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At JE Dunn Lean, we seek to maximize collaboration as early in the process as possible to deliver transformational solutions with certainty of results.

We have long used the Last Planner System® for fostering commitments and eliminating waste from the construction phases of our projects. This process determines team needs and commitments in order to deliver each milestone.

In the interest of continuous improvement, we asked what would happen if we put the system to work during the design phase on a recent project with HOK.


SkyCenter One is a new, nine-story, 270,000 SF office building at Tampa International Airport. The project also includes a 1,291-space parking garage adjacent to the building. An elevated walkway will connect the office building’s atrium to the SkyConnect train station, which provides service to the airport’s main terminal and rental car center.

SkyCenter One will meet LEED Silver and WELL building standards. Amenities also include a 3,000 SF café, a 5,000 SF fitness center and a 2,750 SF conference center along with multiple outdoor gathering spaces.

The delivery of the project is unique for multiple reasons. The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority sought out a turn-key solution for the development of a new office building on airport property.  VanTrust Real Estate is providing financing for the project as the developer, and brought on the design-build team of  JE Dunn and HOK.

Upon completion, the Authority will occupy three floors of the building for their own offices. The Authority is expected to purchase the building within seven years following completion. The project had an added unique challenge, with VanTrust Real Estate as the owner, but Hillsborough County Aviation Authority as the end user.


Using the Last Planner System® in Design brings together those who are actually performing the design work, including engineers and key trade partners. The goal remains the same as when the Last Planner System® is used for construction scheduling: make reliable commitments and eliminate waste.

  1. Project Team Kickoff

Participants gain a basic understanding of lean. Roles and responsibilities are defined. Focus is on creating and maintaining a reliable workflow.

  1. Design Milestone Plan

Key design milestones are identified, along with their purpose. Design needs, expectations and decisions needed within each milestone are also identified.

  1. Design Phase Pull Planning

These sessions happen at each milestone and throughout the design cycle. Deliverables needed to meet the milestone are discussed and specific activities are identified. The team works from end to beginning, identifying efficiencies along the way.

  1. Design Cycle and Weekly Planning

The team should identify how often they will meet and focus on reliable commitments to upcoming deliverables. During these meetings, the focus is on make-ready planning by identifying hand-offs and deliverables for the next 2-3 weeks.

  1. Learning/Improvement

Percent planned complete and variances are actively tracked to improve the next design cycle.


Constraint and Commitment Logs

The constraint log tracks items that impedes certain activities from happening. It is broken down by performer, those responsible for removing the constraint, and customers, those who need the constraint removed.

The log is reviewed during weekly planning sessions to ensure prompt removal of constraints, allowing the design to progress. “It helped to put a plan in place and allowed us to have tasks that we could hold the entire team accountable to rather than just the deliverables at the end of each design milestone.”  – Chris, General Superintendent, JE Dunn

A commitment log, or work register, is used to track commitments made during design phase pull planning sessions. Broken down by milestone and activity, the register tracks who is responsible for each activity, as well as who requested that the activity be performed. The register also is used to track commitment dates and any associated constraints associated with the activity.

“It forces us to think about our work and deliverables in a new and unique way. I feel like traditionally we work off of checklists with a final date in mind, but the pull plan process really helps us focus in on which pieces of information are truly crucial at different stages of the project.”  – Melissa, Senior Design Professional, HOK


The SkyCenter One team mitigated a five-month delay in notice to proceed via the Last Planner in Design system. Critical design for foundations was processed so that site mobilization could occur two months earlier to begin deep foundations.

Thanks to Last Planner in Design, the project has continued to track on budget. This approach also afforded the Owner valuable time to design the café area while allowing for it to be finished with the remainder of the building with no time extension.

By optimizing the design via the Last Planner System®, JE Dunn saved two months in construction duration through sequencing  of trades.