Faced with increasingly complex projects and dealing with a stagnation in efficiency improvements, Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles de México (CICM) has suggested adopting management methodologies for future projects. The association recommends applying methodologies from other sectors that have proven effective in the construction industry, such as the Lean methodology.
In a press conference, Jorge Serra, President, CICM, said that the use of methodologies like Lean Construction has become a decisive factor in achieving the objectives set during the development of a project.
According to the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), the vast majority of construction projects use design-bid-build or design-build contracts, which separate the various parties of a project into smaller units, each agreeing to separate contracts. LCI notes that this leads to tunnel vision among the individual parties, with each group only being interested in the success of their part of the process. “If an issue arises, fingers point in every direction and nobody actually attempts to solve the problem at hand. These project delivery methods suffocate innovation because nobody has a financial incentive to improve outcomes,” LCI points out.
Lean methodology is widely used in the automotive industry, with its origins in Ford’s manufacturing practices. The main advantages of using this methodology in the construction sector are streamlining of processes, reduction of waste and improvements in the quality of construction. According to CICM, this methodology was implemented in the expansion of AICM’s Terminal 2.
Serra said that lean tools are ways of thinking, which become allies for the best results, and a bridge that connects the initial vision of a project with correct execution. "There are different methodologies with different approaches, but they can be combined for effective management when it comes to planning and constructing projects," he added.
The implementation of methodologies like Lean Construction is crucial as the construction sector’s efficiency has decreased, while other economic sectors deliver stronger results. According to LCI, 70% of projects are over budget and delivered late. The industry still sees about 800 deaths and thousands of injuries per year.
For Serra, successful project management by engineers requires a combination of knowledge and skills including a deep understanding of the challenges of construction, competence in using tools and analytical thinking, adding that companies should make greater use of technology for the development of infrastructure in the country.