Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is teaming up with some of the leading construction firms in India to implement “lean construction” techniques aimed at reducing waste and shortening the duration of construction in comparison to conventional methods. The technique is adapted from “lean manufacturing” and is designed to eliminate eight types of waste, including overproduction, inventory, defects, motion, over-processing, waiting, transportation, and human talent.
According to experts, construction projects are often delayed and exceed their budgets due to inefficient construction processes and inadequate planning leading to wastage. IIT Madras is partnering with construction companies like L&T, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, and Godrej Construction through an industry body called the Institute for Lean Construction Excellence (ILCE).
Koshy Varghese, Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras, said, “India is going through a boom in infrastructure projects. To complete projects successfully, one must align the people, process, and technology elements of the project. By using a lean construction approach, these elements are integrated and aligned, thus increasing the chances of project success.”
Lean construction techniques have been implemented globally for the last two decades, and they involve a series of structured methods that identify and reduce waste so that the construction process is much faster and more reliable. These techniques cover logistical aspects such as lack of timely procurement leading to manpower and equipment lying idle.
Ashwin Mahalingam, Faculty at the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, stated that “The fragmented nature of the construction industry implies that firms need to coordinate better to improve project outcomes. Traditionally, this has been difficult to achieve using conventional planning techniques leading to time and cost overruns in projects. Lean construction provides a set of tools, frameworks, and ideas through which projects can seamlessly meet their time, cost, quality, safety, and sustainability objectives.”
The collaboration between IIT Madras and top construction firms in India is expected to result in more efficient and cost-effective construction projects, which is a critical need in a rapidly developing country like India. By implementing lean construction techniques, the construction industry can achieve greater impact, meet its objectives, and contribute to the country’s overall economic growth.