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Assessing Lean principles and its methods to improve value of construction process.


From the 1950s, Toyota or lean production scheme doctrines have progressed consistently. The principles were successfully executed by the Toyota Motor Enterprise.  Toyota manufacturing system has two pillar models which are the Just In Time (JIT) flow theory and the Smart automation concept (Aziz, 2013), the details are illustrated in figure 1.

Figure 1: Beginning of Lean Production Source: (Aziz, 2013)

The word ‘lean’ was devised by an investigative team that worked on the intercontinental auto fabrications that represented both the Toyota’s waste decline production organisation and the different mass and craft supplies (Aziz, 2013). Lean manufacturing is a more mechanized concept geared towards improving the assembly production management. The field sets industrious courses in motion to establish regulation systems with the objective of decreasing the losses across the process. Toyota Production Scheme (TPS) acquired its standards of lessening and eradication of wastes from the lean construction principles (Aziz, 2013).

The varieties of waste materials discussed in TPS are the wastes of creating inadequate supplies, time, movement, transportation, production, the entire process and the stock present. The lean assembly procedure is described as a production regulation approach for the achievement of essential and continuous advancements, in the presentation of the whole corporation practice of a supplier via the elimination of the resources and time wastes that fail to increase the service or product value offered to the consumer (Aziz, 2013). Lean construction comprises of various activities of flow conversion. The exercise visualises the assembling project as a movement of happenings that are needed to create value for the client. Issa (2013) explain that lean production involves the practices of decrease of inconsistency in labour throughput, just-in-time, waste elimination, execution of benchmarking, operation simplification, flow reliability enhancement, and application of pull-driven planning.

In the software and simulation fields, Arayici et al. (2011) made use of computer replication as a device for evaluating the effect of using lean principles in the designing procedures of building consultancy industries and in the assistance of the decision-making protocols at the initial construction plan stages. Deshpande et al. (2012) specified a pull flow of software system construction management basing on the theory of LPS. A group of useful simulations of a recommended structure have been instigated and examined. Researcher Alinaitwe delivered graphical assistance to allow decision-makers to focus their determinations in overcoming the obstacles by inspecting the impact of many of the obstructions on the accomplishment of lean construction enterprises (Aziz, 2013).

Problem/Research Question

Technology and construction organisation are known to be the significant factors that influence the growth of the structuring industry. For the past forty years, though different advanced and new skills have been functional within the construction company programs, the competence of the business has stayed quite low. For instance, the output of the USA manufacturing firm has been falling since the year 1964 (Aziz, 2013). The same decline in building efficiency has occurred in other countries like Japan, which reduced to 2731 from 3714 Yen/Man/Hours during 1990 to the 2004 period (Aziz, 2013). The core reason for the failures seems to be with the current technologies which can’t lower the charge of construction and design while advancing the regulation of the assembly industry’s procedures. The Computer Aided Design technology (CAD), for example, has progressed the productivity of drawing. However, the skill fails to lower the design mistakes which result in the reworking of the construction; this makes it hard for the manufacturing executives to elevate the building process for cost reduction (Issa, 2013).

The manufacturing challenges are felt most in the Build/Design projects whose goal is to lower the production cost and increase product quality by ensuring upgraded constructability of the structuring design. The new technologies haven’t been confirmed to provide sufficient support in the execution of the B/D ventures (Deshpande, et al., 2012). Thus, the use of both the useful modern administrative concepts and the new technological knowledge is expected to enhance the efficiency of the structuring industry. However, the lean production implementation remains in its original stages. To expand the application of lean assembly, Remon & Sherif (2013) suggested the coordination between the subcontractors and the main contractors during the structuring project.

On the other hand, Issa (2013) recommended the reduction of the variability to advance the process performance and progress the labour flow consistency for improved throughput as stated by the lean manufacturing principles. The projected algorithm and methodology lead to better enactment of the process, no shape constraints and provision of possible resolutions. Additionally, computational experimentations display that the procedure overtakes the current approaches engaged in the structuring industry.

Over the past years, the construction industry all over the world have been facing a decline in their productivity levels. The best approach of solving this challenge is by adopting the use of lean construction to minimize on wastes and speed up the production process. Lean construction consist of a new form of production incorporated in the construction management to ease workload and processes involved. Some of the important features of lean construction include a set of objectives incorporated in the delivery process with the aim of maximizing the performance levels for the client at the project level, construction, concurrent design, and applying certain control on the project lifecycle from the design stage to the delivery stage.


Research Question 1: Can Lean principles and methods be integrated with BIM to improve the value of construction operation.

The main aim of conducting this research is to identify a framework of integrating lean principles and BIM in order to improve the productivity levels in the construction industry.

As a response to the research problem discussed above, the research seeks to discuss the following objective.

  • Assess Lean principles and its method to improve value of construction process

The research project will cover areas related to lean production, principles and methods surrounding the construction industry. Data will be obtained from secondary sources which will have the data relevant to the research question. The study will only major on lean principles in the construction industry. Therefore, lean production in other form of industries will not be discussed. The research will cover how lean principles can be used to maximize on production and minimize on waste in the construction industry operation and how this methods can be integrated with BIM to make the process more sophisticated.

The main methods used to collect data in this research project include the use of PRISMA method, carrying out a case study and qualitative research method to help get a more accurate data that would help in defining the research question. The use of the different methods to gather information is essential since it helps the researcher to collect a reasonable amount of data that would provide a strong evident against the result in order to prove its validity within the scope of study and a logical conclusion derived from the analysis of the results can be made (Marhani, et al., 2018).

A systematic review narrative was carried out in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) (Ng, et al., 2016).

The research design for this search was designed to locate the peer reviewed articles describing the empirical studies that applied lean production principles. Taking into consideration the development of methods and terminologies. The search terms used included lean principles or production, construction industry and BIM. The year of publication were restricted to 10 years with only peer reviewed articles to be screened. A snowball approach was used to identify other supplementary articles, this resulted into addition of 13 articles. The 15 duplicate articles were eliminated. The abstract and titles of the remaining 249 articles were screened in adherence to the PRISMA guideline for reporting or producing reviews and meta-analysis. After screening, 196 original articles were excluded. The criteria used for exclusion involved absence of construction industry focus and improvement of construction operation approaches. As a result, 53 articles were analyzed and assessed for their eligibility. After going through the full text review, 35 articles were excluded due to lack of lack scale quality improvement, lean thinking and success criteria. Articles with practical guidelines were removed. The final review had 18 articles.


The databases were used to search for the peer review articles included the American Society of Civil Engineers, Jum, JSTOR collections etc. The data collected were tabulated independently using the PRISMA checklist. Their eligibility were decided in a standardized manner and non-eligible data were eliminated.

The remaining 18 articles were systematical analyzed in regard to the number of studies contained in each review. Nine articles reviewed a range of definite cases, varying from 4-90. The article that were left were expert evaluation, unsystematic reviews or narratives while others included lean and their corresponding methods such as process-oriented redesign. Lean was obtained and treated separately as much as possible, though constrained by the observation mix and the use different quality improvement methods simultaneously in construction.

Figure 2: The PRISMA diagram.   

The technique utilized in this research is a mix case study carried out by incorporating quantitative and qualitative strategies. So as to assess Toyota Way usage on construction delivery framework, a present condition audit of the undertaking's delivery procedure has been made. The respondents utilized in this exploration were picked by purposive snowball examining technique, and including between inter parties of the stakeholder involved in the project delivery, keeping in mind the end goal to discover more extensive data in undertaking project delivery process. This exploration was done Buckeridge Group of Companies (BGC) (Marhani, et al., 2018). This single research sample was chosen in view of its unpredictability, complexity, multi-years ventures, involving national and worldwide partners, and has to deal with a few deterrents to playing out this mega project development process among thickly populated private, and ideal next to this current building.

The main phase of this exploration was building up a questionnaire about Toyota Way execution rules and appraisal on lean development usage. The quantitative used in observing the usage level of Toyota Way rules on a genuine development project. On the other hand, qualitative method was used to approve the outcome by doing some interviews and site observation with a specific end goal to accomplish a superior level of comprehension on how Toyota Way guidelines have been actualized for a case study project (Remon & Sherif, 2013).

The questionnaire utilized in this case study is adjusted from the questionnaire created by Rylander (2014). The poll comprised of 14 noteworthy inquiry of Toyota Way standards and partitioned into some particular sub-question about those standards execution guidelines. The questionnaire utilizing 5 point Likert Skale significance performance (Rylander, 2014). The average results of this poll at that point plotted into grid of significance performance.

Research Scope

The research problem’s nature defines the type of methodology to be implemented in the investigation. As exploratory research, the study assumes an informative tactic to form a complete image of the occurrence based on the respondents’ knowledge, personal experience, textual description and understanding of the condition (Remon & Sherif, 2013). To obtain an in-depth understanding of the questionnaire semi-structured studies were carried out by the Lean construction experts. The semi-structured interview was selected because of its flexibility; it also offers the researcher various choices to decide on whether to conduct further interpretations and acquire additional information while the examinees express their opinions freely and discuss them at length (Ng, et al., 2016).

The participants were asked queries linked to their journey in the Lean production firm, the reason to why they participate in the practices of lean construction, the type of Lean devices applied and the application rationale employed in the company. A solicitation letter was written to the institutions, who then selected the research samples to represent the organizations. The exploration was carried out via phone communication to save resources. The interviews took an average of about thirty minutes each. To attain the partaker’s trust and confidence the interviewees were assured of their confidentiality (Marhani, et al., 2018). The investigator discovered the relevant ethics of the study as a priority in directing the research process. An ethical agreement was acquired from the School of Technology Ethics Committee at the Wolver Hampton University. The partakers were informed of the objectives and aims of the study; the participants complied to participate in the exploration voluntarily.  The whole research was carried out in a manner that illustrated the respect of the interviewee's integrity and confidentiality.

In the investigation, only contracting establishments involved in Lean building exercises were targeted. A purposive sampling method was the implemented (Deshpande, et al., 2012). Some manufacturing societies participating in Lean production practice were obtained from the Construction Lean Improvement Programme (CLIP) web and the Lean construction institute (LCI-UK). The snowballing methodology was then assumed by requesting participants to state other organizations involved in Lean structuring practices and those willing to contribute to the investigation. A sum of forty-five corporations was called to partake in the study. However, only seven construction experts from seven enterprises contributed to the research.

The interviews were carried out with the Lean professionals from the seven institutions. Codes were allocated to each partaker to uphold discretion. The study personnel comprised of the Project manager (R1), the Contracts manager (R2), the Project leader (R3), the Best exercise manager (R4), the Lean enhancement manager (R5), the Business development manager (R6) and the Best advancement manager/ Associate director (R7). The specialists are usually mainly engaged in the entire process of Lean construction application in their industries. The assessment of the interviews was by the use of the thematic evaluation approach (Remon & Sherif, 2013). The technique was chosen as it is the most flexible and suitable way of gathering and interconnecting themes or patterns and ideas that arise from the study (Dineshkumar, 2016).


With the rapid increase in the development of the construction industry, the traditional mode of construction has been faced with myriad of challenges. The application of the lean construction based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is a critical dimension that can be used by the construction sector to develop a new path of industrial revolution that has certain theoretical values and principles that can be used for transforming and improving the productivity in the built industry whose advantages include (1) identifying an elaborate system of industrial projects which integrate lean procurement, design and construction installation as a package; (2) Based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology, lean construction can be supported by integrating BIM in its operations to improve the value added objectives of the industrial projects; (3) By having a cloud of internet, it is possible to achieve an industrial building network in a single system, hence becoming a new mode of cloud service to accomplish an informative drive of the new type of industrialization.


Arayici, Y., Coates, P., Koslcela, L., Kagioglou, M., Usher, C. and O’Reilly, K. 2011. “Technology adoption in the BIM implementation for lean architectural practice.” Automation in Construction, 20(2011), 189–195.

Aziz, R.F. and Hafez, S.M., 2013. Applying lean thinking in construction and performance improvement. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 52(4), pp.679-695.

Issa, U.H., 2013. Implementation of lean construction techniques for minimizing the risks effect on project construction time. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 52(4), pp.697-704.

Deshpande, S., Filson, E., Salem, O. and Mille, R. (2012). “Lean techniques in the management of the design of an industrial project.” Journal of Management in Engineering, 28(2), 221–223.

Dineshkumar, B. and Dhivyamenaga, T., 2016. Study on lean principle application in construction industries. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 9(2).

Marhani, M.A., Bari, N.A.A., Ahmad, K. and Jaapar, A., 2018. The Implementation of Lean Construction Tools: Findings from a Qualitative Study. Chemical Engineering Transactions, 63, pp.295-300.

Ng, S.T., Zou, W., Wong, K. and Huang, G.Q., 2016. LEAN CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC HOUSING PRODUCTION IN HONG KONG: A PROCESS-BASED APPROACH. International Journal for Housing Science & Its Applications, 40(3), pp 177-180.

Remon, F.A. and Sherif, M.H. (2013). “Applying lean thinking in construction and performance improvement.” Alexandria Engineering Journal, 52(4), 679–695.

Rylander, D., 2014. Productivity improvements in construction site operations through lean thinking and wireless real-time control (Doctoral dissertation, Mälardalen University).

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