Eliminating waste in construction

there are two classes of waste in construction — physical and process — both are a cost to the constructor

physical construction waste = bricks, blocks, plasterboard offcuts, etc;  the sort of thing you reduce, reuse or recycle

process waste = wasted time or effort, delays, disruption because of process failures.

Eliminating both classes of waste is as much a design issue as a construction one.

The first step is to be very clear about what the customer (client/owner and next-trade-in-line) wants - i.e. value.  Understanding what your customers’ value is important as:

  • delivering value is the goal for both design and construction and
  • waste is defined in terms of value - waste = anything that creates no value for the customer

Because waste is defined in terms of value, what was waste on the last job may not be waste on this one - it is important to check what your customers want.