The lean philosophy focuses on eliminating waste and maximizing productivity through the pull system, employee involvement, continuous improvement, etc. Much has been discussed about the waste elimination and productivity improvement that can be achieved by applying the lean concept. However, as the consideration of the environment is becoming an increasingly important part of the construction culture, there is a need to investigate the applicability of the lean concept to achieve environmental sustainability, which is often used interchangeably with the term “green”.

This research therefore aims to investigate the contribution of the lean concept to achieve low-carbon installation in precast concrete construction sites through a case study in Singapore. The life cycle assessment (LCA) results show that the lean concept can be adopted to reduce carbon emissions in terms of eliminating waste and inappropriate erection arrangements. In the installation cycle of a specific type of precast concrete column, an amount of 20.9kg carbon emissions (71.0%) is caused by wastes and inappropriate erection arrangements and can be reduced by applying lean principles through a detailed simulation. Many lean management practices in site layout, delivery, stock and erection management are identified in this paper. Based on the results, contractors can start to apply lean principles to improve the installation cycle and eventually achieve low-carbon installation.

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Author notes

1. Department of Construction Management, School of Built Environment, Curtin University, Australia. Tel: +61 (08) 9266 4723. Email: