DBIA Upstate hosted a seminar entitled “A LEAN Approach to Design-Build”. The seminar was led by LeChase Construction’s Regional Operations Manager Lee Sommerman, and Project Manager John Grande Thursday, April 20th at Rochester’s ButaPub in the Historic German House. Their discussion focused on how a Design-Build project and the introduction and application of LEAN practices led to the successful University of Rochester’s Imaging Building project. Mr. Sommerman opened the session with a light-hearted “Safety Moment”, showing the German House egress points and instructing members of the audience on how to exit the building in an orderly fashion in case of emergency.
After briefly discussing their decision to submit a Design-Build LEAN bid, Mr. Sommerman and Mr. Grande commended the entire team for their work on the project. The owner (University of Rochester) LeChase, and their architect/engineering partner Clark, Patterson, and Lee - both of whom have significant experience with Design-Build construction and LEAN practices, achieved the University’s requirement for a spa-like, relaxing and welcoming 92,000 SF facility with two weeks to spare. Mr. Sommerman attributed the success of the project (which he defined as: happy clients; on-time and on-budget delivery; zero lost-time incidents; and happy invested subcontractors) to the Design-Build team’s collaborative approach and LEAN construction practices.
LEAN projects are developed and managed through collaborative relationships, shared knowledge and common goals. By breaking down and reorganizing knowledge, work, and effort silos, LeChase was able to shorten schedules and dramatically reduce waste by creating a clean, orderly work environment.
Mr. Grande gave an example of how they used the LEAN practice of Pull Planning to negotiate schedule milestones and deadlines with the entire team. Having each contractor commit to deadlines at a group session helped all stakeholders see the big picture, understand dependencies, establish accountability and foster a unified sense of urgency to meet the schedule. Pull Planning also helped the project management team to effectively coordinate material deliveries, keeping the site clean and organized. Mr. Grande was impressed with the peaceful site dynamic – people were focused, working in an environment with no chaos, no clutter, and a minimum of waste.
The speakers tag-teamed the presentation and the lively question and answer period that followed. In addition to providing details about the design decisions, approach, and other factors that contributed to the successful completion of the project, they also discussed lessons learned and how they addressed major challenges that arose during construction.
DBIA Upstate would like to thank DBIA Board Member Mr. Sommerman and his associate Mr. Grande for an excellent presentation, with a special thank you to ButaPub for making this a successful event.