Lean Construction: introducing Daily Activity Briefings (DABs) to enhance collaboration and safety

Lean construction has been an interest of Kapitol Group’s since the business was formed. 3 years ago, we tried to implement the principles across our sites, however we struggled to get our teams’ buy-in. It was such a big change to 'the way things have always been done’, our teams couldn’t see the benefit. 

Fast forward to 2023 and along came a client who pushed us to do things differently— from that, Daily Activity Briefings (DABs) were born.  

Making a big change stick 

In the changing landscape of construction, effective communication and collaboration are key to ensuring successful project delivery and maintaining a strong safety culture. The collaborative DABs meetings, introduced to Kapitol on our latest data centre construction projects, bring together all subcontractors to plan daily activities on the construction site.  
 
Initially, the perception was that it would consume additional time without yielding significant benefits.  

"As a Project Manager, my hesitancy came from the fact that I'd never done something like this before. I'm a huge convert though - on a dynamic project like a data centre project, it's been a huge time saver in pre-planning, and the improved communication between our subbies is avoiding unnecessary clashes on site." James Grinter, Kapitol Project Manager 

Implementing DABs into Kapitol’s daily routine on site, has proved to be a game-changer, revolutionising our productivity levels and reshaping our project approach. Our client even allowed us to view DABs in action on other construction projects overseas which produced a lightbulb moment— seeing the DABs gave us confidence and broke down the resistance to change. The unwavering belief in the power of DABs and our clients’ guidance in fostering clear communication channels has seen a significant improvement in overall productivity.  

Streamlining communication and ownership 

Traditionally, site managers dictated where subcontractors needed to work on site. With the implementation of DABs, the script has been flipped. By departing from the traditional methods employed in the construction industry, to embracing a lean methodology, Kapitol has systematically broken down our projects into sprints. Using an interactive screen in the DABs ‘war room’, subcontractors can define their own work, communicate where they will be located, and specify the duration of their tasks. This approach fosters a sense of ownership among subcontractors, as they take responsibility for completing their work within specific zones and timelines. The collaborative nature of DABs ensures that everyone is aligned and aware of the tasks to be carried out, reducing confusion and errors. 

Seamless collaboration and planning 

DABs promote open communication and collaboration among all stakeholders on the construction site. By gathering the subcontractors and trades in one place, we can discuss their deliverables, coordinate their activities, and resolve potential conflicts. This transparent and collaborative approach leads to better planning, resulting in smoother workflows, and reduced risks and waste. The entire team becomes more aware of upcoming tasks, allowing managers to allocate resources and enhancing overall project efficiency. 

Promoting a safety culture 

Safety is paramount and non-negotiable to Kapitol. DABs serve as another tool to reinforce our commitment to safety on our construction sites. By involving all personnel in the briefing process, DABs ensure that safety measures are thoroughly discussed, paperwork is reviewed, and permits are in place. The open communication platform eases double-checking safety procedures, increasing overall awareness, and minimising the risk of accidents or incidents—and creates a culture where safety is always top of mind. 

A game changer introduced by our client 

The introduction of DABs at Kapitol is not only an example of how lean construction principles can increase productivity and reduce waste, but also a great example of how clients can improve our industry with their buying power. Construction clients work with lots of head contractors and the insights they glean from those interactions can drive industry-wide continuous improvement. Kapitol Group has taken on a new standard for construction industry practices, emphasising the importance of effective communication and collaboration in achieving project excellence. It’s the single biggest example of productivity improvement on our sites in the last few years. Moving forward, DABs will be implemented across all new Kapitol projects—we're excited to see the continued benefits to our clients and our teams. 

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