Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. ( has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Todd welcomes your feedback at or 248.446.1960.

Lean Design principle #1

June 29, 2011

The concept of lean architectural design is often misunderstood. Elimination of design- induced waste in both product and process is the overriding goal of Lean Design. The builders who “get it” know that they must eradicate waste from their plans in order to not be merely competitive, but to survive in today’s economy. Our experience demonstrates that up to 60% of construction waste originates through poor or misdirected planning efforts. This blog post is the first in a series which will outline the key principles of lean design.

Principle #1- Lean design is not about “dumbing down the houses” or in any way a process to remove amenities available to the customer. Any effort resulting in a home that is less marketable is a wasted one. While participating in “LeanPlan Workouts” with builders throughout the country, the initial reaction by their Sales staff to the impending efforts is trepidation. They are concerned that all of the sizzle will be eliminated leaving them only steak to sell – or worse yet, cheap hamburger. Once a plan has been redesigned to reflect lean principles they realize that the savings in eliminating waste will either allow them to lower sales price and keep the same amenities or (usually more popular) increase the amenities and keep the price the same. At that point the sales associates quickly become raving fans of Lean Design.

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