The least that you accept is the best that you’ll get. When you think about it, that’s the difference between today’s quality-focused builder and the old school, construction-as-usual builder.
In fact, there’s a gap developing between that quality-focused builder and the industry norm—that builder who’s been building the same way for the last 35 years. Today’s contractors must be leaner, more efficient, and deliver higher quality and better value in less time and at a lower price. To accomplish that, quality-focused builders are improving in ten key areas. The quality-focused builder:
- Bases his reputation on meeting his hard target measurements
Quality-focused builders know their hard targets – the numbers they must reach in build time, budgets, and customer satisfaction scores. They know what numbers they can’t exceed in defects, punch items, callbacks and warranty percentages. If they’re doing their job, they know where they stand. The difference is that the quality-focused builder continually analyzes his numbers. He looks at his weakest area and asks “why.” He looks at his strongest area and asks “why.” He benchmarks against the competition and looks for ways to improve and surpass. A quality-focused builder is continually setting goals and adjusting his game to achieve those goals.
- Systematically delivers a good customer experience
The quality-focused builder religiously follows established processes that reliably manages the customer experience. This includes following an established process for customer meetings, providing consistent, timely communication with progress updates. Throughout the build customer concerns and punch items are itemized and proper corrections are well documented and finishing with a detailed final walk-through. Delivering a clean, defect-free, 100% completed project goes a long way toward providing a positive customer experience as well, which goes hand-in-hand with a well-executed Construction Quality Control Program.
The quality-focused builder knows that because variability is already complicating construction and the building schedule, the need to follow standardized processes is even more critical. Of course, the quality-focused builder will use past experience to improve standards in the system, but he uses a system nonetheless.
- Walks the Jobsite with Fresh Eyes
The quality-focused builder walks the jobsite – where the action is happening – watching, asking questions, and learning. Even when there is no discernible problem, he’s there observing and analyzing. The quality-focused builder asks questions and is always looking for ways to be more efficient, build faster and eliminate waste.
- Never accepts 2nd Time Quality (defects) as the Norm
The quality-focused builder requires first time quality and 100% job completeness… nothing less. He acts with a sense of urgency. Preventing recurring defects becomes a personal mission. The quality-focused builder never puts off work until a punch when it can be completed today, and never accepts 2nd time quality as standard. Rework and return trips costs time, money and resources. The job isn’t done until its 100%. And it must be 100% the first time.
- Involves Subcontractors directly in the Construction Quality Control Program
The quality-focused builder promotes an equally beneficial partnership. He actively engages his Subcontractor Teams in construction QA/QC measures and solicits them for ideas to improve products, performance and building standards. He understands that in order to reduce cycle time days and increase quality, the Tradesmen who actually perform the work must be involved. He understands the importance of checklists and standardized inspections.
- Uses Checklists and Visual Management to improve communication
The quality-focused builder understands the relationship between visual tools (checklists, signage, writing on the wall, Hot Spot photographs) and job completeness, cleanliness and safety. The quality-focused builder uses this visual management to communicate standards and expectations to his Subcontractor team – even when he can’t physically be on the jobsite himself. He understands the advantage of using checklists and photographs to communicate incorrect installations on a punch list as well as demonstrating right and wrong examples of completed work. When photographs are integrated into checklists they also assist with confirming inspections and proof of a job completion.
- Uses technology to his advantage
The quality-focused builder uses technology (from scheduling software to inspection software to reporting platforms) to further meet his quality and cycle time goals. To the quality-focused builder, using technology isn’t just about updating delivery dates. It’s a communications network between the jobsite and his team of Subcontractors – making notifications, drawings, specifications, and other jobsite documents accessible 24/7 and eliminating phone tag and that time-waster of “can you email me this…” The quality-focused builder uses Construction Quality Control Software to work directly with his Trades to eliminate rework, dry-runs, and return trips for needless punch items. He then translates that eliminated waste into dollars saved.
- Implements standardized work
The quality-focused builder seeks to eliminate variation from every activity possible in the construction process. He includes photographs and scopes of work on checklists. He implements standardized inspections to ensure consistency throughout the whole project. Training Trade Partners extends work standards to crews performing the work.
- Focuses on eliminating waste
Yeah, there’s a lot of waste involved in construction. The quality-focused builder is passionate about identifying and eliminating waste because he understands just how expensive that waste is. So, he’s continually looking to eliminate it on his job site, in his construction schedule, in the supplier’s delivery process, in the Trade’s installation practices and within the building system.
- Schedules time for quality improvement in his calendar
This single activity will ultimately separate the quality-focused builder from all others, the men from the boys, and the achievers from the posers. It’s that important.
The quality-focused builder physically blocks-out time in his week dedicated to problem solving and improving quality. This is a consistent recurring appointment on a weekly basis (at a minimum) or daily, if he’s serious. During this time, he reviews and analyzes quality assurance reports, studies jobsite photos, and updates inspection and checklist standards. He wants to build faster, more efficient, and with less headaches next week, than he had this week.
At the end of the day, the least that you accept is the best that you’ll get.
The quality-focused builder is continually improving not only himself but the tools he uses and the system he follows. And as the quality-focused builder improves, the gap between him and his competition will continue to widen.