Modular Construction and Prefabrication Support Healthcare Builds

In an effort to respond quickly and effectively in the current crisis, design and construction companies have been hard at work supporting the construction of new or temporary healthcare facility builds as well as modifying, when necessary, existing structures.

Modular construction has become a popular choice for teams who are working to increase hospital bed capacity. Some LCI member companies including J.E. Dunn, The Boldt Company, DPR Construction, HGA Design and Mortenson have utilized prefabrication and modular construction methods to assist on these projects. Boldt and HGA have worked in cohesion to produce prefabricated critical care negative air pressure isolation rooms, called STAAT Mods. These rooms have the ability to keep COVID-19 patients and healthcare professionals safer during treatments due to the negative air pressure that prevents the virus from spreading. Prefabrication is the catalyst for creating these rooms quickly and efficiently.

DPR Construction worked in partnership with prefabrication and modular companies to help produce temporary facilities in response to the pandemic. These facilities include medical-surgical units, ICU and isolation rooms. To prepare for a possible resurgence, DPR has indicated that the units can be stored in the shipping containers they are sent in for months. Hopefully only a precautionary measure. J.E. Dunn and Mortenson have implemented prefabrication to create temporary healthcare facilities.

LCI is proud to have member companies who are thinking in an innovative way under pressure. These projects are laying the groundwork for healthcare teams to be able to treat the maximum number of patients.



Staying Ahead of the Virus on Site. (2020). Manhattan, New York City, New York. Engineering News-Record.

Marks, Amy. (2020, April 13). How prefab can enable the design and construction industry to bring much needed beds to hospitals, faster. Building Design and Construction. Retrieved from


Strengthen your team’s collaboration by embracing equity, diversity and inclusion

To keep our community safe and healthy but still connected, the Lean in Design Forum is now being held virtually May 27–28. Architects, engineers, preconstruction professionals, general contractors, owners and more will come together from the safety of their own homes to discuss the collective skills and commitment that play a huge role in the success of the design community. When teams feel not only respected, but empowered for their individuality, effective collaboration excels and leads to increased productivity and client satisfaction.

Together we will examine key takeaways from teams who have harnessed the power of diversity to enhance their projects — and how you can implement the same efforts to enrich your work.

Join this year’s Design Forum while staying safe at home and discover:

  • How Lean thinking intersects with equity, diversity and inclusion best practices.
  • The importance of collaboration and the strength of high performing teams.
  • How to use Lean practices to promote equity, inclusion and the advancement of women.
  • The connection of design thinking and diversity.

Supporting each other is more important now than ever before. Register now to be part of this virtual event covering the strength behind inclusive collaboration.

Why should you participate in the virtual 2020 Lean in Design Forum?

Register now to explore equity, diversity and inclusion in high-performing teams

This year, we’ve shifted our plans for the Lean in Design Forum in response to COVID-19 and will be going virtual for the first time. The program will stay intact —  all participants, including architects, engineers and preconstruction professionals will still have the opportunity to dive deep into interactive virtual discussions about the intersection of Lean methodologies with equity, diversity and inclusion. Together, we will be spending two days virtually, May 27-28, exploring how high-performing teammates who feel empowered for their individuality excel at collaborating effectively and increasing client satisfaction. This topic is more prevalent than ever before, as so many of our organizations have adapted to changes in how we work.

While these sessions are tailored to those in the design community, the attendee demographic is diverse and is comprised of owners, general contractors and trade partners. Here are the top reasons you won’t want to miss this year’s Lean in Design Forum, held in partnership with AIA and P2SL:

  • Discover what makes a high-performing team collaborate effectively and return to your project with ideas you can implement right away.
  • Explore the power of diversity to strengthen our design community and enrich our work.
  • Build and strengthen valuable relationships in an innovative virtual platform with other design and construction professionals passionate about efficient project delivery.

Register now to expand your perspective when you hear from expert Lean practitioners, join interactive roundtables, and connect virtually with like minded colleagues in the design community eager to share and learn from one another.

Create a My LCI profile to receive event updates in your inbox. Then, connect with LCI on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and search the event hashtag #LCIDesign20 for updates on this year’s event.

Searching for the Lost “Art of Milestones” by Perry L. Thompson

Milestones, we all know what they are and what we are supposed to do with them, right? Well, from this trade partner’s perspective, the significance of milestones has been forgotten, and is a lost art. Unless, of course, we are talking about the “end date” milestone. Some would argue the “start date” is just as problematic and essential, but I would suggest the “start date” seems to have much more wiggle room than the “end date.” Both these dates are important, but everyone knows we cannot miss the “end date.” Tornadoes erupt, volcanoes explode, and when the general superintendent finishes trying to get trades to motivate, the crap hits the fan. Nobody wants this to happen, but all too often, project teams are pressing up against this “end date,” which cannot be late. Some projects, not all, have a master schedule generated by historical data and sent out with a request for proposal, then never updated. Many projects that we are on, never update this schedule, and many projects never bring it up again unless referring to the “end date.”

Welcome, Last Planner System® (LPS®)

Some project teams do this well, it is usually when teams have an LPS coach or an experienced LPS superintendent. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of the projects we are on as a trade partner; this is not the case. We are all over the board from project to project, whether this crucial milestone vetting is taking place or not. Often, milestones are left solely up to the general contractor to establish by themselves, rendering them irrelevant. I have heard trade foremen say to one another, “Let them put their schedule together in the office, and we’ll go build the building.” There is no trust in the whole traditional scheduling process, and only a bit more trust in this new generation of project teams learning LPS. Unfortunately, there are far too many projects using LPS that are not getting at this part of the scheduling process. When teams don’t collaboratively work through their milestones, they are robbed of their ability to deliver the results they are truly capable of achieving with properly vetted milestones.

It may sound like I’m confusing LPS projects with traditionally managed projects. I am not. I have been on well-managed traditional projects where milestones are properly vetted or at least artfully used to drive and manage results. To properly manage through milestones takes a thoughtful, collaborative planning and a disciplined leader on any type of project. Teams that work together to develop and understand their milestones, will create the order and flow needed to get the project completed efficiently. Milestones help focus the team on what’s important. Milestones are deliverable and should be a roadmap to the project’s success.

Who Owns the Milestones?

The Last Planner System, can help us overcome the deficiency of milestone vetting, if coached properly. Once they are agreed upon, it takes a project leader to hold everyone accountable weekly. On well-driven projects this is the general contractor’s superintendent, or an experienced scheduler working with the superintendent. Unfortunately, all too often, the project team is still relying on the general contractor to have this figured out, and trade partners revert to their old habits of working where they can and almost seem to prefer to jump and hop to whatever direction the general superintendent sets. They believe they don’t have time to work through or on milestones that “nobody is going to follow anyway.” On some projects, the only one attempting to advance to one milestone is the general superintendent because the “end date” must be kept, and in some cases, at considerable additional cost to everyone.

A trade partner will often say, “It is their job to do this anyway. We’ll go to work where we are directed.” This insufficient concern to invest time and energy into milestones or weekly work plans is a serious cultural problem, which each project team must overcome to achieve improved results that work for all stakeholders. Milestones are everyone’s responsibility and should be everyone’s concern, the reason they should be worked on together and agreed upon as a team. They should be vetted and managed as a team. They should be visually displayed and talked about and updated weekly along with the details of the schedule. The best teams we have been on do this well.

Trades Doing Something Better

As a trade partner, it has been a worthwhile effort to get our foremen to plan and think about their milestones for the work they must compete throughout the life of the project. We have come to realize the importance of knowing our milestones for our work, and how to align them with the general contractors. When we are fortunate enough to be on a team striving to be a “lean team” or an “advance lean team,” using the Last Planner System, we are better prepared to have a milestone planning session, (if they have them) if we have worked out our own first. If they don’t have a milestone schedule, we do, and we are better prepared to execute our work. We are on projects all the time when many are falling off the “overrun costing” cliff, due to project chaos that usually happens on ill-planned projects that lack collaboratively vetted milestones. We can keep ourselves from going over the edge with them by understanding our milestones, and we can help manage them through the storm. The reason in some situations we can help the team because we have milestones with properly vetted “conditions of satisfaction.” This allows us to articulate a visual way a cohesive plan for the entire team, which gets everyone talking and trying to help each other. Without milestones, we all drift.

When project teams managed their milestones well, they had an early milestone planning session. This session it to figure out what each important milestone is and who owns it, and they figure out what “done, done” looks like for each milestone. It also means figuring out what the constraints are, and what we can do to prevent them. Once everyone agrees to them, they should post them somewhere highly visible to the team. The project team should have milestone discussions, weekly or biweekly, to ensure everyone is beating to the same drum, and to make adjustments where necessary. Trade partners have many sub-milestones or minor-milestones to help achieve critical project milestones, and they should show them and articulate them to the project team visually. Our experience has been when these kinds of milestone discussions and planning sessions are in place; it helps teams stay focused and drives successful outcomes. Teams that manage their milestones well have found the “lost art of milestones.”

LCI COVID-19 Consultant Partner Survey Results

LCI asked our Consultant Partners to share how COVID-19 has impacted their consulting business. A survey was conducted with the intention of gathering insights into what project teams are doing to shift given the current situation. There was a good amount of commonality between responses.

More than 90% of project teams have shifted to virtual Big Rooms and meetings. Most reported that their team is maintaining focus on overcoming obstacles and challenges that come along with going virtual. There was total agreement when asked about meeting frequency, it was reported that teams are holding the same number of meetings as before with most meetings being 1 hour or less. Lean approaches that were considered valuable in virtual meetings include collaboration, Kanban and plus/delta. Naturally there were some challenges teams faced to include virtual etiquette, accountability and refusal to participate if other parties are not getting paid. Advice for other teams who are going virtual are to shorten meetings, create small focus groups and if you are unable to be on site, take a step back and improve your phase planning.

LCI appreciates these responses from our consultant partners! We recognize that many folks in the design and construction community are facing difficult times amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. We are here to support our community and members in every way that we are able to. It is encouraging to see that some project teams are able to work virtually and remain productive. It is our sincere hope that we will get back to business as usual very soon.

Collaborative Contracting Challenges and Benefits – McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company published a great article on collaborative contracting challenges and benefits in January 2020. Definitely worth a read! “The value at stake for project owners is enormous. If just half of the 15 to 20 percent improvement realized on initial collaborative contracts can be sustainably achieved, project owners could save $5 trillion to $7 trillion of the $77 trillion that McKinsey Global Institute believes will be spent on capital projects over the next ten years.”

– Source: McKinsey and Company, “Collaborative contracting: Moving from pilot to scale-up,” Jan 2020

[Full Article Here]

Member Companies Retool to Help Combat COVID-19

LCI is grateful to see member companies donating supplies from projects such as N95 masks to hospitals to protect our healthcare professionals during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Two of LCI’s well known manufacturing members, General Motors (GM) and Procter & Gamble (P&G), have pledged to produce important supplies that will help keep Americans safe both on the front lines and at home.

General Motors will partner with Ventec to rapidly produce and distribute ventilators. As many know, the U.S. is experiencing a scarcity of life saving ventilators in hospitals. GM’s contribution will give many people who have contracted the virus the opportunity to get better, and holds the promise of saving many lives in the months ahead.

Similarly, Procter & Gamble is manufacturing and donating necessary supplies such as face masks and hand sanitizer to hospitals, health authorities and relief organizations in response to COVID-19. They have increased production of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. P&G had not previously produced masks, however, they have shifted production to help meet this critical need as well.

The Lean Construction Institute is pleased to salute these two companies’ commitment to service and being part of the solution. Both GM and P&G utilize Lean methodologies and practices in their manufacturing and construction processes. LCI is gratified to see that companies are able to shift production as part of Lean thinking, which in this instance stands to promote health and save lives. As the search for a cure to COVID-19 continues, our community remains strong and it is support like this that will help slow the spread and flatten the curve.


Together we are strongest!


[Full General Motors Article] ~ [Full Procter & Gamble Article]

2020 Design Forum Keynotes Announced

Two expert keynotes will join this year’s Design Forum, bringing expertise and inspiration focused on our theme of “Exploring Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in High-Performing Teams.”

Heather Currier Hunt

Session: “Design Thinking & Diversity”

As IDEO’s Senior Global Director of Learning & Development, Heather’s mission is to empower people to tap into their authentic expression and become great team members. She places an emphasis on creating teams that are both diverse and inclusive. Join her to explore the connection between design thinking and diversity, and how one can inspire the other.

Barbara Bouza

Session: “Creating a Meaningful Impact Through Design Excellence”

Next, hear from the Co-Managing Director and Principal of Gensler Los Angeles. As a global influencer for human well-being through design excellence, Barbara brings design expertise to this year’s forum. She has been named the Executive of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal for its Women Making a Difference campaign, as well as a Woman of Influence by California Real Estate Magazine. Focusing on making an impact through high-quality design, Barbara will complement the forum’s overarching theme by demonstrating the value of inclusivity and teamwork.

Learning from these accomplished experts is just one of the many takeaways from the 2020 Lean in Design Forum. View the agenda for this year’s program and register today to join us!

Connecting on Social Media

Today around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, get news content, share information and for entertainment. Are you one of those Americans who utilizes social networks daily? Are you connected with the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) on our social platforms? If not, you should be. The benefits of following and liking LCI’s pages is that you will be in the know about upcoming LCI events and the latest Lean content.

LCI offers eLearning, in-person educational sessions, webinars, as well as national and local events.  Our local Lean focused events such as Lean coffees, Lean brews and learning sessions are hosted through our Communities of Practice. All of LCI’s offerings are posted on the LCI social media platforms. By connecting with us you are able to get all the most up to date information on LCI’s events. Stay well-informed by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

LCI eLearning – How can I benefit from taking LCI eLearning courses?

The Lean Construction Institute (LCI) is dedicated to providing the most current and innovative Lean learning tools as relevant to the design and construction industry. Many industry professionals are slammed trying to meet deadlines, being on site and balancing their personal lives but also want to deepen their Lean knowledge to add value to their projects. LCI strives to provide professionals with the necessary educational tools that work for their schedule. This is why LCI has developed eLearning courses. To date, LCI has 5 eLearning courses available, with another on the way planning to roll out in the coming months.

I recently took the Introduction to The Last Planner System® eLearning course. The course was very interactive and included videos, visuals, audio recording, some self-paced reading and downloadable takeaways. There was a total of 5 modules with knowledge checks at the end of each module with a cumulative knowledge check at the end of the course. As someone newer to Lean, I found the level of information was appropriate, easy absorb and left me wanting to learn more!

Key takeaways

  • A balanced amount of information to support learning
  • Easy to follow and understand the concepts presented
  • It took approximately an hour to take the course and I could have taken it in smaller chunks of time if needed
  • Ability to complete on my laptop
  • The course was easy to navigate


Interested in learning more about eLearning? Check out the LCI website here. For all general eLearning questions or inquiries email