Skip to main content
building frame construction site at sunset showing lean construction principles

Construction Industry Embraces Lean Construction

Lean Construction is a set of standards set forth to achieve smarter manufacturing and management of building projects. The ultimate goal for builders who embrace lean construction is higher customer satisfaction through delivering a better project at a lower cost, with less waste of both materials and labor. The Lean Construction movement seeks to transform a traditionally inefficient industry. The Lean Construction Institute reports 70% of building projects to come in late or over budget.

Lean Construction gives builders guidelines that include modern project management techniques to deliver better results. Fabric structures can play an important role in helping builders manage building sites and deliver projects on time, on budget and while meeting their goals of less waste, higher efficiency, and better quality.

What is Lean Construction?

What is lean construction? The construction industry is working to adopt quality standards that have become standard in other major industries, such as the automotive industry. The Toyota Production System that defines the world-class quality and value delivered by the Japanese Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles is a high global standard. Concepts like JIT (“Just in Time”) inventory, TQM (“Total Quality Management” and SPC (“Statistical Process Control”) are concepts that drive the best quality processes. They are now being built into construction project software tools, training, and processes.

One of lean construction’s major goals is to reduce waste. This principle incorporates and encourages green building, the use of natural materials in design as well as designing for low energy use in both the building design and operation and during the construction process itself. It includes planning the purchase and handling of building materials for less waste and less loss due to poor planning, human error, weather damage or other issues. It also means planning for the recycling of discarded building materials and using materials in a new construction that will be salvageable or recyclable when no longer needed.

Tension fabric buildings are one tool that builders following lean construction practices can count on to help them reach their goals for more effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly projects.

Tension Fabric Buildings a Partner in Lean Construction

large fabric lean construction shelter over construction site in snow from across the street


Tension fabric buildings are providing more indoor space solutions worldwide than ever before. One clear reason is that the use of fabric buildings satisfies a number of the goals of lean construction. The modular, low-impact profile of fabric structures means they can be installed at almost any location, regardless of terrain, and without leaving a permanent scar on the landscape. Reusable and configurable tension fabric buildings offer most of the same useful features of traditional buildings, without the environmental footprint and construction waste of brick and mortar buildings. Their design and flexibility fit the need for speed and simplicity in our fast-paced, modern environments, with rapid installation, modifications, and removal.

Most importantly, in the area of lean construction, tension fabric structures provide a number of advantages to help general contractors work more efficiently, with less waste and deliver higher customer satisfaction.

Role of Tension Fabric Structures in Lean Construction Projects

Tension fabric structures provide a broad range of advantages when used at a construction project site. Used as a temporary construction site shelter, a tension fabric building can protect the worksite, allowing work to stay on track and on schedule no matter the weather, helping the builder meet lean construction workplace productivity goals, and protecting materials tools and equipment to reduce loss and waste.

These high ceiling, clear span structures can cover structures under construction, or be used to house a range of construction operations, from warehousing to administrative. For more effective and efficient use of labor and to help keep the project safe from the elements and on schedule, these sturdy temporary fabric structures can be used to protect the worksite and work crews from wind, rain, snow or excessive heat. They can be put to use as production space to assemble and finish building components in a factory-type setting right on the job site. The indoor space can be used to organize space for rework, inspection and many other quality control procedures. These structures provide protected space to store materials, tools and equipment.

The tension fabric structure’s spacious interior provides lighting to facilitate round the clock work or extended workdays. The building can serve as an onsite headquarters for construction project management, materials shelter and warehouse, equipment repair facility and even provide a worker break area to keep crews at their best. Installation takes a few days, and when the project is done, or moves to a new location, the structure is easily removed or relocated at the site.

Fabric Structures Designed with Lean Construction in Mind

Tension fabric structures have a number of features that reflect lean construction principles:

  • Modular, lightweight and simple, flexible-use design that adapts easily for many uses
  • Recyclable, fully salvageable, high grade aluminum alloy frame
  • Reusable, fabric has service life of many decades and aluminum frame lasts indefinitely
  • PVC fabric cover is UV and heat reflective to keep energy costs down
  • Bright white interior reduces interior lighting costs
  • Lightweight aluminum frame saves energy during transport
  • Save on construction materials, and no construction waste is generated
  • Avoid environmental damage, with no foundation required
  • Low maintenance costs (does not rust, corrode or grow mold or mildew)
  • Install only what space you need, and easily adjust size and accessories when needs change
  • Low cost relative to traditional construction

Tension fabric structures are highly durable and can be used as temporary or permanent structures, making it easy to add space to existing facilities without need for a traditional buildout project. These highly engineered, aluminum-framed structures perform, and are manufactured and installed, following the principles of lean construction, including design for durability, energy efficiency and low operating costs. They are configured and customized at the factory for quick, low-impact installation at the site.

For more information on the advantages of including tension fabric structures in your lean construction project plan, call Allsite Structure Rentals at 888-599-5112 and speak with one of our experts.

Author Jason Cromwell

Jason Cromwell is the General Manager of Allsite Structure Rentals. He has a degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Jason is a 12 year veteran in all matters related to Tension Fabric Structures with Allsite Structure Rentals and has over 20 years of sales, operations, and management experience. Read more about Jason and the rest of our team at https://allsitestructures.com/about/

More posts by Jason Cromwell

Leave a Reply