Go Lean in 2010: Reducing Waste in Construction

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , January 4, 2010

"Usually when you construct a facility you do it generically, you reduce variations. But some areas are serving different needs and those may need more or less space. By using Lean thinking, and having the mock-ups we got a true picture of what we needed," says Evans. "We ended up with five of these macro mock-ups before we finalized the plan, and the team really found them beneficial. There's just no way we could have gotten all that by looking at a paper plan."

Toyota's Lean Model has been used for nearly every type of business, so it's not unusual that it made its way into construction. What is unique to Seattle Children's Hospital is the extensive application of the tenets.

By taking one extra step of creating a life-size mock up to test out the inefficiencies in their design, they were actually able to trim time from the architectural design process as well as prevent delays during construction by addressing new ideas in the mock-up phase and not the building one. The Lean process has proven successful for Seattle Children's Hospital, the project is on budget, and is expected to open on schedule this July.

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Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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