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First LCI-C lean conference coming to Calgary in April

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by Russell Hixson

The recently formed Lean Construction Institute of Canada (LCI-C) will host its first annual conference and annual general meeting in Calgary this April where attendees can be trained in lean methods and learn from speakers.
First LCI-C lean conference coming to Calgary in April

"Collectively we are just all really concerned about the performance of the building industry over the last number of decades," said LCI-C co-chair Kathleen Lausman.

"Productivity has remained static or actually declined relative to any other industry, discounting farm labour."

Lausman added that roughly 70 per cent of projects go over budget or are delivered late, and construction still has the greatest incidence of injuries. As well, she said, project participants operate in silos, leading to lack of trust, confrontation and waste.

"We simply decided it is time to make a change," she said.

At the conference, running from April 6-8, there will be sessions on how to incorporate lean practices into one's businesses, and how the principles of lean can enhance productivity, improve profitability and help industry achieve better results with less waste. Canadian construction stakeholders that have participated in or are starting to learn about lean construction have reported that among its main tenets are transparency, collaboration and trust among a project's partners.

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) announced the establishment of LCI-C last summer as a special committee of the association. It originated after discussions between the CCA and a group of industry members who were looking to establish a formal lean construction body in Canada. LCI-C's special committee status within CCA is similar to the association's other special committees, such the Canadian Design-Build Institute.

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

The institute believes the building industry needs to improve value delivered by capital projects while reducing waste. According to the institute, deep application of lean principles throughout the industry including the definition of needs, design, construction and operation of capital facilities will continuously improve industry value.

Lausman said the institute is working closely with lean experts from the U.S., which has had a lean institute for more than 20 years.

"We are taking a really good lesson from our cousins in the States," Lausman said.

"They have seen a huge growth in their conference attendance numbers over the last six years...The importance and awareness of lean construction is growing exponentially and we expect we are going to pick up on a lot of that vibe and awareness with a focus on the Canadian market."

The institute currently has a mandate that focuses on education and training. LCI-C is focusing on delivering and setting up sharing opportunities in various communities. The institute has also been travelling across the country to various associations educating members on lean construction.

"We have had really good turnouts and lots of interest. The word is out there," Lausman said.

"We will continue to do a lot more outreach."

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