Lean design and construction - the Leanhaus way

Lean design and construction is a project delivery system emphasising the reliable and speedy delivery of value. It challenges the generally-accepted belief that there is always a trade-off between time, cost, quality and safety.

At Leanhaus, we seek to apply these ideas to the design and construction of homes and small buildings to make them more affordable, durable and comfortable. Here’s how we do it.

  • Our design process is fully documented, linear process which is both collaborative and streamlined. This minimises wasted time and rework and keeps the design fee at the front end of the project more affordable.

  • We seek to fully understand our client's requirements and aspirations both now and in the future. If we can provide a more adaptable, flexible home it is more likely to be suited to its occupants long into the future.

  • We maximise environmental responsiveness. Solar passive design, natural ventilation and daylighting is always a first consideration.

  • The building form should be simple. This takes extra time to get right but it improves buildability and energy efficiency.

  • The layout should be efficient. This keeps the cost down but also makes a home more liveable by putting the emphasis on spaces we actually inhabit; not corridors and alcoves. 

  • We provide continuous layer of good insulation, minimise thermal bridges, and achieve a high level of airtightness. This is the basis of Passive House design.

  • Our designs are optimised using Passive House 3D software (designPH) and PH assessment tools. Unlike other energy assessment methods, the software accurately analyses heat gain and heat loss so that we can design the building to achieve an optimum energy balance.

  • We prefer to select materials that are natural, timeless and low maintenance. 

  • It is better to spend more on good quality materials that have a lower install and maintenance cost rather than cheap materials that cost alot to install.

  • We design with consideration to material sizes to minimise cutting, save time and reduce wastage.

  • Our builder is involved early in the design process to provide feedback on costs, construction details and close the knowledge loop on how to achieve more, for less. The builder is trained and certified to achieve the high standard of construction required by Passive House and we continuously look for efficiencies in construction so we can deliver high performance for less cost.

Lean design and delivery systems are based on Japanese manufacturing technologies like Kaizen, the philosophy of incremental, continuous improvement. Architect Ben Caine became inspired by the Kaizen philosophy and after researching and designing a new head office for Toyota WA in 2012 whilst Designer at Roxby Architects. The new building sought to embody Kaizen by promoting transparency in operations and worker relationships and efficiency of material use and operating costs. The completed building was delivered under budget won the top Architecture award in WA in 2014.