Few experts would disagree that there is a lot of room for improvement with respect to the renovation, repair, sustainability, and construction of the built environment(1.).
The importance in doing so lies in the facts that the construction sector has major impact upon our economy and our environment(2.).
Obstacles to measurable improvement across the architectural, engineering, construction, and operations sector (AECO) are equally well documented:
- Fragments stakeholders: owners, users, designers, builders, suppliers, manufacturers, operators, regulators, manual laborers, and specialty trade contractors ( plumbers, electricians, masons, carpenters, and roofers)
- Segmented, linear, and non-integrated processes: planning, financing, design, engineering, procurement, construction, operations, and maintenance.
- Lack of shared Risk/Reward – shifting responsibilities, and shifting levels of financial risk, which in turn often leads to adversarial relationships, disputes, and claims
- Relative low adoption of LEAN business processes
- Relative low adoption of technology
- Lack of an industry-wide strategy, motivation, and/or effort to improve construction efficiency.
Characteristics of an efficient construction sector include:
- Production of quality products that meet owners’ and communities’ needs
- Competitiveness in the global marketplace
- Well-integrated processes, supply chains, and work flows
- Promotion of sustainability through the efficient use of time, materials, skills, and dollars
- Attractiveness to a diverse, well-trained, knowledgeable, professional, skilled labor force able to work collaboratively to meet owners’ and clients’ objectives
- Ability to adapt to new conditions and to deploy new technologies effectively
- Use of best practices to reduce rework and delivery time, and to improve job-site safety and project quality; and
- Measurement of performance to enable innovation and improvements in products and processes. (3.)
LEAN, collaborative construction delivery methods such at Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Job Order Contracting (JOC) provide many of the required characteristics, processes, and desired outcomes for improving the renovation, repair, sustainability, and construction of the built environment. Studies show that when these methods are understood and properly deployed a higher percentage of construction is delivered on-time and on-budget, as well as in concert with the quality and performance expectations of the Owners and Users.
It’s time that more Owners educated themselves on best value collaborative construction delivery methods and are held accountable as stewards of the built environment.
- Studies document 25 to 50 percent waste in coordinating construction labor and in managing, moving, and installing materials (Tulacz and Armistead, 2007); losses of $15.6 billion per year due to the lack of interoperability (NIST, 2004); and $4 billion to $12 billion per year are spent resovling disputes and claims associated with construction projects (FFC, 2007).
- Homes, office buildings, factories, shopping centers, hospitals, airports, universities, refineries, roads, bridges, power plants, water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure provide shelter, water, and power, and support commerce, education, recreation, mobility, and connectivity. 40 percent of primary energy use in the United States, 40 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 30 percent of the raw materials, 25 percent of the water used, and for 30 percent of the materials placed in landfills are linked to construction. (NSTC, 1995).
- Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry 2009 National Resource Council.