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Preconstruction Collaboration: Early Integration Strategies to Fast-Track Project Delivery

Betsy Ennis

This month, representatives from 27 distinct companies, each key partners within AGC-related industries, came together for an in-depth exploration of a real project’s Early Integration case study, covering the benefits of a Lean focused preconstruction experience. As Ed Anderson, EUA Project Principal, aptly put it, “you checked your logo at the door, because we are all here to grow and learn from one another.”


The spotlighted project: construction of a new 7-story bed tower within an existing hospital’s campus. Spearheaded by JP Cullen is the general contractor on the tough job. When it came to early integration ensuring all necessary partners were apart of all the tough conversations, pull planning sessions, and mobilization, we knew we needed a complete project team and owner’s representation that were all on the same page. Below is a summary of the standout moments and key insights from the project team’s discussion.


This Bedtower project is the last open green space on an entire Hospital Campus, and needs to be done with precision, growth, and expertise in mind. It could not have accelerated the way it has without the use of early trade partners, learning about the site and becoming experts before construction has even started, according to one panelist. Amy La MereStoops, JP Cullen Division Manager, said the owner of this project made it clear from the start that everyone here in the same room has the same expectations and we are going to achieve this together.


Gemba Walks: This preconstruction phase of the project exemplified the full utilization of a Lean Construction Term: The Gemba Walk. Each department slated to occupy the Bedtower underwent its own comprehensive Gemba Walk alongside all end-users. While this strategy might seem like a time constraint, it ensured we had all the needs of every end-user thoroughly considered. By involving all departments, the team uncovered specific delays and challenges unique to each group, providing invaluable insights for potential obstacles.

For example, during the Gemba Walk for Emergency Department staff, it became apparent that excess carts were obstructing hallways crucial for compliance and safety. To mitigate this issue, extra storage solutions were implemented on the spot to ensure that hallways remained clear and free from hazards.

In another Gemba walk involving different end-users, we pinpointed issues concerning traffic flow between the new Bedtower and existing departments. Proactively addressing this concern, we adjusted the design of hallways and access points. These modifications were aimed at preventing potential traffic congestion, proactively solving the potential delay in patient care before construction even broke ground.

Mock-Up Rooms: During preconstruction, simulations with EMS were conducted and showcased issues that would have otherwise not been uncovered until the space was operational and end-users were actively seeing patients. Delays were occurring due to the placement of vitals and hook-ups for patients who came in through the Emergency Department and were seeking care. To address this issue, room hook-ups underwent redesign during simulations to streamline the delivery of vitals to patients ensuring a quicker and more efficient process.

What about waste management? The positioning of trashcans presented another challenge that needed resolution before construction started. Their placements caused difficulties when patients were arriving via ambulances.

While these mock-ups took time during the preconstruction phase, the mock-ups served a crucial purpose: to prioritize patient needs were met in both construction and operational aspects of this new facility.

Technology Integration: During the panel discussion, the team highlighted the integration of Matterport software, which facilitates the creation of 3D virtual tours and immersive experiences of physical spaces. This technology was incredibly valuable during meetings, as it enabled us to instantly access real life examples of the spaces under discussion. This accelerated decision-making processes during pull planning and allowed us to address any questions or concerns on the spot.

Plus Delta Finish: In true Lean Construction Institute form, we concluded the panel session with a collaborative Plus Delta activity. This is a feedback mechanism used to evaluate and improve our operations and outcomes of a meeting. In this activity, “plus” signifies positives during the meeting, while “deltas” represents areas for improvement or changes. An example of our panel’s plus, the vulnerability from the panelist to help us all grow regardless of who we worked for. Additionally, our questions expert observed a shared sense of satisfaction and happiness among panelists in working together, which was impressive especially on a challenging project! The sole delta identified was a light-hearted moment when a panelist accidentally stole another’s seat in the audience, but hey, it was a packed house!


This panel serves as a glimpse into the innovative project delivery options we offer across various industries and markets along with the efficient and meticulous planning that goes hand in hand with Lead-led projects.

If you’re eager to explore how early integration can elevate project delivery in your upcoming endeavors, don’t hesitate to contact Let’s collaborate to integrate this innovative project delivery approach into your next project!

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