“I thought I saw it once. Rooms designed in twelve foot dimensions, footing dimensions in 24” increments. Sheetrock scraps wouldn’t fill a wheelbarrow. My phone never rang, the trades had all the information they needed and only the information they needed. Then just like that it disappeared, leaving me to wonder if I was only dreaming.”
This could be a quote from a production manager in any area in the country. The truth is that there are many myths about Lean Design. One of the biggest misconceptions is that somehow Lean Design can be produced in a bubble. This is simply not true. Lean design can only be generated with the experience gained in the field. The trades hold the secrets necessary to achieve our goals. If the trades are not involved in some level of the design process then lean will not be achieved.
Architects must act as modern day alchemists by weaving strong value-engineered marketable planning and aesthetics with the current construction techniques, processes and wisdom of the trades and production managers. This process can be achieved by creating a team environment where the trades feel comfortable divulging their knowledge. When achieved you can count on a flood of Lean-designed home sightings. Until then they will just be the stuff of myths and legends.