Lean Construction Education Program

"Lean Builders do it Better"

Everyone related to the construction process has an incentive to get the project done faster and at a lower cost - from the project owners who want to see results for their investment to the contractors and designers who want to do their job well and move on to the next project. Lean Construction is based on the holistic pursuit of continuous improvements aimed at minimizing costs and maximizing value on a construction project: planning, design, construction, activation, operations, maintenance, salvaging, and recycling.

To help contractors develop the knowledge needed to build Lean, the Associated General Contractors of America developed the Lean Construction Education Program (LCEP). Construction professionals at all experience levels will learn the building blocks necessary to transform their projects and companies into a Lean Operating System.

To register for the Lean Construction courses and CM-Lean exam, please follow the steps below.

Introducing AGC's virtual option. Click here to register for an upcoming course.

This Lean Construction 101 course serves as the introductory course to the AGC Lean Construction Education Program and is the starting point for your Lean Construction journey. 

This 50 minute self-paced e-learning course provides a foundation of the key concepts and terms used in Lean Construction, providing you with the background necessary to further your Lean Construction education.

Following this course, you will be able to:

  • List examples of Lean Construction in practice
  • Discuss the benefits of Lean Construction
  • Define Lean Construction
  • Explain the origins of Lean Construction
  • Describe Lean Construction tools
  • Identify Lean Construction implementation opportunities

Click on the link below to participate in the self-paced interactive course.

Lean 101:  Foundations of Lean Construction

The Lean Construction Education Program courses are predominately offered by AGC Chapters throughout the country with both in-person and virtual offerings. Locate upcoming classes through the Lean Course Calendar (link is external)

After navigating to the Lean Course Calendar (link is external) find an upcoming course and click on the date to view the class details.

Register directly with the AGC Chapter for your courses.

If you cannot locate a Lean Construction course in your area, we recommend contacting your local AGC Chapter using the Chapter Finder, and request that the course be scheduled in the future.

If you have a large group to train, you may bring the courses in-house to your organization. Click here to see how you can bring AGC’s Lean Construction Education Program to your organization.

The highly interactive program provides 35-hours of instruction and training to provide construction industry professionals at all levels with the knowledge and skills to take advantage of the benefits of Lean Construction. Click on the links below to learn more about each unit.

Unit 1 is an introduction to Lean Construction and its guiding tenets.

  • Lesson 1 – Why Lean?
  • Lesson 2 – What is Lean & Respect for People
    The first two lessons answer the questions Why Lean? and What is Lean?  Then it introduces participants to the six tenets of Lean Construction and explains how Respect for People is a fundamental goal of Lean as we work to develop people and make work an enriching experience.
  • Lesson 3 – Generate Value, Remove Waste, & Optimize the Whole
    Explains the way value is defined by the customer, and that each customer will define value differently. Instructors illustrate that non-value-adding activities are pure waste. Lean uses the principle of prioritizing flow efficiency as a key means to generate value and remove waste.
  • Lesson 4 – Continuous Improvement
    Defines continuous improvement and provides an understanding of how Plan-Do-Check-Act, PDCA, supports continuous improvement. Participants will practice PDCA in a group exercise.

Unit 2 introduces Lean Construction processes and how they work, diving deep into the last tenet, Focus on Process and Flow.

  • Lesson 1 – Process, Efficiency & Variation
    Provides a description of what a process and process flow are, then describes what makes a process efficient. From there instructors define what variation, what it looks like in our work, and what causes it, so in the next lesson we can see how variation impacts a process, its flow, and its efficiency and what that means for our projects.
  • Lesson 2 – Law of Variation
    Explains how variation, buffers, and consistency affect project performance, and identify the characteristics and consequences of unreliable workflow and reliable workflow. Participants will learn these lessons firsthand in the Parade of Trades simulation.
  • Lesson 3 – Variation Mitigation
    Describes buffers, buffer sizing and other means to mitigate variation. Participants learn specific techniques for reducing variation, and the importance of process consistency.
  • Lesson 4 – 5S
    Shows how 5S is another Lean method to help reduce variation on projects, and it does much more. It is a means for pursuing continuous improvement. It helps us reduce waste. It shows respect for people by improving their work environment and contributing to a safer workplace.

Unit 3 is a continuation of the discussion of Lean production systems which falls under focus on flow that along with the other tenets of Lean form the basis for the Last Planner System and other Lean Construction Methods.

  • Lesson 1 – Lean Production Systems
    The overall lesson objective is to introduce key terms and recognize aspects of common practice to create a Lean production system for construction that prioritizes flow efficiency.
  • Lesson 2 – Batch-Pull-Balance-Takt Simulation
    Participants experience the effects of batching, pull, balancing and takt on a production system by completing the Batch, Pull, Balance, Takt Exercise.
  • Lesson 3 – Lean Production Systems – Pull
    The focus is on Pull as part of the control for the system. Participants learn how pull helps manage variation and explain the impact of pull control on production systems.
  • Lesson 4 – Lean Production Systems – Law of Bottlenecks & Balance, Little’s Law & Batching
    The overall objective for this lesson is for participants to recognize the impact of batching on construction production and flow efficiency by looking at Little’s Law and the risks and advantages of batching.

In Unit 4 we examine the Last Planner System®, LPS, for the construction phase of project delivery and how it applies the six tenets of Lean Construction.

  • Lesson 1 – Introduction to Last Planner System® (LPS)
    Describes how the LPS is a method of planning and control for the entire project. LPS is a common starting point for companies or projects embarking on a Lean journey. This lesson introduces LPS in terms of how it embodies the six tenets both in its design and goals in the context of field production.
  • Lesson 2 – Details of the Last Planner System
    Describes the ideal for running the full LPS. Participants will learn the different tools, visuals, and formats that are used, but their goal of each conversation is the same.This lesson shows the steps of the Last Planner System and how it gets more detailed the closer teams get to the work. As the lesson progresses participants see the purpose of each level of the LPS, and how the levels of the LPS work together. Participants will identify methods to encourage trade partner participation in each level of the LPS, and measure to see if processes are being followed and achieving the desired results.

In Unit 5 we show how the six tenets are applied to the other parts of project delivery.

  • Lesson 1 – Lean Project Delivery
    Describes how Lean is applied to the whole project delivery system. It explains the purpose and recognizes the advantages of cross-functional teams, and why value should be defined early in the project life cycle.
  • Lesson 2 – Lean in the Supply Chain
    Looks at improvements that can be made exclusively within the supply chain with an understanding of customer value but without involving changes by design or construction.
  • Lesson 3 – Lean in Design
    Describes how value creation in design focuses on identifying and meeting customer needs through efficient and effective design processes.
  • Lesson 4 – Process Improvement & Problem Solving
    Explains how effective problem solving is focused on proactively preventing the same type of problem from occurring again because it addresses root causes. It creates a culture of problem solving where everyone brings problems forward and collaboratively works to resolve them.

Candidates who successfully complete the five AGC Lean Construction Education Program courses and provide AGC of America with a record of completion are eligible to apply for the AGC Certificate of Management-Lean Construction (CM-Lean) Exam. This assessment-based certificate credential denotes knowledge and understanding of concepts related to Lean adoption, practice and process transformation outlined in the AGC Lean Construction Education Program.

Virtual exam option now available.
AGC has partnered with ExamSoft to offer virtual exams. In seat exams still available by request in some locations.

Once you have completed all five units you are ready to complete the CM-Lean Exam Application to register for the exam. As you are filling out the form. You should not apply for your exam until you have completed all five classes.

Note:Participants may contact a representative at their nearest AGC chapter using the Chapter Finder, and request that the chapter becomes a testing center or choose AGC of America as their testing center on the application

LCI Qatar

AGC has partnered with LCI-Qatar to offer the Lean EP and CM-Lean credential. Please reach out to {https://lci.qa/} for more information.

This optional three hour self-paced e-learning course reviews the principles of Lean Construction as taught in AGC's Lean Construction Education Program. The course is designed to supplement learner's review and study of the curriculum's five units as they prepare for the CM-Lean exam. Course participants can assess their understanding of Lean Construction as they experience the audio and visual content and answer the 55 review questions as they progress through the five units of the CM-Lean Exam Prep Course. This prep course is currently available in the AGC Store for $79 for members and $99 for nonmembers.

Participants who successfully complete the Lean Education Program and pass the exam can be recognized for their accomplishment on the AGC CM-Lean Holders web directory. Further information on the Certificate of Management-Lean Construction can be found on the CM-Lean webpage.


Prior to the three-year anniversary, the CM-Lean holder must submit thirty (30) hours of Lean Construction-related continuing education (CE) hours.

CM-Lean holders will receive an updated digital badge, and their credential will be valid for an additional three (3) years.

Click learn more about the CM-Lean renewal process.