The Integrated Control System

Updated: Apr 1

The Integrated Control System is a system, when applied together, will allow a collaborative team to control a remarkable project with positive results. We will be briefly summarize this below. The main point of the system is that preparation, teaming, a good environment, and accountability are fertile ground for any scheduling system. When we, “Plan it first, build it right, and finish as we go!” we will have a remarkably clean, safe, and organized project the Owner is delighted with, and one where it is on schedule, with good quality, under budget, and the team meets their career goals in a fun and excited environment!


  1. Intentional Pre-construction Efforts. A day in pre-construction will save a week in the field. An hour in preconstruction well spent will save a day in the field. To build a great job, we must plan it first. Our encouragement is to really focus here, to get some help if needed, and to really win before going to battle.

  1. Lean in Contracts. All systems you plan to implement on the project should be included in the contracts. This is key because it is what is right. We cannot surprise our trade partners with systems they did not bid and plan for, and we cannot expect to fully hold people accountable to our systems unless they are contractually tied to it.

The Team:

  1. Win Over the Workforce. Every good operational control system starts with building the team as soon as that team is together. Workers have to feel (and actually be) respected. They need remarkable bathrooms, a good lunchroom, horizontal communication systems, worker huddles, and a clean and safe environment. That, in addition to things like barbecues, positive recognitions, good parking if possible, smoking areas, and other basic needs will create a sense of reciprocity and allow an environment where everyone can buy-in.

  1. Build the Project Management Team. The project management team must have the time to improve, to implement, and to implement Lean systems. This comes from training on personal organization and implementing team balance and health through training and coverage systems. A team should reach out for help if needed, but there must be stability and capacity within the team to be successful with anything else.

  1. Orient People Well. The orientation of project workers and leaders is a key consideration. Everyone must be shown the expectations and be given the tools and information to succeed on the project.

The Environment:

  1. Design Remarkable Interaction Spaces. A project runs well when everyone sees as a group, knows as a group, and acts as a group. This comes from interaction spaces such as gathering areas, visual signage, meeting rooms, office areas, gathering areas, and huddle areas. These should all be designed well.

  2. Create Self-sustaining Logistics Systems. Logistics onsite must be controlled to work optimally because production is gained mostly through supply lines, access to work, and the ability to bring materials just in time. The scheduling, coordination, laydown, delivery, and hoisting of materials must be quick and support the installation of the work. A logistics supervisor, with stable and remarkable logistics systems, are what is needed to succeed.

  1. Use the Meeting System to Scale Communication. The team weekly tactical, strategic planning and procurement meeting, trade partner weekly tactical, afternoon foremen huddle, morning worker huddle, and crew preparation duddles are key to scaling information all the way to the workers. It matters little how well first planners can plan unless last planners weigh in, and-here is the important part--workers understand the plan as fully as possible.

  1. Stabilized Procurement and Deliveries. Procurement must be managed well-- early, on a weekly basis with the superintendent, and made to be predictable. To have integrated control, procurement must be one of the main focuses of the team.


  1. An Effective Quality Program. Quality at its root is that the foremen and workers understand what needs to be built and that they are building it that way in a verifiable environment. When quality becomes visual, easily understood and followed by workers, and the main focus of the project team meeting in a point of release chart, the project team can implement quality in a remarkable way instead of this becoming a separate and forgotten process.

  1. A Daily Issue Correction System. Issues need to be resolved in a project site on a daily basis. The use of texting systems or other technology that is addictive, useful, and fast can be used to identify issues and filter the assignments quickly to people who will actually care for them on a daily basis. Daily correction systems are very effective when the entire project team participates with the trade foremen.

  1. A Roadblock Removal System. The primary focus of a team should be the identification and removal of roadblocks. When systems such as this exist and the PM, super, and executive all work daily to remove them, then work is made ready and flow can continue throughout the project.

  1. Implement Zero Tolerance. No team will have operational control if they tolerate bad behavior. The law of thirds suggests that one third of the project will be bought-in, another third will be undecided, and the remaining third will not be bought in. By incentivizing good behavior and having a positive culture onsite most will transition to being bought-in. Others will not transition. For those that will not, there needs to be a “pay to plan” minimum standard that will elevate behavior and performance and trigger the removal of others who will not conform.

  1. Grade Contractors. One of the best ways to be clear about expectations is to grade all contractors onsite. Clear is kind and unclear is unkind. A team performs best when everyone knows the expectations and when everyone is held accountable to those standards. The visual grading of performance is key in an integrated control system. We cannot manage what we cannot measure. This tactic cannot be understated. It is one of the single best ways for you to elevate the performance on your project. We caution you not to breeze past this. If you do not implement a grading system, you will not achieve the results you want.

The Integrated Control System presumes that the project team’s first priority is to create respect and stability for the workers then from there, they can then continuously improve. A worker needs to know:

  1. What he/she is building

  2. How to install it

  3. Where to put it

  4. The materials

  5. The equipment

  6. A clean environment

  7. A safe environment

The Integrated control system does this.

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