Insights from LCI’s Lean in Design Forum 2024

The Hoylu team had the pleasure of attending the Lean Construction Institute’s 2024 Lean in Design Forum last week in Chicago, Illinois. The forum is a gathering of the top practitioners of Lean in the design phase, focused on applying innovative approaches in pre-construction as well as in subsequent iteration loops throughout the project.

In addition to the learning sessions, the conversations between attendees were thought-provoking and insightful. Here are some of the insights we heard. 

The ongoing quest for the paperless office

“I remember going to every AIA chapter in ’92 and talking about the paperless office. We produce 50 times the paper now than we did then,” one attendee remarked. 

As Bob Borson puts it in this post on Life of an Architect, “The process of preparing drawings has evolved from ‘What do we need to do to “What can’t we do?’” Rather than seeing the industry evolve away from paper-based documentation, as many anticipated, it has proliferated.  

As the industry struggles to coalesce around new documentation norms enabled by 3D technology, the elusive paperless office may become a reality, but the likelihood of this varies significantly by project and team. More advanced construction teams may already rely exclusively on 3D models rather than physical drawing sets, but the majority haven’t fully transitioned from 2D to 3D. 

While paper-based documentation will be with us for some time yet, its volume can be reduced and its accessibility improved. Using a platform such as Hoylu, drawings and other 2D documentation can be attached in the same workspace as the pre-construction and construction planning, enabling teams to keep design information centralized, updated, and accessible.  

Doing more with less

As with the rest of the AEC industry, architects and designers are under pressure to perform under adverse circumstances. Project complexity has grown, but the supply of qualified professionals has contracted. “Your profession has been commoditized, and your ranks have decreased by 15%,” noted one attendee, perfectly capturing the challenge many in the design field face.  

“We don’t tell people that they’re going to be dealing with constant fire drills but also hearing ‘you’re over budget,’” added another. The pressure to deliver high-quality work with limited resources adds stress to an already demanding job. 

Lean design practices won’t solve these challenges overnight, but the increased efficiency they enable can alleviate some of the burden. Implementing Lean in the design phase can help increase quality, reduce waste, and limit rework by improving communication and collaboration. Supporting your Lean initiatives with a digital tool accelerates adoption and promotes standardization via pre-created templates, and serves as a reference for future projects. 

Looking ahead

The Lean in Design Forum showcased some of the best practices in architecture and design today, and was ambitiously forward-looking in its focus. Envisioning a future in which Lean design and construction are the default, the forum offered a glimpse of the gains the industry could unlock.  

We’re all in on that future here at Hoylu. To learn how we support teams throughout the project lifecycle, schedule a demo. 

Create a Project

Create a Project

Create a Project

Wait! Don't leave empty-handed!

Hoylu Startup Guide

Construction Buyer’s Guide

Agile Buyer’s Guide

(WEBINAR) Hoylu at LCI

Request a 1:1 Demo

Skip to content