Applying Lean Principles to Your Construction Stormwater Project
The purpose of this presentation is to show how applying lean thinking on construction stormwater projects can improve the value delivered to clients and stakeholders. Main ideas Lean thinking attempts to improve project quality, cost and delivery by deeply understanding value as defined by the stakeholder or client, identifying and eliminating processes that do not contribute to value (i.e., waste), while respecting people. Applying lean thinking to construction stormwater project management can create higher value at each stage, from stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) preparation and best management practice (BMP) design to field implementation and post-construction monitoring. Tools, Ideas and Concepts Value stream mapping is a collaborative lean exercise that engages project teams to define what the client and stakeholders value, and how to align processes and resources with it. Project teams are encouraged to look for waste in each process step, make it visible, and eliminate its causes. Examples of waste on construction stormwater projects are designating too many staff to track weather forecasts and send notifications, ordering too many BMPs instead of only what is needed (creates unnecessary inventory and potential for material photodegradation), and not keeping an appropriate inventory of monitoring instruments and sample bottles onsite and readily accessible. Once waste is exposed, even the most complex problems with multiple stakeholders can be solved using a number of Lean tools. Ideally, participation includes the consultant, client, owner, site representative, qualified SWPPP developer (QSD), qualified SWPPP practitioner (QSP), and contractors. Engaging the regulator as a project team member or client may even help expedite permit closure or avoid a notice of violation. In addition to problem solving, standardizing recurring processes can eliminate waste and create cost savings, therefore increasing value. Examples of standardized processes common in our industry are using templates for preparing SWPPPs and documenting BMP inspections. Engaging the Audience to Make it Interactive I will ask for a show of hands at the beginning of the presentation and at appropriate times to see who is familiar with lean concepts and tools. I will take a survey by show of hands to find which stage of construction stormwater projects the audience thinks involves the most waste. I will cite case studies of where waste has been exposed and describe which tools were used to improve the process. Finally, I will take the audience through a hypothetical lean exercise to familiarize them with the process. Addressing the Conference Theme The concept of redefining value through Lean thinking aligns with the paradigm shift of redefining the value stormwater as a resource.