Lean Enabled Structural Information Modeling

Lean Enabled Structural Information Modeling

Baris Lostuvali (HerreroBoldt, USA), Jay Love (Degenkolb Engineers, USA) and Robert Hazleton (The Herrick Corporation, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-928-1.ch027
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Lean production revolution started in manufacturing with origin in the Toyota Production System (TPS). Since Womack, Jones, and Roos (1990) announced this concept as a new production paradigm, various industries including the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry have paid attention to its possible applications. While design, engineering and building practices in AEC are substantially different from manufacturing, the ideas drawn from Lean Production can be tailored for the AEC environment. The synthesis of lean production principles and techniques applied in AEC form the basis for a Lean Project Delivery System™ (LPDS). The principles of LPDS and Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies offer new approaches and opportunities to improve the quality, cost, schedule and productivity of building products in a highly fragmented multi-disciplinary sector. The case study presented in this chapter provides an overview of the synergy between the principles and tools of LPDS with BIM technologies used at the California Pacific Medical Center’s (CPMC) Cathedral Hill Hospital (CHH) project in San Francisco, California.
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1. Introduction

AEC industry is one of the largest and most complex industries in the world. Yet, it has lagged behind many other sectors in embracing new technologies that add more value to all the parties who participate in the process. The traditional tools and techniques of information flow (2D drawings, Gantt charts, spreadsheets, tables, etc.) fail to engage the critical players (stakeholders) who need to analyze opportunities to improve the project design and execution from multiple perspectives in a timely manner. As a result, the project development process is often not efficient nor effective. Opportunities to improve the constructability and usability of the design are missed, and the seeds for process inefficiencies such as overproduction, rework, and poor allocation of resources are sown.

This chapter explores the current state of Structural Information Modeling (SIM) practices in LPDS. The “Lean enabled SIM” processes described here are the best practices adopted by the “structural cluster” to enhance the collaboration between the design team and trade partners at the CHH project.

CHH is a new Acute Care and Women’s and Children’s hospital in San Francisco, California with 1,113,249 Building Gross Square Feet. The parcel size comprises approximately 105,800 square feet measuring 385 feet by 275 feet. The Preconstruction phase, including a Validation Phase, Design Phase and Construction Documents phase, began in 2007. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010 and complete by the end of 2014.

Sutter Health, one of northern California's largest health-care providers, is committed to “lean practices” as a new design and construction philosophy to execute major capital projects. As a part of this lean implementation, Sutter Health intends to reform the way buildings are designed, engineered, and constructed. Sutter Health emphasizes the following “Five Big Ideas” with its project delivery teams:

  • 1.

    Collaborate, Really Collaborate

  • 2.

    Manage as a Network of Commitments

  • 3.

    Increase the Relatedness of the Project Participants

  • 4.

    Tightly Couple Learning with Action

  • 5.

    Optimize the Project as the Whole

Figure 1.

Five Big Ideas


This chapter focuses on LPDS techniques that are tailored for the effective use of SIM technologies to optimize design and planning during preconstruction phase. Design professionals and trade partners must embrace “Lean enabled SIM” processes and ideas to find the innovative approaches that maximize the value in the project.

Figure 2.

CPMC Cathedral Hill Hospital – Conceptual Rendering


2. Background

The AEC industry is on the verge of a major transformation in terms of tools, processes and relationships precipitated by the advent of two major developments: LPDS and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Visual Control: The placement in plain view of all tools, parts, production activities, and indicators of production system performance so everyone involved can understand the status of the system at a glance.

Integrated Project Delivery Team (IPDT): Team of individuals representing different functional disciplines and/or different process segments who tackle a specific problem or perform a specific task, frequently on an ad hoc basis.

Process Mapping: A Lean planning tool used to visualize the value stream of a process, department or organization.

Waste: Lean deals with the reduction or elimination of many types of waste with lowest cost and customer defined quality as driving forces. Lean identifies seven types of waste; over-production, inventory, conveyance, correction, motion, processing, waiting In Lean, waste is called MUDA, which comes from the Japanese term for waste.

Value: A capability provided to a customer at the right time at an appropriate price, as defined in each case by the customer.

Toyota Production System (TPS): The manufacturing strategy of Toyota, widely regarded as the first implementation of Lean Manufacturing.

First Run Study: Trial execution of a process in order to determine the best means, methods, sequencing, etc. to perform it. First-run studies are done a few weeks ahead of the scheduled execution of the process, while there is time to acquire different or additional prerequisites and resources .

Lean Manufacturing or Lean Production: The philosophy of continually reducing waste in all areas and in all forms; an English phrase coined to summarize Japanese manufacturing techniques (specifically, the Toyota Production System).

Process Mapping (PM): Method for depicting a process, material or information flow in a diagrammatic form. This structured process helps stakeholders understand the flow of both material and information through their operation and develop plans to move them closer to the ideal state.

Building Information Modeling (BIM): A three-dimensional, object-oriented, AEC-specific digital representation of the building process to facilitate exchange and interoperability of information in digital format.

Structural Information Modeling (SIM): structural informational model that contains as much as possible structural engineering related project data.

Pull Scheduling: Initiating the delivery of input based on the readiness of the process into which they will enter for transformation into outputs.

Weekly Work Plan: A list of assignments to be completed within the specified week; typically produced as near as possible to the beginning of the week.

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