Similar to Just-in-Time (JIT) and Total Quality (TQ), Lean Design and related construction principles represent a way of doing business that has, through repeated best practices, proven to be a way of doing construction with more efficiency, savings, less waste, and greater value. Clearly, these sound like wonderful buzzwords, but the approach is geared to maximize the most out of each resource used and reduce slack time, loss, over-expending and shrinkage as much as possible, all of which contribute to the cost of a construction project over time. 

Lean Design definitely involves rethinking and reconsidering how a construction project and related project delivery is approached. For decades many have viewed the design and build process for facilities the same way. There’s a design phase, an implementation phase, and a construction phase. Everything fits in one of those three buckets of activity and cost categories. Above those sections sits overhead, which accounts for all the indirect support costs a project could have as well, from permits and licensing to general management and legal services. The Lean Design approach aligns every activity instead to how it contributes to the purpose of the facility being built. Here’s how: 

  • Every process in the facility construction is oriented to a specific customer purpose, down to each detail.
  • Every task is planned, budgeted and applied for maximum output and minimum loss to waste, slack or   shrinkage, including along the delivery process.
  • Every opportunity where additional project performance can be achieved with unique, on the spot ideas is considered, ideally to leverage a big performance gain versus only focusing on a minor cost line savings.
  • Control and project cost management is reoriented on proactive implementation versus reactive vetting and denial.
  • All planning is defined by a metric and its performance to results is measured.
  • Where specialty expertise can come in a fix a problem in a day versus the normal process scaled in over a week, the specialty work takes precedence. 

Why does Lean Design and Construction matter then? Because by building capital assets in a far more efficient manner, the ripple effects impact everyone from the client paying for the construction to the people and parties who will use the facility down the line. Even tenants who eventually receive the benefit of the facility from the owner can realize big savings in rental costs since the expense of the building, the break-even point for recovery, would conceivably be lower under a Lean Design approach than a traditional one. 

The approach also coincides with many interests focused on green business practices and pro-environmental, sustainable construction practices. From maximizing energy consumption designs on the building footprint, such as taking advantage of solar power on the roof combined with a grid connection to producing less construction waste and environmentally hazardous by-product material for landfills, Lean Design benefits multiple community stakeholders both directly and indirectly. 

Most importantly, however, Lean Design and Construction matter because they keep construction provider competitive. In our global market, the peer population who can compete for projects has grown, and many construction companies who have been the big fish in a little pond are finding themselves now working in a big ocean with lots of hungry competitors. Lean Designs puts domestic players on a better fighting position, which in turn is better for our local economy and job market as well. 

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading supplier of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipes , tubes, fittings and flanges.

Posted by Florida Realty Marketplace on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.