Posted by: JC Gatlin | January 24, 2010

5 actions to get Building Partners committed to Lean on your jobsites


Lean Homebuilding gives the small, home town homebuilder the competitive edge to compete with the national home builders with deep pockets. Through lean, the home town builder can leap out ahead, generating a greater range and a higher quality of products and services, responding more quickly to the changing market, with fewer people, fewer resources and fewer mistakes and accidents. But this is only possible when the Building Partner Team works in tandem with the Construction Professional to standardize, problem solve and continually improve.

Here are 5 actions the Construction Professional can take to ensure the Building Partner is a strong component in his community’s culture of continuous improvement.

  1. Actively use Standardized Work Instruction Sheets (SWIS) and post Hot Spot Sheets where your Building Partners can see them. Ask crew supervisors for updates and feedback to improve them. Make a point to go over them on the jobsite before a crew starts the job and make copies to hand out to each person on the crew. Make copies that the Building Partner supervisor can hand out to his crews as well.
  2. Discuss FTQ inspection notes — especially notes left by the Building Partners. When you see a recurring problem, ask the crew supervisor to keep notes of when, where and how often he sees it occurring — especially in multiple communities. Get him to tell you why he thinks it’s occurring.
  3. Get your Building Partners to talk to you about job readiness issues. Make it clear that you want to provide a jobsite that is 100% ready for their crew when they’re scheduled to arrive. If something is preventing that – whether it’s something caused by a previous Building Partner, a recurring delay, a cleanliness or safety issue, or something you personally are doing or not doing, make it clear that you want to know about it and you want to address it.
  4. If multiple Building Partners are involved in causing a problem — get them to sit down together face to face. Work through the PDCA steps as a group – determining the Problem Statement, Point of Cause, Root Causes and Counter Measures. Don’t be shy about using our problem solving terminology and teaching the methodology.
  5. Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. Once counter measures have been implemented, make a point to ask the Building Partner supervisors, crew leaders and crew members if they’re still seeing the problem occur? Are they seeing the expected improvements? If so, update the SWIS sheets and Hot Spot Sheets with that improvement.

© January 2010 Homebuilding Partners, Inc.   twitter-logo



  1. In 2007 and 2008, it seems like most of our lean and PDCA concepts were mainly shared internally among sales and construction. Then in 2009, it seems like we started including more BP’s in our PDCA’s. FTQ really gets BP’s involved and asking questions. I think as our understanding of lean theories and principles grows and our confidence to explain and teach them improves, we’ll find BPs naturally joining us.

  2. Since we have begun using the FTQ work sheets and then encouraged our building partners to focus on the reason for them – the quality of the work and attitude has improved. They know what is expected. From this we have seen the job readiness has improved – – therefore “time and cost” has been reduced.

  3. First Time Quality (FTQ) – The words alone explain the importance of the action. Our Foundations say “…measure twice cut once”.

    As a smaller Private Builder vs. the large Public builder we actually have the advantage – a big ship can not turn as quickly as a smaller ship. We need to just keep perfecting out building process with our Building Partners and we will succeed.

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