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LCI-C launching lean construction certification

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by Lindsey Cole

As lean principles continue to gain traction across the country, the Lean Construction Institute of Canada (LCI-C) is rolling out a framework for a new certification program as a way to encourage education and showcase industry expertise.
LCI-C launching lean construction certification

"It seems to be growing, I can't keep up with all the lean projects," explained Art Winslow of Graham Construction, who is also a part of LCI-C.

"We started down an education path. We were thinking we were going to bring courses to the public, but we found there's a lot of other people doing that across the country. So we switched gears. We've created a mechanism for actually being able to certify those who have training in the country."

While more details will be released at the LCI-C's conference, taking place in Toronto May 3 to 5, Winslow shared several key aspects of the program during a presentation at the Vertical Building Forum, which was part of the CCA's 99th annual conference in Mexico.

Lean is a set of tools for all types of delivery models, but it's also a mindset based on the lean principles of defining value; mapping a value stream; creating flow; establishing pull; and the pursuit of perfection. The idea behind lean is to capitalize on efficiencies in every construction process on a project. All parties work together, the owner, architect, contractor and any others involved.

The new Canadian Lean Construction Certification Program will have three levels of certification: lean project delivery fundamentals; lean project co-ordinator; and lean project facilitator.

"We want to recognize a broad spectrum of lean education from all sources and all disciplines," Winslow said. "We want people to start getting certified in this country."

LCI-C is finalizing the training options and requirements for each level, anticipating that examinations will be available in the near future, a release reads.

Winslow stated those who complete level one will end up with a "good understanding of the business case for LPD (lean project delivery), learned the basic principles of value and creating flow, identify and give examples of the eight wastes" as well as explain what the basic lean tools are and how they can be applied.

Level two certification is for applicants who have developed competencies in LPD and have experience implementing lean methods and tools within their organizations and on projects.

Level three is for those who have developed advanced competencies in LPD and have led a project team to "successful completion on multiple projects and helped build lean capacity in the construction industry."

"With the establishment of this certification program, LCI-C is confident that it has a certification in place that sets a standard of excellence as it relates to lean construction practices," said LCI-C co-chair Kathleen Lausman in a statement. "We are extremely excited about how this certification program will contribute to a more productive industry, from procurement, to design and to construction."

The LCI-C has been operating for about two years and is now just shy of 100 members, Winslow explained. He added the May conference will present an opportunity to explain the certification program more fully as it includes a training day for learning all about lean.

"I've been in this business for 28 years," he said, with most of his projects being lump sum or design-build. "Most of it was very adversarial. So it took me a while to adapt to this (using lean)."

Winslow was involved in Canada's first fully integrated lean IPD project, the Moose Jaw Hospital in Saskatchewan. He said it took him six months to a year to fully grasp the lean concept while on that project.

"It took me a long time to adapt, I fought it all the way. Eventually I got there and I'm a big proponent of it now, as you can see," he added.

For more information about the LCI-C conference, visit lcicanada.ca/events.

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