Time is of the essence when building a new project. There is a construction schedule to maintain and a closing date commitment to keep, all while delivering a quality-built job. However, when subcontractors and crews are racing the clock, corners can get cut and mistakes can be made. And, in today’s construction environment, the superintendent can’t be on the jobsite every minute looking over the subcontractor’s shoulder.

So how does a builder know if there are hidden quality issues lurking on their projects? For starters, look for these three warning signs.

  1. Jobs aren’t ready when the Subcontractor arrives as scheduled.

The phase under construction is behind schedule, and not ready for the scheduled work when the subcontractors arrives. This is a common complaint among subcontractors in the construction industry, and the first sign that the project is probably suffering from quality issues.

If the jobsite isn’t ready as scheduled when the subcontractor arrives, several things may happen. The scheduled subcontractor may start work anyway, and simply find ways to “work around” the issues. This means finding creative ways to do the job, which creates mistakes and defects. Or, the scheduled subcontractor will leave, forcing the Superintendent to reschedule the job and further delay construction.

Standardized jobsite inspections by either the superintendent or the crew leader will ensure the job is 100% complete and ready for the next Subcontractor to begin work. This should be done at the same point during the construction process on every single job. Random or spot checking creates inconsistency, and defeats the purpose.

  1. Superintendents are dealing with the same error over and over.

Recurring problems kill productivity. Time is spent solving the problem and implementing a solution, only to have the exact same problem pop-up a few weeks later on a different jobsite. This irritating time waster is another warning sign of quality issues.

A communication system is critical to eliminate recurring problems. This can be achieved in a couple of ways. Take photos of the incorrect installation, as well as an example of the correct installation. Then share these photos with the Subcontractors and use for future training. These right and wrong examples are “Hot Spots” that can be added to checklists and inspections.

  1. Subcontractors have large punch lists and multiple callbacks.

Like jobsites that aren’t ready, callbacks are an expensive problem for the subcontractor and the builder. The subcontractor wastes time, manpower and dollars returning to the jobsite; the builder, loses schedule time, delaying the construction process. Punch lists also create errors and defects. The only way to eliminate punch lists is through standardization. This means that work is performed the same way on every jobsite so items aren’t missed or performed incorrectly.

Standardized checklists provide simple instructions ensuring critical steps aren’t forgotten. They’re basically reminders for a crew to double check before they leave the jobsite. What’s more, checklists are replicable across job sites and are ideal for multiple crews. Regardless of whether Crew A or Crew B is work the job, both are using the same checklist of expectations.

Quality issues are a common threat in every construction project. To truly deliver a best-in-class job, builders can look for these warning signs to tackle problems before they reach their customers.


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