Lean Design



Imagine yourself walking into McDonalds and ordering lunch (if you are anything like me this would probably not be a huge stretch). You walk up to the counter and ask the cashier for a Big Mac. During your order you ask her to hold the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. She looks at you like you are some kind of freak and hands you a sesame seed bun.

Look ma! The war cry for young show offs world wide. I’m sure you have had a “look ma” moment or two in your life. I don’t know about you but mine typically ended with skinned knees and tears.

I have been fortunate enough to be working with Jeff Rutt and Matt Collins from Keystone Custom Homes, Perry Bigelow from Bigelow Homes, and several other great folks on a housing solution for Haiti.

The overriding concept is to help alleviate the housing crisis by providing qualified Haitians with Micro Loans and assisting them in building their own house. The passion and commitment for this cause is infectious. It has been, and continues to be, a very rewarding experience.

Eric Tiffin our magically talented Project Manager brought up the idea of writing about point loads this week. My first thought was that there may not be much to write about with this topic. He convinced me otherwise.

We all have our eye opening moments in life. When I was 17 my dad would often remind me to keep checking the oil in my 72 Bonneville. I did check the oil frequently (in my mind anyway) for a while. It was only after the old workhorse left me stranded on the expressway with a thrown rod that it dawned on me that running out of gas (an activity I participated in much too often) was quite a bit different than running out of oil. During the struggle to get to school, work and figure out how to pay for another car was when the lesson really sank in.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. This delightful saying comes from a rap song by Ice Cube. Mr. Cube’s message urges us all to make use of a verification system (the balance of his message is not quite suitable for this blog). A simple method of ensuring your design specifications are consistent from home to home is to use a checklist.

Have you ever heard a framer say, “I just make it look like the picture”? I have —  far too often. They are referring to a lack of elevation detail on the construction drawings. For some reason this is relatively common.

Many drawings I have reviewed show that there was a good deal of effort expended making sure the floor plans are dimensioned and detailed accurately. The elevation drawings, however, not so much. What’s up with that? A little elevation humor: up, elevate… get it? Don’t fret, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon.

As I sit on a plane bound for Fresno I am procrastinating. I know I have to put together this week’s blog but there are a few things to handle first. I need to thoroughly read my Newspaper (front to back even the boring stuff). Of course I cannot get started until the snack portion of the trip is over. I must garner some energy from Delta ’s bizarre oblong ginger cookie thing.  Most sinful of all? A quick game of computer solitaire before I begin. We all do it from time to time right?

Growing up near Detroit, I know that old plans are like old cars —sooner or later they start costing you more money than they are worth. It is tempting to hold onto a previous best seller and keep it in the system for no other reason than that you have the bugs worked out. The contracts are set, the variances are low, and the trades know what to do.

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