The principles of lean thinking are rapidly gaining the attention of construction companies while client-side organizations are not catching up at the same pace. However, the client plays a crucial role in driving and setting the framework of the process throughout all phases of the project and thus has a critical influence on the successful implementation of lean. This issue has not been given enough attention in literature, especially in the Middle East. Hence, this study aims at identifying the current status of Middle Eastern clients’ characteristics, behaviors and practices throughout the different phases of a construction project. The paper investigates the lean-enabling competencies of clients from the perspective of designers and contractors through online data collection surveys. The results revealed that clients were regarded by AECs as being knowledgeable and involved. However, it appears they persist in taking unilateral decisions, especially regarding deadlines, and focusing on short-term financial goals while neglecting the importance of enforcing collaboration measures.
Clients, Lean construction, Middle East, Collaboration, Value