Posted on July 29, 2014 by By Carol Hartzog Communications

EDITOR'S NOTE: Scott Sedam is on a relentless mission to eradicate waste from the building process. He will bring his message on the importance of eliminating waste and the LEAN building philosophy to the 2014 Oklahoma Building Summit on Sept. 11 at the Reed Center in Midwest City. This is one of several Q&As we will present from our conversation with Sedam.

Scott Sedam
Scott Sedam

Q: Can you give us some examples of waste in the building process?

SEDAM: Here are examples of what causes extra trips:

  • You don't have the complete plan with working drawings and complete specifications. The result is continual mistakes, rework, calls for clarification, delays in the schedule, extra trips to the building site. All waste, all loss, for builders, suppliers and trades alike.
  • Builders send out their bid package to framers, or foundation or mechanicals, all of them, and then it changes continually. I'm a plumber and I bid off these specifications. Then, it's time to go build it and I get a purchase order from the builder specifying what I have to take to the job. When I get out to the job, it's supposed to be a single sink in the kids' bathroom upstairs, and the builder says "we better make that a double sink." So I need an extra sink, extra fixtures, extra pipe that never got on the purchase order. So, now I need an extra trip to go back out there. That kills my profit.


    Scott Sedam says incomplete building plans can lead to extra trips and waste in the building process.
    Scott Sedam says incomplete building plans can lead to extra trips and waste in the building process.

  • An option or selection comes into play. Let's say the builder had that double sink as an option and someone picks that option and the paperwork doesn't come through to inform the trade's people. They put in the single and the customer notices it at the walk-through. Now they are upset and the plumber has to come back.
  • A custom option that wasn't even offered pops up. Now it has to be priced, in a hurry, and slows down the entire process. Often it is not even communicated to the trade. It requires extra time and material that was not in the bid. This drives a VPO which takes months to get approved and paid. This happens constantly.
  • The schedule itself causes complications. I'm a painter going out, and I cannot paint until the drywall is 100% dry and sanded and ready for me. I come out with my three-man crew and all my equipment, and I go into the house and the dry wall is still damp. If I'm lucky I can go to another site somewhere and work that day. If I'm real lucky, maybe it's just down the road. But more often than not, it's not going to work that way. So, you've blown a day or a half-a-day at a minimum because nobody informed you, for whatever reason, that the schedule was pushed back. These are daily occurrences.

Q: You can put a cost to all these extra trips?

SEDAM: We have data now from nearly 150 of these Lean Building projects. More than 4,000 supplier and trades companies have participated. That's a lot of data. We now know that the absolute number of excess trips borne by the trades per unit is a very conservative 50. We frequently see 100 to 125, but let's just say 50. And a good average, low estimate cost on each of those trips is $200. That will run from $75 to $800, depending upon if it's one guy going out to fix a scratch on a fireplace front or a foundation crew with six guys, two trucks and trailer with a Bobcat. That can be $850. You take 50, which is a very conservative number, multiplied times $200, that's $10,000 in costs in trips in the average home, and virtually no one acknowledges it or tries to fix it.

Share and Enjoy :

Bottom Right Advertisement