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Takt planning in construction - Introduction

Agile and lean tools have been common use for a few decades in manufacturing, software development, and other industries. However the construction industry is still behind. Takt time is one of tools that can bring lean and agile to your construction sites. Here you'll learn about the basics of takt planning in construction.

What is Takt planning?

Takt time, takt manufacturing, takt planning, or simply Takt (from german Takt = rhythm) is a method of manufacturing and construction that aims to split an assembly or construction process into smaller, low variability sequential tasks, and create a steady and predictable flow of work and output.

While new digital tools and lean construction philosophy are giving takt in construction a new life, takt is not a new method. Takt planning dates back to as far as the 16th century with ship building techniques in Venice. Takt was and still is an integral part of the Toyota Production System (TPS), which is a foundational part of lean philosophies.

The clearest example of what Takt time wants to achieve is the traditional assembly line in a factory. Each unfinished product starts at the beginning of the assembly line and will visit assembling stations sequentially. There, specialised workers will execute a set of tasks on the product.

A key factor in this process is that each station is specialised in a single step of the assembly lifecycle, allowing a significant reduction in the task execution time variability. This low variability - ie. increased predictability - is important because the entire conveyor belt will move forward, and all the products will advance one station forward at the same time. We want to ensure all stations are ready by the time it does.

Because the products will move steadily through the assembly line, we will also accomplish a steady and predictable output of completed products at the end.

Takt time planning in construction

By now you might have realised that in a construction project there is no product (in the traditional sense), and there is no conveyor belt carrying a product either. So how can this be applied to a construction site?

We can make a small change to our process and adapt it to a construction project - We can make the product fixed, and move the assembly stations instead.

Now we can apply it to a construction project: we will consider the product to be individual areas in a construction site, and because the areas can't move, we will move the teams forward to the next space at the end of each takt.

Putting this all together we can create a moving assembly line in a construction project.

Which projects benefit the most with takt?

Takt planning can give you radical improvements in your project, by cutting up to 20% of your project length, reducing the amount of work in progress, and allowing your client to use some of the spaces well before the project is completed. However not all projects will get the same benefits.

While Takt can be applied to a wide variety of project types, a key aspect of takt is the repeatability and low variability of each stage of the assembly line. This means that projects who need to apply the same sequence of tasks to multiple spaces will get the most benefits. Some examples of such projects include:

  • Hotel rooms and hotel areas

  • Office spaces

  • Hospital, prison and other public utilities

  • Cruise ships

  • Oil and gas pipelines, bridges and other element infrastructures.

  • Condominium housing projects

  • Pipe and line renovations in residental buildings

  • Etc.

Another factor to consider is your client's requirements. With project such as hotel renovations, takt allows your client to start using the finished units well before the entire project is concluded, reducing losses and business impacts to the client. The monitoring tools used in takt time will also provide transparency and visibility, greatly improving client satisfaction.

Want to know if your project will benefit from Takt time?

Contact us at Mestamaster, and let's discuss your needs. Meet with one of our specialised consultants for free and without any commitment.



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