Applying Lean to Cleanroom Construction Projects

AM Cleanroom Build and Performance (AMCBP) adopts appropriate Lean tools to our cleanroom construction projects. They all begin with a master plan. Then, depending on the project specifics, will utilize Last Planner, TAKT monitoring, 5S, and work-flow mapping.

These are supported with a communication plan, quality plan, and project plan that impact Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) to enable construction project success. We define construction project success as delivering on cost, quality, and schedule — not settling for the “Pick 2” paradigm.

The Source of Our Lean Methodology for Cleanroom Construction

We have studied Lean methods from the manufacturing sector and applied these methods to our project support for cleanroom construction. Our studies have indicated that there are systematic and common impediments in construction projects.

Most of the issues arise from not fully knowing what, when, and where work is needed. This is compounded by having each team work out their own project plans from the master schedule plan. These plans begin with accurate coordination, but, due to statistical (normal) variations, the plans quickly lose synchronization.

The power of applying Lean to projects is utilizing the planning tools to create very clear instructions, guidelines, processes, and work-flow mapping for project execution. This ensures the work is performed in alignment with the project objectives of Cost, Quality, and Schedule, and the plans remain synchronized through strong communication.

Communication Plan: The Importance of Communicating the Master Plan

Communication plays a vital role in addressing normal variation. We define normal variations by its statistical definition that any process activity experiences and forms a Bell Curve. However, typical plans do not account for such variation, and that is when the plans begin to lose synchronization.

Evidence-based communication of the work that supports the master plan is vital. However, this tracking needs to be significantly more effective than any of the project plans — including master plans — or sub-project team plans.

Communication must be delivered in a Lean way to remove all forms of waste in each process. A process map of the communication channels in a typical construction project helps identify wastes that impede progress. The sources of these wastes include:

  • Paper copies
  • Illegible writing
  • Improper transfer and hand-offs between participants
  • Miscommunication of status

Quality Plan: Real-Time Coordination of Processes

The next major element of an effective QA/QC process in cleanroom construction is ensuring that the quality requirements are understood, addressed, and completed. The requirements should include the schedule coordination, as well as the testing that needs to be conducted.

Quality assurance planning represents a supporting project plan. If we were to describe each element of Mechanical, Electrical, and Process (MEP) as the vertical project elements, then Quality Assurance is the supporting horizontal effort that commissions the systems.

Providing this support in real-time enables immediate resolution for any potential issues. However, the sources of waste that we identified will still impede productivity without the next element.

Project Plan: Proper Alignment with Project Confidence

Typical planning behavior is to use the 50th percentile (average) durations as the 95th percentile confidence (which is self-contradictory) and not aligning the duration population with the confidence interval.

Applying the Lean methodology to cleanroom construction allows our teams to achieve proper alignment of planning and confidence to close the gap and support the master plan.

When the master plan is fully supported, we are capable of achieving Quality Assurance and Quality Control to successfully complete each cleanroom construction project.

Download the eBook On Lean Construction Project Management

Our parent company, AMTS, recently released a new whitepaper, Construction Project Management: A Solution to Dramatically Improve the QA/QC Process.

The whitepaper goes into further detail about how we apply Lean to construction project management to deliver on cost, quality, and schedule. We outline the steps required to support effective communication, quality status checks to reduce re-work, and clear planning.

Download the whitepaper today!