. The lean implementation assessment consists of all the observed categories of lean implementation. The assessment is based on a numerical scoring system on a scale that ranges from 0 to 4, where 0 represents the state of uncertainty and 4 represents the challenging state. The table below identifies the maturity levels used for the lean construction assessment (Nesensohn et al., 2014).
Using a project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb a form will be created to perform the Construction Lean Assessment. The form will include 10 categories and 20 questions for the Lean Construction assessment. It is assumed that all assessment questions have the same importance weight of 5%. For each assessment question, there will be a pre-defined maturity score value of 5 points (0, 1, 2, 3, and 4).
For one of the performed assessments, the construction lean assessment form was used by the two groups assigned to perform the self-assessment for which each had 10 team members. Those members would usually have a basic understanding of the definition of lean construction and basic knowledge of lean construction principles. For example, on this performed assessment, the first group from the head office included: the CEO, project management office (PMO) director, CEO office manager, senior planning engineer, senior cost engineer, head of civil department, head of electrical department, technical manager, procurement manager, and human resources (HR) manager. While the second group of workers involved in the action research consisted of the project manager, construction manager, civil superintendent, mechanical superintendent, electrical superintendent, telecommunications superintendent, quality manager, safety manager, quantity surveyor, and planning manager.
The attachment tab of the construction lean assessment form allows uploading and attaching all supportive documents used in the assessment. The PMWeb document management repository stores those documents under the specific folder of lean construction assessment.
The assessment workflow tab captures the details and comments made by those involved in the lean construction assessment process. In this case, there were twenty assessors for the two groups. In addition, should there be the requirement to have different assessors assess the different ten categories, then the PMWeb custom form separates each category or group of categories to be done by the assessor in different tables. This allows setting the access rights to those tables to match the workflow roles.
The lean construction assessment output form is based on the overall score of the ten categories of the assessment as per the assessment performed by each assessor from within each group. The results are the company’s level of lean construction awareness represented as a score between 20 and 100. There are five lean construction maturity levels. Those are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
The Construction Lean Assessment Report consolidates the assessment results performed by the two groups as detailed earlier. This enhances the understanding of current strengths and weaknesses underlying the areas covered by the assessment. The report provides the assessment details of each assessor, the total score per category, and the average score for each group as well as the average total score.