A contractor's first foray into a strict adoption of lean construction strategies enabled the team to build a $42.7-million Atlanta condominium project—along with an adjacent 488-space garage—in just 52 weeks from groundbreaking to final occupancy.

Photo courtesy Batson-Cook Co.
Batson-Cook Co.'s SkyHouse Midtown condominium project in Atlanta earned the Best Residential award in this year's Best Projects contest.
Photos courtesy of Batson-Cook Co.
The contractor used lean principles in leading the project team through an accelerated schedule.

To complete the 23-story SkyHouse condo project so quickly, contractor Batson-Cook Co. had to erect one floor every three days. Trade contractors following the structure upward needed to complete their finish work on each floor in just four days.

The general contractor conducted extensive planning sessions with its specialty contractors prior to the start of construction. Project leaders not only went over scope details but emphasized the planned use of the lean methods. The firm also held "lean boot camps" aimed at educating contractors on the strategy's concepts.

A key factor for managing the trades' hastened work duties became clear, according to the submitter's entry form: "We strove to make sure the same person did the same productive thing every day."

During the course of construction, the general contractor met weekly with each trade group. Batson-Cook project officials graded each specialty's performance during the previous week, reviewed current activities and checked the status of future materials deliveries. Moreover, the trades provided weekly work plans that matched Batson-Cook's four-week look-ahead schedule.

In order to stick to the budget, Batson-Cook oversaw test drilling at each pier location in order to determine each unit's depth. Consequently, the contractor was able to require firms to provide lump-sum bids for the work, which resulted in a cost savings. To expedite the caisson work, Batson-Cook utilized two drill rigs.

The team also expedited the certificate of occupancy process for the parking deck to allow construction of a temporary leasing office.

The contractor's lean approach resulted in accelerated, on-budget delivery while also successfully emphasizing safety. The result: zero recordable incidents or lost-time accidents.

Key Players

Contractor Batson-Cook Co., Atlanta

Owner Novare Group, Atlanta

Architect/Engineer Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Atlanta