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Benefits of Applying Lean Principles to Electrical Prefabrication
As of June 18, 2018

Published on: 
January 8, 2015

Prefabrication can provide benefits that include increased productivity and safety, decreased jobsite congestion, reduced waste, improved product quality, and cost savings. These are the key components of a recent study, Exploring the Opportunities for Applying Lean Principles to Electrical Prefabrication, commissioned by ELECTRI International – the Foundation for Electrical Construction Inc. 

Exploring the Opportunities for Applying Lean Principles to Electrical PrefabricationThe Oregon State University research team of Yizhe Yang, Hyun Woo Lee, and Mahmoud Shakouri built the study upon two premises. First, electrical construction lags behind mechanical construction in terms of prefabrication. Second, the application of lean construction principles is beneficial for prefabrication.

Using a combination of interviews and case studies, the investigative team worked to determine the unique prefabrication barriers that electrical contractors face, to identify the lean construction principles that would help overcome such barriers, and to demonstrate effective ways to apply lean principles to electrical prefabrication.

The case studies used for this report included four projects of different electrical prefabrication levels: Hanger Cables for Lighting Fixtures; Conduit Bending without BIM; Conduit Bending with BIM; and Electrical Box Assemblies. Photographs and flow charts for each case study amplify the text presented in the report.

In their conclusion, researchers reconfirm the original hypothesis that projects with more lean principles in place provide more opportunities for electrical prefabrication. However, they also note that the full benefits of prefabrication for electrical construction will only be reaped when the culture of continuous improvement within each company is created and the prefabrication process is streamlined.

The full report is available at

For additional information about the ELECTRI International research agenda and the portfolio of its available reports, contact Sylvia Selwood, Director of Operations and University Relations at 301-215-4539 or