Part I: Lean, Mean and Green – The Series

Introducing Lean Mean & Green

This series of blogs is intended to shed some light into upcoming changes in the roles of those involved in creating the built environment.

The role of the architect on building projects has shifted from being ‘the master builder’ in the Roman days, to the ideals of ‘Howard Roard in Ann Raynd’s: The Fountainhead.” Later, that role would shift again to the middle-class, family-loving architect depicted through Mike Brady in ‘The Brady Bunch’ then shifting again to what we know today: an intense position of being the central pressure point between client expectations, consulting engineers and designers, product manufacturer reps, code officials, and contractors.

The schedule of projects has hastened to such a furious pace that chaos and information overload is the norm, and only the biggest of problems and issues get full attention. Between email, cell phone, Skype calls, project extranet sites, and other modes of communication, real face-time has dwindled. And quality has been replaced with value.

The current state of the economy gives us all time to pause and think about where we need to go and where we need to be. Over the next few weeks I will a series of blogs that I believe begin setting the course for the future of the AEC industry. This is not my idea, simply my view of what I have learned in my 20+ years via practice, reading, experiencing and now projecting the future.

There are elements of ‘Lean,’ including smaller non-localized teams, better software, less waste, and lower operational overhead. ‘Mean’ refers to being tough on issues, passionate about results, and seriously engaging the team (including the client) in the meaty discussions and having fun in the process. And ‘Green’ is about as clear as mud these days. The goal here is to identify the potential green strategies that the project and client values and bring them together while working on increasing quality and efficiency of the building systems.

In lieu of trying to get each of the AEC team roles to ‘do their part’ in this process, my intent is to apply these three ideas in a way that shapes new roles and responsibilities for the AEC team members.

I encourage your feedback, comments and discussion along the way.