Today marks the third anniversary of the restoration of Dublin, Georgia’s Old First National Bank building, completed on September 18, 2015. This project is special to us at Garbutt Construction Company because, besides being a beloved local historic building, it was our first project to implement Lean Construction practices.

As many of you know, I have been a moving cog in the machine that this Lean Construction in the US for many years, and I believe in its practice so wholly that I do my best to share Lean methods to anyone when I can. The Old First National Bank, or more fondly referred to as “Dublin’s Skyscraper,” was my opportunity to demonstrate the innumerable benefits of Lean to my town. Since its completion, the word of the building’s success spread, enlightening others of the power of Lean.

The original structure was built in 1913, following the designs of A. Ten Eyck Brown. This skyscraper is comprised of six stories total and its historic marble lobby has been placed on the National Register of Historic Properties. Using Lean Construction planning, we revitalized the entire building, denoting four of the six stories to house Georgia Military College’s tenth satellite campus, and two floors for use as executive offices. Garbutt Construction took great care to preserve the historic integrity of the building, and the rehabilitation ensures that this icon will be a part of Dublin’s cityscape for generations to come.

Having completed many historic preservation projects, we felt confident tackling Old First National, and with Lean techniques as the ace up my sleeve, I knew that we would produce something that the city could really be proud of. Our weekly “Pull Planning” sessions and daily huddles kept every team member in the loop and encouraged communication across all levels. Lean methods are applicable to any and every project because they equalize all parts of the process, establishing trusting relationships between owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors, as well as maintaining consistency in the construction timeline and budget.

In the three years since the completion of this project I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to make the lean process that much more efficient.

Here are 3 Tips on the third anniversary of Dublin’s Skyscraper:

  1. During your regular Pull Planning Sessions, identify which jobs are critical or time sensitive. I like to put a red dot on the post-it notes that correspond to those jobs.
  2. Try implementing a “huddle board,” or abbreviated pull board, in your daily huddles. We keep our huddle board on site so that the superintendent can reference it during 5-minute morning huddles to confirm that the subcontractors are on track.
  3. Award contractors who “Do What they Say, When they Say,” or who go above and beyond to deliver what they promised to get done that week. It doesn’t have to be anything too big, just something to show how much you appreciate their dedication.

Implementing Lean Construction into my business has been an extremely rewarding endeavor over the past three years, and I encourage you all to look into how Lean can help your business.