Construction quality management is often viewed through the lens of inspections, checklists, and punch lists. While these are all important components of maintaining construction quality, there is more to it than just a collection of documents. Quality management is a process-based approach that impacts more than just the project you are currently working on. When done well, it’s integrated into every project, and the lessons learned are applied to future work. The result is not just an excellent individual project but a system that ensures quality in everything the company does.
Quality Control is in the Culture
By incorporating construction quality management throughout an entire project, the importance of delivering superior results becomes ingrained in the whole team. Even subcontractors who have never worked with you before will recognize that your company has high expectations and takes the appropriate steps to ensure they are met. This emphasis on quality trickles down through the organization and becomes part of the culture.
Focus on the Process, Not Just the Results
Ignoring construction quality management until the end of a project or waiting until key milestones come up is a recipe for rework. Creating processes with quality in mind will allow you to go beyond just quality control and truly integrate higher standards into everything you do. Here are some examples of processes that can help you take quality management to the next level:
- Define what a qualified subcontractor is and only hire providers that meet the criteria (not just those with the lowest bids).
- Establish the quality roles of your project personnel, appoint people to those roles, and ensure that they understand and accept their responsibilities.
- Schedule preparatory meetings prior to each work task to communicate requirements and coordinate activities with key personnel
These are just a few examples of a process-based approach that includes more than just inspections and checklists.
The Proof is in the Punch List
After implementing a construction quality management system, you will see a decrease in the number of items on punch lists for your projects. This is because the crew knows what is expected from them, and subcontractors have been chosen based on their consistently good performance. Shorter punch lists mean less rework, a faster timeline, and more money in your pocket.
Customers Notice Quality
Homeowners and developers always notice mistakes, but they also recognize when a contractor delivers a quality construction project. This results in repeat clients and referrals to increase sales and keep your pipeline full. Remember that subcontractors and vendors are some of your strongest referral partners when recommending providers to their own clients. They can speak from their own experience about your company’s commitment to quality when managing a construction project.
Boost Your Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the company is in business to make money. Although it might seem like more effort, a comprehensive construction quality management program can actually increase your profits and help grow them over time as first-time quality improves. The more you learn from individual projects, the fewer mistakes you will make in the future. A process-based approach also allows you to prevent quality and safety issues and avoid inferior subcontractors and materials suppliers, which ultimately transfers to higher profits for your company.
Maintain Institutional Knowledge
Without a construction quality management system in place, valuable information lives in the heads of individuals or in debrief documents in a filing cabinet. Employee turnover leads to lost institutional knowledge, and mistakes are repeated time and again. A system that captures lessons learned and integrates new processes to avoid them leads to better quality. For example, a new finish carpenter on the crew might not know that visible spaces or dimensional irregularities are not tolerated, but if he or she is working with a quality control manager who shares the interior finish carpentry checklist when the project starts, he or she will understand what is expected before he or she begins working.
A process-based construction quality management approach requires the right tools for measuring quality and qualified people to create and execute the processes. Look for a system that provides not only all of the checklists, safety audits, and communication systems you need to maintain quality throughout the project but also a solution to help you measure, analyze, and improve the percent of first-time quality. In addition to having the right systems in place, a process-based construction quality management approach requires knowledge and understanding of what this entails and how to implement this process approach. Look for a vendor with the expertise to help you identify and develop the processes that will help you achieve first-time quality.
If you’d like to learn more about why quality management matters and how the FTQ360 team can help you achieve it, get in touch today.