Technology Jumpstarts Lean Construction Practices (1)

This article is a Contributor Post written by Sarah Lee of PypeIf you are interested in the BuiltWorlds Contributor Program, click here

The most important elements of any construction project are time, cost and quality. Often, one of those three will get deprioritized or outright dismissed by way of stakeholder priorities. If a project needs to be done quickly and with high quality, it won’t be cheap; if it needs to be done on a limited budget and finish fast, its quality will suffer. Lean construction is an approach that aims to optimize these necessary trade-offs while reducing the time, effort, materials and money that are necessary for projects. In simpler terms, lean construction aims to maximize customer value while minimizing resource waste.

A lean management style looks at all parts of a project from design through delivery and utilizes the skills of carefully selected employees to help reach clearly stated delivery goals and minimize waste. A lean construction job finishes quickly and with reduced labor costs while still maintaining high product quality and efficient, safe work practices.

One avenue for construction professionals to deliver a higher-quality product to owners is to overcome the obstacles presented by obsolete technology. Elevating the technological standard makes it easier to complete owners’ projects on time, in compliance, and within budget. Top ENR 400 companies are utilizing new software solutions to streamline and standardize their processes, resulting in a higher level of quality assurance, standardization, and efficiency.

The following change-agents are accelerating the adoption of lean construction principles by providing cutting edge solutions for decades-old problems.

Pype | This software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to simplify tedious processes that align with the lean construction model, saving projects money, conserving resources, and encouraging repeat business. Their solutions are used on thousands of projects across North America and facilitate lean construction practices by:

  • Streamlining and expediting tedious, outdated construction processes to keep up with today’s fast-paced world;
  • Providing standardization across regions for nationwide companies, increasing productivity and simplifying quality assurance;
  • Transforming aspirations into attainable goals via machine-learning algorithms, making lean construction practices easier to implement;
  • Reducing project costs and removing unnecessary obstacles using automation to generate submittal logs in minutes and simplify the closeout process.

Raken | Construction is all about efficiency. When it comes to field management, there are so many excess components in the process, so much paper, and so much time wasted managing it all. Let's look at the inefficiency of double-entry. Superintendents collect time card information and send it to a project administrator who double-enters that information. It's an inefficient process that creates room for error. Information falls through the cracks, gets left out, or the timesheet information is wrong, and all of a sudden you have a big problem on your hands simply because of inefficient communication. Lean construction is about the mindset of project-wide efficiency and Raken is the lean answer; a catalyst for shifting the behavior and mindset of construction companies to adopt other lean methodologies. Raken helps with that by:

  • Streamlining daily reporting, time card, and various field management workflows.
  • Automatically generating complete, standardized reports.
  • Assigning and managing jobsite tasks from a mobile device.

Triax | To date, contractors have mainly relied on historical look-backs, anecdotes, and assumptions to measure the effectiveness of lean construction practices. Fortunately, emerging tech is kick-starting construction lean practices, enabling project teams to identify bottlenecks and eliminate waste in real-time. With data-driven visibility into how workers and resources are interacting on site, the Spot-r jobsite platform allows construction companies to objectively measure and better manage waste at the jobsite:

  • Spot-r connects workers and leaders in the field, allowing them to report a safety hazard or signal distress from anywhere in the field, improving overall response times by 91%.
  • The system’s real-time evacuation alarms reduce evacuation times by 72%, elevating emergency preparedness.
  • The Spot-r equipment tags and worker wearables provide new insights into worker and equipment movements on site by floor and zone, helping to identify bottlenecks such as workers waiting for hoist elevators. These insights help teams minimize downtime by adding another hoist, moving material stockpiles or staggering trade arrival times. | This software enables contractors to leverage the power of AI to reduce risk on their projects. Like a “virtual safety inspector,”’s safety monitoring solution plugs into existing sources of photo, video and project data and automatically detects safety hazards on construction jobsites. Examples of risks that can be detected include workers missing required safety equipment, housekeeping, and unsafe ladders. Using, project teams can take corrective actions to remove hazards that are identified. And, corporate staff can objectively measure the trends in safety practices across their portfolio of projects and make smarter decisions on allocating resources to the highest risk projects.

  • Aggregate all project photos with pre-built integrations to existing systems
  • Automatically detect safety hazards such as PPE, fall protection and housekeeping
  • Alert safety managers and project teams to take corrective actions
  • Objectively measure compliance to critical safety policies
  • Predict and avoid incidents saving an estimated $1.4 to $3.6M per year

StructionSite | Photo documentation touches all aspects of the project and has an impact on the visibility the owner has into the status of their project. It also has a huge impact on the coordination of work in the field, allowing teams to manage changes more easily on the fly. By using a 360 photo documentation application, such as StructionSite, companies are able to make better design/site logistics plans on projects. Automating site capture with 360 video gives near-complete coverage of the site while maximizing the value of an activity that at least one person on site is already doing, walking the job site. One site walk by a teammate turns into a complete digital copy of the job site for all project stakeholders. Designers can see where, subs can see the status of work already in place, and the owner has increased visibility to the status of the job.

  • Create a resource for weekly planning meetings and optimize coordination in the field with data collected from 360 videos
  • Minimize the potential for rework with solid photo and video documentation to identify errors earlier saving time and cost