In Lean construction, construction engineer and junior project manager Niklas Steinfeld has discovered a field that he loves and is an expert in. Together with the teams, it allows him to add value on the construction sites – for greater efficiency, stable construction processes, and good communication across the entire project. The perfect model for the future.
Niklas Steinfeld knew about Lean construction even while studying for his degree in construction engineering, having first come into contact with the method during a practical semester in construction and project management at the Implenia office in Essen. As part of his final thesis, he then developed guidelines for applying the Lean management method to planning and monitoring finishing trades in civil engineering projects.
When set up using Lean methods, large and complex projects in particular can be implemented more quickly, better and more efficiently. “From the very start, I have been fascinated by how processes on the construction site can be optimised with Lean, thus stabilising the entire construction process. Communication plays an absolutely crucial role. There are a lot of different actors in a project, and all have to be directed towards a single goal. I quickly realised that I am good at this, and how much potential using the method offers,” explains Niklas.
«I quickly realised that I am good at this, and how much potential using the method offers.»
Niklas Steinfeld, construction engineer and junior project manager
He became interested in construction at a young age, completing several internships on construction sites while still at school. “I always knew that I wanted to work in project management when I was older. It probably comes from my dad, who also works in the construction industry and used to take me to sites when I was a child,” says Niklas.
Practical semester at Implenia Sweden
During his second degree in business engineering, he took the opportunity to complete a practical semester at Implenia in Sweden. “I just approached the head of the branch at Implenia and asked whether it would be possible to spend time abroad. They said yes within a month.” Steinfeld learned more about tunnel construction in Stockholm, but also that he sees his future more in civil engineering above ground. “I like to think about more efficient processes and to solve problems every day. The main thing I missed was the coordination meetings with all the many sub-contractors. Despite that, I gained a lot from my time in Sweden, especially from a personal point of view.”
Today, at the age of just 24, he works as a Junior Project Manager, holds two bachelor’s degrees, and is a Lean expert supervising multiple large-scale construction sites for the Implenia Civil Engineering branch in Essen, Ruhr Valley. He will shortly begin studying part-time for a master’s degree in Real Estate Management and Construction Project Management. “There we will consider the entire life cycle of a property, from planning to construction, use and even demolition. I deliberately chose this degree course because most of the teaching staff have current practical experience. That not only ensures that the topics are up to date, but also gives me an exciting opportunity to establish a network.”
«We saved nine weeks of construction time in the shell construction phase alone – for example by conducting process planning together with all the companies involved.»
He has been able to reap the first rewards of his labour already on his current construction site at Opelring in Bochum, where three office buildings with an order volume of EUR 50 million are being constructed. “It is the first project that I am really supervising as a project manager. I have been able to apply a lot of the content of my final thesis to specific situations here and it has been great to see what we can achieve. We saved nine weeks of construction time in the shell construction phase alone – for example by conducting process planning together with all the companies involved. And the best thing is, working with everyone involved in construction is a lot of fun,” laughs the ambitious construction and business engineer.
In lean construction, Niklas Steinfeld has discovered a field that he loves and is an expert in. Together with the teams, it allows him to add value on the construction sites – for greater efficiency, stable construction processes, and good communication across the entire project. The perfect model for the future.