Rudolph and Sletten used Latista to Implement Lean Principles on a Sophisticated Science Building
Science Building at San Diego Community College
Lean Principles (LEED)
California-based general contractor, Rudolph and Sletten, led the construction of a new state-of-the‐art science building at the San Diego City Community College completed this past August. Designed to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, the $57.2 million, 98,000 square-foot, L‐shaped building will be four stories tall and house the Astronomy, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences programs at the San Diego City Community College.
San Diego Community College District sought a contractor who would implement the most innovative methods available for construction of their high-tech science center. Lean Principles, having been long-established in the Rudolph and Sletten program, reinforced for the District that they were the contractor of choice.
Rudolph and Sletten was seeking a reliable, thoroughly tested technology that would serve its team members. Latista was chosen as the contractor’s field management solution in delivering an advanced educational facility positioned to receive LEED Silver Certification. “When we reviewed the Latista application, we recognized its capabilities as a cutting edge software tool that we could use to effectively implement our demanding Lean program,” said Jonathan Waltz, project manager at Rudolph and Sletten. “When we were looking for a QA/QC technology to use in implementing our ‘Zero Punch List’ program, we saw that Latista has been around over a decade and utilized by some of the largest companies and contractors in the world, and after thoroughly investigating its capabilities, we felt confident in its ability to deliver successfully, “ added Waltz.
For Waltz and his team, a significant challenge was to implement one of Lean construction’s principal demands: eliminating error-produced redundancies and enlisting a system of onsite issue identification and correction. Rudolph and Sletten wanted to eliminate the onerous, error-prone and time‐consuming traditional paper-based processes and needed a system that would help them improve their Zero Punch List program. “We wanted to provide our subcontractors with continuous up‐to‐date information on quality issues and prevent similar errors from re‐occurring as we progressed through the project,” said Waltz.
All project stakeholders equally echoed the Rudolph and Sletten team’s sentiments and enthusiastically supported their efforts for an improved process. As Chris Thompson, project inspector for SDCCD put it, “before Latista, I would have to hunt down a foreman for each trade when I saw something that needed to be fixed, then I would have to add it to a list. Then I would have to distribute the list to everyone with the updates.” Without Latista in place, there were also greater chances for mistakes. “You’re making shorthand notes onsite and by the time you get back to reviewing them, you think about what your abbreviations actually meant,” added Waltz. “Dealing with all that data entry on this size project was quite time consuming, an hour to two a day just to manage this process.”
Based upon the Rudolph and Sletten Lean Construction best practice processes, the team established clear automated workflows in Latista, adding issues continuously throughout the project. Capturing issues in the field with iPads and annotating with photos and marked‐up drawings made it clear to subcontractors where and what needed to be fixed. The subcontractors were notified automatically when issues were created, allowing them to fix issues throughout the course of construction.
The use of Latista web accessed through the Cloud along with the iPad app “allowed us to pull technology into the field and underpin Rudolph and Sletten’s trend toward a paperless office,” stated Waltz. “The technology provided up‐to-date construction documents to my team, the inspector and the trade contractor’s field personnel, ultimately improving the owner’s perspective of us. They know that we’re delivering this building with zero defects and with zero issues at the end.”
Besides Rudolph and Sletten; owner representatives, project inspectors and subcontractors used the Latista system to communicate with each other about the project’s quality and status on a weekly basis. This allowed for complete transparency from the beginning. “Latista allows the SDCCD management team to focus on the next phase of the project without worrying about losing track of and revisiting old items that have not been addressed. Helps me sleep better at night,” said Thompson.
“The use of photos and upload of plans was a tremendous help in quickly identifying the area where an issue was located,” stated Aubrey Taft, project manager at A.O. Reed & Co., a plumbing subcontractor. “The automated communications and workflows helped reduce questions and confusion between us and the Rudolph and Sletten management team.”
Automating the quality management processes during construction facilitated the elimination of extensive corrective actions and cost for Rudolph and Sletten and the SDCCD owners. Specifically, the implementation of Latista increased the project team’s efficiency by purging double entries, time delays, vague cross-teams communications, and supplied the team with metrics they could use to analyze reoccurring issues, further improving their Zero Punch List program.
Implementation of Latista affectively reduced redundancy for all involved on the San Diego City Science Building project by as much as 25%. The team was able to save up to 10 hours per employee per week by automating their processes, “I’d say we saved about 1‐2 hours a day and caught 99% of errors and corrected them before the punch,” stated Waltz.