SAN DIEGO — You may employ lean construction techniques — the continuous-improvement process that aims to eliminate wasted work. 

And you may have participated on or heard about integrated project delivery, where owners, contractors and designers collaboratively work toward a common goal. It eliminates the “silo mentality” in construction where trades do not work together or share information, supporters say. 

But using the two techniques together can really boost your company’s efficiency and make your firm a go-to for owners who value productivity. 

That was the message of Victor Sanvido, a senior vice president at Southland Industries, a large California-based mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractor with locations across the country. In his March 8 session, “Delivering Lean IPD,” at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s annual conference in San Diego, he told attendees that the industry needs to simplify terms such as “lean” and “IPD.”

“We need to make lean simple,” he said. “So someone that pulls up to work that morning can understand it without a lot of training.”

To Sanvido, part of lean/IPD is respecting people. Use your customers’ definition of “value.” It’s the only one that matters. Anything that is not value is waste. Communication with other trades is key. 

“Did you actually talk to each other beforehand?” Sanvido said. “Most waste happens early” in the construction process.

With IPD, you need to plan and execute, he said. Form one team and work together. Prefabricate when possible. Special care needs to be used when deciding on subcontractors. It should not be a straight economic decision. 

“You’ve got to pick people based on how they behave and what they do — not necessarily on price,” Sanvido said. “The best person should do the work should do it.” 

Other recommendations from Sanvido:

● Implement lean even if project requirements make it seem daunting

● Use lean/IPD on large design-build projects

● Work with a partner company that has in-house design-build capabilities

● Partner with someone with lean construction skills.