Vico Guest Blogger Series

Lean Coordination: Good Intention, Better Process

Posted by Holly Allison on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 @ 03:15 AM


I live in an idyllic neighborhood in an historic district of the town.  Our shutters and picket fences are painted in the historically accurate shade of Essex Green and our flower boxes are always full.  We have a Board of Trustees who oversee the neighborhood upkeep and even a Garden Committee for maintaining our two parks.  (Could you guess that I’m on the Communications Committee?)


By maintenance and upkeep I mean that Mike and Kelly are in charge of mowing; Jane is responsible for weeding; Carol maintains our raised bed vegetable planters; and Steve has the weed whacker so he trims the grass at the fence line and around the raised beds.


If everyone was orchestrated to perform their task on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, we would be in great shape.  But inevitably, someone is a little under the weather, or is away on vacation.  Someone has a heavy workload at the office and just needs to take a day off.  Or there is a family party… You get the picture.  So what ends up happening is that the grass gets mowed, but it’s still a foot high at the fence and around the raised beds.  The weeds are binary – it’s either a blanket of dandelions or perfectly clean.  And the vegetables are either staked properly or getting leggy or in desperate need of water.  We can never seem to coordinate all the committee members to complete their obligations at the same time.  The intention is good, but the process is broken.


And so every year, right around July, we take a collection to hire a professional landscaper to get the two park spaces back under control.  And no one stresses about not having time or energy to mow, weed, stake, trim, etc.  In fact, we always have neighborhood parties after the landscaper crew has visited.


Isn’t this how it goes with traditional preconstruction coordination efforts?  The intention is good, but the process is very broken.  It’s a constant merry-go-round of clashes, fixes, and more clashes and all the systems manage to stay out of synch.  We lock all the subs in a room every two weeks to review clashes.  Some subs are bossy, some subs are bored out of their minds, and some subs have already factored in the cost of this into their rates, so they don’t care. 


And yet here is what happens meeting after meeting:


Meeting #1: 200 clashes identified.  Each sub is required to go back to their office and fix their assigned clashes.


Meeting #2: Sure, the original 200 clashes were fixed, but with everyone moving pipes and ducts and electrical runs, we now have 100 new clashes.


Meeting #3: We’ll lather-rinse-repeat, but the electrical sub is called away to another job and so we don’t get his changes so the meeting is delayed another week.


Meeting #4: We’re down to 100 clashes again, but construction has already started and now we’re behind and a whole lot of time, money, and effort has been wasted. 


No wonder subs dread traditional coordination meetings and Owners feel like they’re burning money!


We’re proposing a different approach.  Lean Construction principles are all about removing waste and redundancy from the system, so let’s start there.  Instead of coordination meetings with all the major players every two weeks, let’s instead appoint one person/one entity to model the project based on the construction drawing set.  Let’s agree upfront to use a defined System Priority Structure to organize and prioritize changes we’ll need to make.  (This is an important Lean point here – we refuse to model the clashes, but rather resolve the clash as we model.)  After the modeling effort, let’s report back our 80% coordinated model and present the items which didn’t fall neatly into the SPS.  Let’s use our collective brainpower and cooperation to iron out these last issues because after this the fun can begin.


traditional clash dection vs lean coordination from Vico

Caption: Traditional clash detection is like a dog chasing its tail with new clashed being created while fixing the existing problems after each meeting. Lean Coordination with Vico avoids clashes from the start by applying the logic and science of our System Priority Structure to the project modeling.


When we get to 95% coordinated, the Lean Coordination Leader can start working with the individual subs to create fabrication level of detail models…and from those models we can produce 2D installation drawings and color-coded composite drawings.  As we start receiving submittals, we can start populating a 6D model with specifications and warranty/installation information.


The end result: a coordinated project delivered 40% faster than traditional methods; a coordination process which ends up costing the Owner 50% less than traditional methods; extremely useful installation drawings for the subs; and a 6D model for facilities management.


Can somebody get me the Landscaper’s number right away?


All kidding aside, Vico offers our Lean Coordination process two ways: you can hire us directly to manage the process for you; or we can train your team how to perform this service.  Save money, save time, and eliminate waste and redundancy.  The intention is good and the Lean process is better.


Be sure to investigate these resources, too:

Webinar: Coordination Resolution - a Lean Approach to Clash and Coordination

Service: Coordination Resolution

Service: Quality Assessment and Refinement for BIM Models

Blog: Coordination Resolution Is 40% Faster than Traditional Methods

Blog: Do the Math: Lean Coordination Delivers the ROI

Webpage: What Is Clash Detection and Coordination?





Tags: Lean Construction, clash detection, Lean Coordination process, coordination resolution, coordination, 6D model for facilities maintenance, 2D installation drawings, system priority structure