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A Solution to Control Waste in Construction

March 2019

With Lean thinking and techniques, there are cost savings by control of waste. Here, Prakash Patil, Secretary General, Institute for Lean Construction Excellence (ILCE), and Vice President-Projects, Tata Realty and Infrastructure, cites an example: “Suppose you are using a tower crane, you can track the amount of time it is in use, and accordingly use it for other purposes to optimise. Similarly, when you buy steel and other materials or equipment, they, at times, lie on site for months. But if properly tracked, you call for the steel just in time and save huge on cost of money as well as storage space. Stakeholders of any project lose in the range of 20 per cent on cost due to such wastes, which can be avoided.”

In agreement, Kamal Hadker, Chairman and Managing Director, Sterling Engineering Consultancy Services, points out that Lean helps save storage space at site. In India, machinery lies idle half the time but the cost gets loaded onto the project. As an example, he says, “If I need 2,400 tonne of cement at an interval of a month, I would keep replenishing it rather than storing it. Then, I don’t need a large storage godown at site.” He recalls the time, when designing a hotel building, that he questioned the client whether they were sure the hotel rooms would be required by the time the project was complete. “We then designed the building such that it could be used for a hotel and also converted into an office building. So, it is important that these things are embodied in the design itself.” 

- SERAPHINA D’SOUZA