Focus on collaborative planning
What is it about?
First off, this approach consists in rethinking management and coordination within the construction industry. This is the quintessence of Lean Construction. It is both collaborative and participative, as it includes the inputs and needs of all involved parties on the construction site. Then, the deployment of this approach requires the adoption of new tools. They will allow you to simplify your construction process on the organisational side of things. Moreover, indicators will be deployed and monitored, in order to get an actual view on the progress of construction work. Finally, the approach aims to be simple and efficient. To this end, it comprises a training session, a few workshops when construction begins, and a weekly scheduling meeting.
Why set that up?
The end goal of the approach is to increase the overall performance level on the construction site. First and foremost, its main feature is that you will not need to put in any extra work to get there. Conversely, you will be much better organised, and therefore more efficient. In this way, the schedule will be rebuilt from the needs and resources of all participants. On top of being understood and adopted by all, it facilitates constant communication between the involved parties. Moreover, control over delays and safeguards against them will increase, notably thanks to collaborative handling of issues and risks in project execution.
Does it work?
The overall results of the method are very satisfying. At first, we observe better communication and cohesion as far as contractors are concerned. Involving them with the scheduling decision process tends to increase their level of engagement. Then, we note that, thanks to the deployment of collaborative planning on the construction site, coordination between the various involved trades develops considerably. Contractors are more efficient, and the construction manager can track progress more easily. Finally, concerning delays, the schedule is secured, which allows to deliver in due time! To get to that result, it is paramount for everyone involved to attend the weekly scheduling meeting. This is the cornerstone of Lean Construction.
The main focus of this approach is collaboration. Indeed, each contractor needs to have the opportunity to voice an opinion, express needs and suggest an approach. The method facilitator needs to step back, enough to keep a neutral position or act as an arbitrator. If you want to get started with the method, do tackle it and host it with an external outlook. Just like any other type of organisational change, the adoption of a new methodology can have a chilling effect on a few people. Therefore, you need to adopt a patient and educational behaviour before they can change their mind. Finally, avoid concentrating on the indicators; do seek adherence of all involved parties to the method, because it’s with their involvement that you can entrench the collaborative process.