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LCI-Canada continues lean groundwork

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by LINDSEY COLE

The Lean Construction Institute – Canada (LCI-Canada) is working its way towards fulfilling its mission of fostering a culture where lean principles are adopted and embraced in the planning, design and construction industry.
LCI-Canada continues lean groundwork

During the Canadian Construction Association's (CCA) fall board meeting in Thunder Bay, Ont., LCI-Canada co-chair Serge Massicotte provided an update on the special committee and some of the current initiatives they are working on.

The LCI-Canada has held three meetings since the last CCA boarding meeting, which took place in Prince George, B.C. this past summer. It has developed a terms of reference, established membership fees, set out objectives, formed its governing council comprised of owners, design professionals and contractors, and set out priorities to carry out.

"One of the things about lean, is that it's a sharing of information. Companies share amongst each other," Massicotte told members of the General Contractors Council.

And the objectives of the group illustrates that sentiment, stating the LCI-Canada will develop an environment to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience; deliver education training; deliver a certification/accreditation program; challenge conventional thinking; and create industry awareness.

Among the LCI-Canada's priorities is to host an inaugural national conference which will likely be held in April 2016 in Calgary, Massicotte explained. The group also intends to launch a website in early November and help facilitate the establishment of Communities of Practice in major cities through local construction associations.

"Communities of Practice are small groups that are in local areas that actually get together to talk about lean," Massicotte added. "Local construction associations have places where people can gather. We're going to encourage individuals to set up Communities of Practice. They'll have the support of LCI. It has to be done at the local level."

As part of the education component, he stated the LCI-Canada will deliver the seven-unit series of the Associated General Contractors of America's Lean Construction Education Program in Canada.

"The uptake in the United States with lean is huge. The owners are really really pushing it," he said.

"A lot of the large contractors in the United States are on board. The curve for growth is there and it's very very attractive. I think it behooves us to follow in this."

The LCI-Canada also intends to host a series of forums across Canada "to give people a taste of what LCI is, what the institute is, what lean is," Massicotte added.

The first round of visits will be held in November and December, the report notes.

A relatively new group, LCI-Canada originated after discussions between the CCA and a group of industry members who were looking at establishing a formal lean construction body of some kind in Canada. LCI-Canada's special committee status within CCA is similar to the association's other special committees, such the Canadian Design-Build Institute.

"We like to have all the construction-related groups under one umbrella," explained Anibal Valente, current CCA chair in a previous Daily Commercial News article. "We will be able to collaborate with them, come together and become a bigger, more powerful and supported group."

Lean construction is a series of concepts and goals which aims at capitalizing on efficiencies in every construction process on a project. Canadian construction stakeholders that have participated in or are starting to learn about lean construction have stated that among its main tenets are transparency, collaboration and trust among a project's partners.

Massicotte pointed out most of the lean principles actually come from automaker Toyota.

"Toyota currently brings any of their competitors into their assembly lines and they'll show them every step of the way what they do," he said.

"Part of the lean concept is that it's continuous improvement and they feel that even though somebody will come in and look at something, by the time they go and apply it to themselves, Toyota will be that much further ahead, so there's no danger to them in losing any headway."

The CCA has worked at defining its role when it comes to lean construction since its 2014 spring board meeting in Victoria, B.C.

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