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Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Lean Construction for successful project management

Recently I came across this article by Dennis Sowards "BIM and LPS improve project management". Dennis explained LPS-Last Planner System and Building Information Modeling (BIM) fairly well.

However, in my opinion there is no point in asking the question "Should we choose BIM over Lean or Lean over BIM?" As Dennis explains in the article that before asking this question "you need to consider what each process offers before choosing one over the other", I would say: lean is a management philosophy and BIM is a technology for effective management of project information. In other words lean is a way of management and BIM is a tool for management.

Lean construction is based on a simple principle "reduce waste and increase value." To reduce waste (of time, material, labor etc.) a number of initiatives have been taken, for example Last Planner System (LPS) of production control, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Target Value Design (TVD) etc.

If we closely look at these tools, techniques and methods developed over last two decades the sole aim of these tools is to reduce waste and increase value of a project delivery. This goal translates into the goal of continuous improvement.

At this point this question can be raised "Where BIM comes into picture when we talk about lean construction?" As I said the sole aim of lean construction is continuous improvement, BIM is a tool that brings improvement to the process of project delivery- and thus continuous improvement.

Traditionally design information is shared using 2D drawings. The waste embedded in the process include: change orders, poor information flow, rework etc. BIM does not eliminate this waste entirely but it reduces the waste and so BIM enables lean.

LPS is a tool used for planning purposes, with a goal of making plans more reliable. Making plans more reliable is very important if we look at the waste generated due to broken promises. On the other hand LPS enables integrated project delivery, because "last planners" (foremen/supervisors), GCs, architects, engineers, and trade partners collaborate to make plans more reliable using LPS. Collaboration and integration is the essential condition for the use of LPS.

In conclusion lean construction philosophy and building information modeling technology both are essential to emerging building industry which is facing a downturn due to financial crisis and which is more conscious about sustainable and green construction than it was in the past.


  1. Thank you Vishal. Among us, more needs to be discussed about BIM, Lean and IPD. Keep it up!

  2. Everything is connected; we need to connect the dots to make the most of existing knowledge.


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