The Lean Builder (Paperback – English)


In the face of pressing project deadlines and heavily competing priorities, the addition of unfamiliar Lean Construction processes or tools can feel intimidating, overwhelming, and easy to ignore in favor of what’s already known and comfortable.

Because we are builders as well as operations-based Lean practitioners, we understand what you’re up against.

The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field was born from the belief that there aren’t enough (if any) highly-relatable, educational materials that speak directly to the men and women who actively do the work of construction in the field: the last planners. Our desire in publishing this book was to share our passion for Lean with last planners like you and provide real benefit by actively helping you to improve your teams, your workflow, and your projects.

Our larger goal, however, is to shift our industry towards a Lean mindset and help solve the waste and dysfunction that hamstring a majority of construction projects today. With shortages of labor, a reliance on technologies, and an ever-increasing push to work faster and produce more with less, we strongly believe Lean to be the clear path forward.

The Lean Builder officially launched at the 2019 LCI Congress and has subsequently been very well received by our industry peers as well as leaders in Lean Construction. In 2021, we were honored with the Shingo Publication Award, which “recognizes and promotes writing that has had a significant impact and advances the body of knowledge regarding organizational excellence.” Since publishing The Lean Builder, we have found a tremendous acceptance and appetite in our industry for the ideas and tools the book promotes. Through our rapidly-growing LinkedIn community, in-person workshops, and speaking engagements, our vision has been repeatedly validated.

This is why—no matter where you are on your personal journey with Lean—we believe this book offers food for thought as well as practical applications that all last planners will find valuable.

Sam Brooks, a young superintendent with ProCon Builders, has been given responsibility for the largest and most complicated project of his career. He struggles with all of the common difficulties in construction — lack of communication, coordination issues, and other kinds of wasteful occurrences that rob his project of time and money, while leaving him and his team frustrated and overworked. Luckily, his friend, mentor, and co-worker, Alan Phillips, brings the benefit of his experience and his knowledge of Lean Construction tools and processes to help Sam learn valuable skills for improving the operation of his project. Together, Sam and Alan discuss the merits and explore the practical applications of:

#1 – Daily Huddles
#2 – Visual Communication
#3 – The Eight Wastes (through the lens of a construction project)
#4 – Constraint Management
#5 – Pull Planning
#6 – Last Planner System and Look-Ahead
#7 – Root Cause Analysis through Percent Plan Complete (PPC)



Shingo Institute Publication Award

The Shingo Institute—a program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University—is home of the Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that fosters continuous improvement. Part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer and Toyota adviser, Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems, and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Production System. The Shingo Publication Award recognizes and promotes writing that has had a significant impact and advances the body of knowledge regarding organizational excellence.

Additional information

Weight .4 kg
Dimensions 22.86 × 15.24 × 1.91 cm