Certification is the differentiator owners have been waiting for

Certification is the differentiator owners have been waiting for

by John Bennett, Vice President of Design and Construction and Facility Management for Lehigh Valley Health Network

As a committed Lean practitioner for more than a decade, I was excited about LCI’s new certification program as soon as I learned it was in development. Now that it is live, and certification holders are beginning to come through the process, I am even more optimistic about what it will do for our industry and my ability to select best-fit partners.

The Lean Construction Institute-Certified Practitioner-Construction (LCI-CPC) is the first certification of its kind to objectively measure and validate practitioners’ ability to deploy Lean in the field. To earn certification, candidates must have at least three years of Lean construction experience, confirmed by an employer, with references backing up their qualifications. Candidates must then pass a rigorous knowledge assessment and portfolio review, showing that they’ve done more than memorize a list of facts and principles.

The LCI-CPC is the differentiator our industry needs. It’s already added value to me personally, and I know it will be a game-changer for owners committed to building a Lean future.

This certification validates that practitioners understand Lean concepts thoroughly.

As an owner’s representative for Lehigh Valley Health Network, selecting and facilitating our partner teams is one of the most important things I do. While we look for partners who practice Lean and can seamlessly blend with our practices like Integrated Project Delivery, identifying experienced Lean practitioners has long been a challenge. Anyone can say they do Lean, but the industry previously lacked a clear differentiator to demonstrate practitioners’ ability to deploy Lean in the field. Without certification, it is hard to discern an individual’s level of experience.

This certification won’t be the end-all be-all for hiring, but it will offer us so much value in vetting proposals and applications, deciding who to bring in for in-depth discussions and finding values-aligned, qualified partners for all of our Lean projects.

The LCI-CPC sets a higher bar than a typical certification. That is what LCI sought out to do, and they definitely hit that mark.

Years of experience on Lean projects matter. It’s easy for some people to read a book and memorize content. It’s a whole other layer of complexity and challenge to actually implement that in a Lean environment, in a big room, on an active construction project in the real world. And, when implemented well, practitioners learn over time the value that you get from a high performing, integrated Lean team.

The three-year requirement for certification will help candidates succeed, but it also adds weight to the certification for me as an owner. I can be confident, when I see the LCI-CPC on a resume or proposal, that this person didn’t just pick up a book or spend a few days in a classroom. Rather, they have built a foundation of nuanced understanding, applying Lean principles and contending with the realities that often challenge our best intentions and put these concepts to the test. I want to see that level of practical experience in understanding of the concepts, tools and strategies of Lean.

As an owner’s representative selecting and facilitating teams, this certification will really differentiate those that say they have Lean experience and those that actually have it. I’m looking forward to seeing the LCI-CPC on proposals and resumes as we are selecting teams for major projects in the future.

I believe in the value of certification so much that I’ve gone through the process myself.

I wanted to experience the process first-hand, to set an example not only for my partners, but for my staff.

Taking the exam was a great reason to refresh my own Lean knowledge. To prepare, I re-read a couple of my go-to reference books, “Transforming Design and Construction” and “Don’t Conform, Transform,” and reviewed references on LCI’s website. While I was really interested in leading by example and getting a feel for the process to better understand what certification represented, it was also a productive opportunity to brush up on terms and procedures and refresh my commitment to Lean.

The exam itself consists of 150 in-depth questions. With my decade of experience, I honestly found many of the questions challenging and thought-provoking. It is a meaningful exam. This is not an exam you can breeze through. To be successful, candidates really have to know this stuff inside and out and be comfortable with all of the subject areas covered. That level of rigor is reassuring to me. I know what I’m getting when I see the LCI-CPC: a skilled, experienced practitioner who truly know their stuff.

Click here to apply for the LCI-CPC!