Lean Infrastructure: Improving Productivity

Our team were engaged to help improve construction productivity and reduce the total man-hours required to assemble and erect a tower.

The client is a state-owned enterprise that owns and operates a high-voltage transmission network in Australasia. The alliance construction project was to build a new high voltage line to carry electricity to one of Australasia’s biggest and fastest-growing cities.

Operating under a joint partnership the project was to manage the construction of the line which comprised of 426 steel towers and spanned 190 km between the generation plant and the destination sub-station. The $AUD 700m project was due to be completed in May 2012. Our team were engaged to help improve construction productivity and reduce the total man-hours required to assemble and erect a tower, reducing program delays and delivering a lower build cost.


project saving to project completion


overall reduction in man-hours per tonne


Cost avoidance: projected cost of $19k per tower was decreased to $7.4M actual for project completion


- Construction man-hours sustained at the budgeted man-hours per tonne for steel erected
- Crane costs per site decreased progressively
- The delivery risk that was dramatically reduced
- Transparency of project performance greatly improved and communication was more regular and consistent
- The team were now able to react in real-time to solve problems and avoid the waste that was commonly experienced when construction teams were deployed to sites that were not ready or required rework
- Cost avoidance: projected cost of $19k per tower was decreased to $7.4M actual for project completion


Our team commenced with an intensive opportunity search, analysing work activity and engaged the construction workers and supervisors to understand the barriers to improved productivity. We introduced Lean project management and focus on the elimination of waste, putting Lean construction into context for front-line workers.
- Engaged the construction teams in the Identification of ideas that would achieve the target state and created buy in from all key stakeholders in the deliverability.
- Risk profiled, ranked and prioritised the ideas.


- Defined the investment in capital expenditure and other resources.
- Produced business cases and plans to realise the priority opportunities.
- Trained and developed construction teams to understand the benefits of Lean and how to implement Lean techniques. Workshops were held with internal team members to coach tools and techniques that would help with staff engagement.
- Reviewed all construction stages and processes for the whole of the build, facilitating the decision on the priorities with the construction staff and managers.
- Understood the current state, looking at systems, data, finance, measures, benefits, commitment, capacity (resource required), capability, complexity and the timescale.
- Conducted thorough stakeholder analysis and engagement activities.
- Led robust data analysis to understand the ‘true conditions’, of build status and efficiency.



- Process mapped the key documentation that is required to commence work.
- Identified duplication and significant delays in authorisation of documents.


- Developed a Visual Project Centre that shows the status of the key tasks on the detailed work plan and greatly improves coordination and speed of decision making.
- Actively challenged field crew leaders to plan their site projects in advance and assign the men to specific job tasks.
- Launched Job-a-man-a-day planning and goal setting for all crew members.
- Coached the leaders of the main work fronts and defined standard meeting. agendas and tracked attendance.
- Organisational Structure and Roles and Responsibilities Review.
- Redefined core responsibilities for supervisors and team leaders.
- Coached team leaders on job management, forcing them to spend less time on the tools and more time leading teams.


- Implemented new systems for tracking and reporting man-hours for tower construction and foundation crews.
- Introduced project-wide performance indicators (KPI’s) and coached senior management team in conducting weekly KPI reviews and setting accountabilities for future performance.
- Identified opportunities for tighter control of expenditure in cranage, hiab transport of steel and general vehicle movements.


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