Toward a holistic view on lean sustainable construction: A literature review

Sam Solaimani*, Mo Sedighi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The need for sustainable built environment is pressing; an urgency that spans environmental, economic and social values of sustainability. Since late 1980s, the Lean philosophy has been adopted in the construction sector, with a focus on efficiency, predominantly as a function of economic competence. More recently, however, the Lean principles and practices have been revisited and increasingly used to create and preserve social and environmental values as well. The result was a growing, but dispersed, body of knowledge on sustainability and Lean construction, and hence, equivocal about how Lean contributes to sustainability. By means of a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) based on 118 journal articles from 1998 to 2017, this article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of “how Lean helps achieve and maintain sustainability in construction sector”. The findings are structured into a holistic framework, which underlines a multidimensional approach toward sustainability, i.e., focus on stakeholders, across various construction phases, while simultaneously being heedful of concerns regarding people, planet, and profit. It became clear that the current body of knowledge is mainly skewed toward economic values, which calls for more research in the social and environmental aspects of construction. This study assembles a palette of existing best practices, based on which scholars’ and practitioners’ can balance their efforts across three dimensions of sustainability. Moreover, it identifies several under-researched areas of Lean sustainable construction that have the potential to be expanded in by future researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119213
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Lean construction
  • Sustainability
  • Systematic literature review
  • Triple bottom line


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