Lean Construction Maturity

Why is there a need for a Lean Construction Maturity Model (LCMM)

Lean Construction (LC), a management philosophy, is known in the industry to enable organisations to achieve major improvement in terms of productivity and levels of innovation through more collaborative approaches. However, implementing LC is not an easy task for organisations and often requires fundamental changes at both – the strategic and operational level 1,2. As a philosophy, embedding LC into an organisation’s culture is key to its success. Establishing such a new philosophy requires an adjustment in culture, behaviour as well as the values of an organisation. Together it forms a complex and difficult task for any organisation which they need to manage. Nevertheless, some organisations struggle to move along in their Lean Maturation Process. They are passing through the initial phase of raising awareness and embedding some of the Lean principles and methods in pilot projects, but then they fail to acknowledge further action. Such organisations often find themselves in "no man’s land", "running in a fog", not knowing their current position in their Lean transformation process. As you can imagine it is extremely difficult to plan a journey to a set destination without knowing your current location. This analogy applies also to implementing Lean, because an organisation cannot progress to the next level, if they don’t know their current maturity level on the larger maturity scale.

Purpose and method behind the LCMM

The Lean Construction Maturity Model (LCMM) was developed to address this exact problem 4. The Maturity Models offers an assessment that organisations can measure the gap between their current state of maturity and where they want to be 3. The LCMM provides organisations with crucial information of their current position in the maturation process ("in the fog"). Furthermore, the LCMM provides businesses a tool to plan and direct organisations with support and guidance in their LC Maturation Process and embedded change. Hence the model adds value to organisations as they obtain a systemic and holistic overview of their current state of LC Maturity – this provides them with supporting information in terms of embedding LC throughout their businesses. In particular, LCMM supports organisations in measuring their journey towards greater maturity in LC.

Structure of the Model

The Model simplifies Lean Construction into 11 Key Attributes that explain LC in a simple way. These 11 Key Attributes, have been developed through 60 Behaviours, Goals & Practices, and 75 Ideal Statements that more mature organisations will exemplify. By defining a LC Maturity Assessment Method, the LCMM defines five maturity levels with which the deviation between the Ideal Statement and the current state of the assessed organisation is measured. Such an assessment is carried out on the basis of evidence, observed behaviours, actions of the organisation and its people. This LCMM was developed for LC and the construction sector to offer a proven effective practical method to enhance the understanding and awareness of LC. The LCMM is great for organisations that are either planning to embed LC or to those who are currently on their Lean journey.

Future blog posts will explain LCMM in greater details.


1. Green, S. D., Harty, C., Elmualim, A. A., Larsen, G. D., & Kao, C. C. (2008). On the discourse of construction competitiveness. Building Research & Information, 36(5), 426-435.

2. Koskela, L., & Ballard, G. (2012). Is production outside management? Building Research & Information, 40(6), 724-737.

3. Meiling, J., Backlund, F., & Johnsson, H. (2012). Managing for continuous improvement in off-site construction: Evaluation of lean management principles. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 19(2), 141-158.

4. Nesensohn, C. (2014). An Innovative Framework For Assessing Lean Construction Maturity. (PhD), Liverpool John Moores University. Retrieved from http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.602630

5. Nesensohn, C., Demir, S. T., & Bryde, D. J. (2013). Developing the True North route map as a navigational compass in a construction project management organisation. Lean Construction Journal, 2013(1), 1-18.

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