How Can the Irish Construction Industry Become Less Fragmented and More Productive?


  • Philip Toland
  • David Collery



Lean, delivering education, Barriers, Project Management, Irish Construction Industry


Globally the Construction Industry is in a fragmented state and the Irish Construction Industry (ICI) is no exception. The ICI has a history of delivering National infrastructure projects over time and over budget. Irish Government publications have identified that low productivity within the ICI is a prevalent issue. Lean construction (LC) is proposed in this research as an antidote to assist the ICI in becoming less fragmented and more productive. Research indicates that successful incorporation of lean methodologies can cut completion times by 30% and costs by 15%. Further research demonstrates that Construction Industries (CI) are lacking the education required to implement lean methodologies. There is a lack of awareness within the ICI regarding the principles and benefits of lean. Lean Construction Ireland (LCI) membership numbers are increasing at a glacial pace. Traditional project management techniques that are autocratic in nature and focus on critical path items and milestones are extensively used in the ICI. These techniques prioritize measuring metrics such as commercial performance which means measuring other performance related metrics such as workflows slip down the order of seniority. This approach conflicts with the principles of lean and limits the opportunity for continual improvement. There is therefore a requirement for government, management, leaders and all project stakeholders to change their way of thinking regarding their project management techniques and embrace change. Aligning these stakeholders will strengthen the entire Irish Construction Supply Chain and only then will the benefits of lean be fully realized. Building Information Modelling (BIM), whilst not technically a lean tool shares multiple characteristics of lean and is further vehicle that can assist in this transition. The results suggest that with enhanced education in lean, alignment of project stakeholders, an overhaul of traditional project management techniques and heavier incorporation of BIM that a shift towards lean and higher productivity is possible for the ICI.