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What Is Lean Construction? A Planning Process That Empowers People

With 70% of projects over budget and delivered late, it’s no secret that the construction industry needs to find ways to work smarter.

Improving the project-planning process is a good place to start. But change can be difficult in a conservative field with deeply ingrained practices, where project managers traditionally create the schedule for the many teams involved. This command-and-control approach, however, isn’t set up to address problems that can arise between milestones—problems like communication snafus, late material deliveries, and scheduling conflicts that can cause timelines to slip and costs to rise. 

Lean construction offers a better way. What is lean construction? It’s a highly collaborative, people-centered process that involves all stakeholders in the production-planning stage, including those doing the work. When tradespeople are empowered to make decisions that affect the project schedule, bottlenecks are avoided, waste is reduced, and projects proceed more smoothly. Learn more about how lean construction can lead to higher-quality, more-efficient construction projects in the infographic below.

lean construction infographic

About the Author

Missy Roback is a senior editor at Autodesk. She’s also a writer, musician, and mannequin enthusiast. Words and music (but no mannequins) can be found at

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