Lean and Pipeline Construction Australia

Lean Construction Australia is a production management-based approach to project delivery — a new way to design and build capital facilities. Lean production management has caused a revolution in manufacturing design, supply and assembly. Applied to construction, Lean changes the way work is done throughout the delivery process. Lean Construction Australia extends from the objectives of a lean production system – maximize value and minimize waste – to specific techniques and applies them in a new project delivery process. As a result:

•    The facility and its delivery process are designed together to better reveal and support customer purposes. Positive iteration within the process is supported and negative iteration reduced.
•    Work is structured throughout the process to maximize value and to reduce waste at the project delivery level.
•    Efforts to manage and improve performance are aimed at improving total project performance because it is more important than reducing the cost or increasing the speed of any activity.
•    “Control” is redefined from “monitoring results” to “making things happen.” The performance of the planning and control systems are measured and improved.

The reliable release of work between specialists in design, supply and assembly assures value is delivered to the customer and waste is reduced. Lean Construction Australia is particularly useful on complex, uncertain and quick projects. It challenges the belief that there must always be a trade between time, cost, and quality.

Building on teamwork, lean project delivery takes cooperation in construction to the next level. The owner, designer, builder and all other critical players in the project are treated as equals on a single team. These various players focus on reliability in meeting the commitments they make on a project. When more companies reliably meet their commitments, the overall project proceeds more smoothly. This avoids the inefficiencies that result when team members look only to their individual productivity and profit at the expense of the group. Team members share financially in the risk of loss on the project and are rewarded by incentives if project goals of cost and schedule are attained.

There are other inherent benefits besides financial incentives that build a compelling case for lean construction Australia. Lean construction Australia focuses on the elimination of waste. In particular, the following are reduced, if not eliminated, resulting in potential cost savings of 20% or more: over-production, waiting, unnecessary transport, over-processing, excess inventory, unnecessary movement, defects and wasted talent.

By rewarding collaboration so that individual players focus on optimizing the whole and not the pieces, the work flows smoothly and reliably and quality improves significantly. The goal is to preserve a combined design and construction contingency through the elimination of inefficiencies.

Planning for any type of pipeline project often begins years in advance of actual construction. Initial steps in the planning process include determining the market need, pipeline design, specification of pipe and components, route selection, environmental assessments, public consultation, land acquisition and permitting. A pipeline construction project looks much like a moving assembly line.  A large pipeline construction project typically is broken into manageable lengths called “spreads,” and utilizes highly specialized and qualified work groups.  Each spread is composed of various crews, each with its own responsibilities.
Steps in the pipeline construction process:

•    Clearing, grading and trenching
•    Stringing and welding pipe segments together
•    Depositing the pipeline, backfilling and testing
•    Restoration

As one crew completes its work, the next crew moves into position to complete its piece of the pipeline construction process.  Each spread may be 30 to 100 miles in length, with the front of the spread clearing the right-of-way and the back of the spread restoring the right-of-way.