Lean construction in Ireland – from theory to practice
29 September 2014
Authors: Paul Ebbs and Raymond Turner, Lean Construction Institute Ireland Community of Practice core group members
“Lean thinking will benefit the Irish construction industry and wider economy and the LCI CoP is the way to deliver it.” Core Group, LCI CoP (Ireland)
This article will introduce the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) Ireland Community of Practice (CoP), identify the core group members and outline to the reader where we are going – ‘we’ or ‘together’ is central to any successful implementation of Lean. Information and video links of past events and registration details of the next event on 13 October 2014 are also contained herein.
By illustrating the extra value and attraction that Lean thinking will bring to the Irish architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) sector, export potential and opportunities for native Irish AEC companies providing products and services in other markets – especially the UK – will be boosted. Additionally, this will attract increased foreign direct investment (FDI) in line with Intel’s $5 billion investment announced this year.
There is a ‘win-win’ scenario if we adopt Lean ‘together’. The more value for money (VfM) we can deliver as an industry, the greater amount of FDI we can attract. In December 2013, Forbes ranked Ireland as the ‘Best Country for Business’. Ireland was the only country within the top 15% to be in every one of the eleven metrics examined by Forbes (Silicon Valley Global, 2014).
Ireland already has a reputation for Lean and world-class businesses in other sectors of the economy, as exemplified by recent wins of the Shingo Prize. We believe that we can make a similar impact on the construction industry and establish Ireland as a world-leading centre of excellence in the application of Lean thinking in construction.
Lean construction principles and practices
The primary aim of the CoP is to encourage the adoption of Lean in the AEC sector by raising awareness of Lean construction principles and practices and also provide a platform for companies to share their direct experiences of why and how Lean just ‘works’. At present, the Core Group LCI Ireland CoP comprise: Paul Sexton (SCEG Ltd), Raymond Turner (Construction Innovation Lab), John French (Intel), Kevin White (Jones Engineering), Paul Ebbs (PhathomHQ), Brian Clare (DIT), Vincent Gibson (FMA), Gary Widger (Mercury Engineering) and Sean Downey (Construction Industry Federation). Our group on LinkedIn ‘Lean Construction Ireland’ has grown steadily since April 2014 and currently has 659 members.
The CoP’s inaugural event that took place on 16 April 2014 was kindly sponsored by Intel Ireland and attracted over 200 people from the AEC sector. John Pemberton, Intel’s global construction manager and Lean Construction Institute (LCI) US board member delivered the keynote speech. John French provided the introduction and was MC on the night, while Joe Foley from Intel presented an owner’s perspective. Nick Masci, leader of New England CoP, gave a presentation focused on how to mould your Lean journey. Paul Ebbs, Dr Arlene Egan and Kevin White presented a brief overview on ‘What is Lean Construction?’ (see below).
Our second CoP Event was kindly sponsored by Jones Engineering Group and was held on 18 June. Despite the World Cup and beautiful weather, over 100 people attended. Dr Richard Keegan (see below) and Richard Donnelly were keynote speakers, in addition to a breakout session led by PhathomHQ Training. Raymond Turner, on behalf of DIT, also announced on the night that an MSc in Lean Construction will be offered in response to industry demand for AEC Lean qualifications. This was very well received.
Where we are going – next event
The LCI Ireland CoP’s third event, ‘Lean: From Theory to Practice’ (with keynote speaker Dr Peter Court), will take place in Finnstown House, Lucan, Co. Dublin at 7.00pm, Monday October 13. The event is being kindly sponsored by Mercury Engineering. Admission is free. However, as places are limited please register HERE.
The purpose of the next event is to raise awareness and highlight the practical benefits of Lean principles to the Irish architectural, engineering and construction industry and begin the transition from ‘listening together’ to ‘doing it’ and ‘working together’. This change can only happen if the members agree to take action and comeback to share their experience, insights, learnings, opportunities, request for help, etc. This event is focused on how the participants can take action – the next steps. Together, as an industry, we believe that the Irish architectural, engineering and construction sector can become leaders in the application of Lean thinking.
• 19.00 Registration (tea, coffee and biscuits)
• 19.30 Dr Peter Court – keynote address (see below)
• 20.30 LCI CoP – Where are we going? How will we get there?
• 21.20 Wrap up
• 21.30 Networking
Dr Peter Court is the mechanical, electrical and plumbing services (MEP) director of delivery at Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal for Construction Sante Montreal, a joint venture between OHL and Laing O’Rourke. Prior to this, he was responsible for the mechanical scope of the Northern Water Treatment Plant, in Queensland, for LOR Australia.
Court holds an MBA from Aston University, Birmingham and an engineering doctorate from Loughborough University, UK. Previously, he was project leader for the MEP element (£100m) of a large healthcare development in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. It was on this project that he developed, in conjunction with his EngDoc research, a lean and agile construction system, the objective of which was to improve workers’ health, safety and productivity, thereby improving the performance of the project. The outcome of the research project is contained in his thesis, ‘Transforming Traditional Mechanical and Electrical Construction into a Modern Process of Assembly.’
Court, P (2009). ‘Transforming Traditional M&E Construction into a Modern Process of Assembly’, EngD published thesis, Loughborough University, United Kingdom, [Online] Available: http://www.slideshare.net/PaulEbbs1/court-2009-transforming-traditional-me-construction-into-a-modern-process-of-assembly-eng-d-corrected [Accessed 20th September 2014]
Silicon Valley Global, (2014), Why Choose Ireland? Official Publication of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, Summer Edition, San Jose, CA 95113https://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/09/29/lean-construction-ireland-theory-practice/https://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/New-Picture28.pnghttps://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/New-Picture28-300x300.pngCivilconstruction,Ireland,lean