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Our Story

The following slides are excerpts from our ABX 2019 presentation.​ They provide some background about the formation of Building AEC Learning, Inc. (BAECL) which was earlier called the Owner-Architect-Engineer-Contractor Peer Learning Lab (OAEC-PLL). We think "BAECL" pronounced "Basil"sounds a lot better - don't you agree?

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BAECL founder Cynthia Tsao reflected on the rate of Lean Construction interest, learning, implementation, sharing, and improvement between AEC companies and projects in Northern California from 1997 to 2004 versus Metro Boston from 2012 to 2017.

Through her participation in the International Group for Lean Construction and the Lean Construction Institute since 1998, the results were clear - all project types and sizes can benefit from Lean Construction. However, she concluded that focusing on Lean Construction alone was an impediment to its rate of adoption.

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Rather, she could work on inspiring regional markets to explore broader themes and techniques that improve collaboration within companies and project teams to increase the rate of learning, testing, and improvement. The techniques that emerge may or may not be Lean-based, and it's important to provide guidance on how to use the most effective techniques successfully.


With a common framework for regional market-based exploration, sharing, learning, and guidance, we can make highly collaborative / high performing teams our everyday... on every project that we and our peers are involved in.


If regional markets increase their number of high performing teams, the AEC industry can serve society even better. This is a good thing, and this potential for change and continuous improvement resonated with Cynthia's roots (she grew up in Berkeley, California).

With this ambition in mind, she developed a framework for the Owner-Architect-Engineer-Contractor Peer Learning Lab (OAEC-PLL) and settled on four themes:

  • Project Team Alignment

  • Project Decision Making

  • Design and Delivery Management

  • Knowledge Management

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With help from Hal Macomber, she gathered like-minded companies and individuals to explore how a Peer Learning Lab could work in Metro Boston.

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On April 05, 2018, they had a Kickoff Meeting. The meeting was hosted by HDR, and our icebreaker was "Two Truths and a Lie."

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On May 03, 2018, the group develop a mission to guide our efforts. The meeting was hosted by AKF.

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Before long, we found ourselves sharing interesting (but what should probably be confidential) stories. Since they were insightful and helpful to our group learning, we developed a Code of Ethics during our July and August 2018 meetings to maintain a safe space for us to share our stories.

Consigli hosted the July 05, 2018 meeting and MSCBA hosted the August 02, 2018 meeting.


On June 14, 2018 and January 02, 2019, Cynthia suggested a cadence for peer learning exploration, experimentation, and dissemination. 

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While the group follows this structure in principle, our meeting topics, discussions, and project experiments have evolved more organically based on member interests and opportunities to try something different.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more!

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