President’s Letter: A Better Way

October_ArchNews DRAFT pg 1-5_Page_2_Image_0001Last spring, we held a monthly program on Lean Construction with a panel of practitioners representing architects, builders and owners. At the end of the meeting, we did a plus/delta (that’s where suggestions for improvements on the presentation, delta, and encouragement for continuation, plus, are noted). One of the deltas was that we didn’t have enough time to get more detailed information about Lean Construction.

As a countermeasure to that specific delta from the program, we have partnered with the LCI NorCal COP to present our first joint monthly program. Following to that monthly program from last year, the Lean Construction Institute’ s Northern California Community of Practice (LCI Nor Cal CoP) reached out to our chapter to host their monthly programs. Its been a great partnership between our organizations in building relationships and community around reducing waste and increasing value in projects using Lean Construction techniques.

In case you weren’t able to attend the program, here is a synopsis of Lean Construction. The three main goals of Lean are increase value, reduce waste and respect people. Increasing value is an easy goal to understand. Increasing value for the customer is first understanding what the customer wants and modifying the processes to deliver. Reducing waste is another goal in Lean. Eliminating steps that don’t add value (see previous goal) in the processes to focus on doing only those things that add value. The third goal is respecting people. This one is a little harder to understand. How does respecting people make for a better way?

One way to respect people as a part of Lean Construction, is to solicit input from people doing the work. Instead of drafting a detail in CAD, stamping it and issuing it as an ASI, the trade person doing the work can be tapped for specific knowledge on how to build that detail and improve it before it is issued to the field. Or the contractor can understand the design intent from the architect before building it and simply “follow the plans” that may not convey the intent. Each of us brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to the project and not utilizing them for the benefit of the project is a form of waste we try to reduce.

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