How Clearstory’s Change Order Network Aligns with the Principles of Lean Construction

By: Cameron Page  |  October 11, 2023

Eliminate waste, automate quality control, and provide on-time, just-in-time product delivery. So goes the Toyota Way, the data- and robotics-driven lean manufacturing revolution led by the Japanese car and truck maker back in the 1960s. The idea? To maximize the flow of value from the manufacturer to the customer with little or no interruption. 

Since 1997, the nonprofit Lean Construction Institute (LCI) has likewise been working to transform production management in construction, engineering, and project design. LCI’s Lean Project Delivery System™ promises to facilitate planning and control, maximize value, and minimize waste across the design and construction process.

Here at Clearstory, we share those ambitions. We purpose built the industry’s only Change Order Communication Network to solve what we call “The Change Order Gap”. This is the gap between stakeholder internal financial software systems that leaves teams manually reconciling change order requests with static logs, email correspondence, and triplicate carbon copy paper. Clearstory solves this gap with the industry’s only universal cloud-based Change Order Log that creates instant alignment between stakeholders. In addition, we supercharge manual workflows like Change Order Review, T&M Tickets, pricing exercises and much more. 

We’re excited to head out to the 25th annual LCI Congress to network with other construction professionals and innovators interested in adopting Lean Principles to eliminate outdated systems and processes that limit productivity and create tension between project stakeholders. With that in mind, here’s a look at how Clearstory matches up with the 6 core principles of the Lean Project Delivery model:

Respect for People

Trust and transparency. They’re at the foundation of any successful Lean construction project and a key driver of the respect necessary for high levels of collaboration. Clearstory likewise was designed for trust and transparency, centered around a universal Change Order log within a shared network to capture, surface, and resolve out-of-contract costs in real-time. When project partners are literally on the same page, surprises are eliminated, anxiety goes down, and teamwork thrives.

Optimize the Whole 

Get in, do your part, and get out. That might make sense on some projects, but not so much in Lean construction, which instead seeks to break down silos between Owners, Architects, General Contractors, and Specialty Contractors and improve collaboration for the best overall project outcome. As Change Orders accumulate on projects, risk goes up for everyone. By working more efficiently and transparently teams can make decisions faster, and add value to the overall project.

Removal of Waste

In Lean Construction, there’s eight different kinds of waste, and Clearstory addresses them all. That’s because Clearstory was built by contractors who recognized fatal flaws in a Change Order process built on manual workflows, paper-based reporting, disjointed communication flows, and incompatible software platforms. Clearstory solves for extra processing by providing a Universal COR network with automated workflows. We eliminate the motion and transportation waste associated with triplicate carbon copy T&M tickets, and speed COR processing times to skip the waiting game so talented teams can thrive.

Focus on Process and Flow

Get your work done smoothly and unimpeded by the work of others on a project. A bold goal for construction, but not unachievable: reducing wait times is one of the primary Lean tactics for getting more flow, and also happens to be one of the key ways Clearstory drives value to the jobsite. The Change Order Gap makes it hard for companies to achieve consistency across manual workflows and the lack of standard, organized reporting. Clearstory’s Digital T&M tags and a shared, universal COR log updated in real-time speed COR processing by 75% or more by eliminating manual documentation for Subcontractors and providing project managers with instant visibility into out-of-contract work for fast resolution and approval.

Generation of Value

Value, according to LCI, is essentially the opposite of waste, and Lean construction demands that processes are tailored to generate as much value as possible. By providing transparency into out-of-contract costs as they occur, Clearstory eliminates surprise costs and enables project managers to forecast budgets as accurately as possible. This enables the GC to help their client make value based decisions throughout the course of the project. Faster COR processing provides faster cash flow to Specialty Contractors, and real-time data visibility negates the need for manual workflows that can result in contentious negotiations.

Continuous Improvement

Plan, Do, Check, Adjust. By capturing Change Order data at the moment of inception in a structured format companies can gain historical insights into what changes on projects. This data can lead to better project planning and reduction in risk. 

Clearstory's alignment with the principles of  the Lean Project Delivery model isn’t just a coincidence – our commitment to trust and transparency, optimizing processes, reducing waste, and enhancing project value echoes the lean principles that have transformed industries since the Toyota Way was first introduced back in the 60s. If you’re embracing lean delivery models or otherwise building into a future where construction projects are executed with efficiency, transparency, and collaboration at their core, book a 15-minute demo to see how Clearstory can help you get there, we promise it will be worth it.

Ready to Learn More?

Clearstory is rapidly becoming the standard way in which costs are communicated in the commercial construction industry. To learn more about Clearstory and see how thousands of contractors are improving their Change Order process, connect with one of our experts at or request a live demo.

Cameron Page
Cameron Page

Cameron leads Clearstory as the founder and CEO. After 10 years as a Project Manager at Devcon, a leading design-build GC, he knew there should be a better way to track and communicate on Change Orders. He started Clearstory with a mission to help the entire construction industry get extra work processed and closed faster in order to reduce risk, waste less time, and strengthen relationships.

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