Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


2.1 CIVIL ENGINEERING, Architecture engineering, Construction engineering, Municipal and structural engineering

Publication Details

Andreou, A., McAuley, B., Hore, A. and Behan, A. (2021) An Exploration of Lean and BIM synergies with a focus on SMEs in Construction , Proceedings of the 5th CitA BIM Gathering, Online, September 21st - 23rd , pp 23-28


Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) account for 99.7% of the Irish Construction Industry and contribute to 68% of all employment in the sector. These organisations now find themselves facing the challenge of returning to productive business post the Covid 19 shutdown. More than ever, SMEs must modernise and adapt their business models to embrace new ways of working, such as Lean Construction and Building Information Modelling (BIM), in the absence of clear business incentives. It has proved difficult to persuade SMEs to change their ways of working due to limited finances, internal resources and above all, the cultural shift required to embrace new ways of working. The vast bulk of Irish construction SMEs are accustomed to working in a sector that produces low product quality, budget overruns, and substantial construction waste. When partnered with lean construction, BIM can address many of these issues, as the two processes can work together to target and eliminate waste while streamlining the value stream. The primary goals of lean construction are to maximise value and minimise waste. Therefore, BIM can be seen as a lean tool that helps eliminate waste and, at the same time, increases business opportunities and promotes sustainability. This paper will explore the synergies between Lean and BIM in the context of construction SMEs through a literature review. The findings will address a number of barriers to entry for SMEs, focusing on how digital technologies, such as BIM can complement lean construction in targeting major types of wastes. Some of the barriers identified include financial and legal concerns, lack of implementation strategies/guides, knowledge retainment, training impendiments, software and hardware restrictions, as well as employee resistance.