Discovering Construction Defects is Only Half the Battle

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Phew! You found the missing caulk in the soffit in ten different units of that $20 million dollar condo project. And just in time too, since the dry wall installers are due to begin work in the morning.  So, you saved yourself a bunch of headaches down the road.

But now what? Are you confident that this was an isolated incident, what about the first 10 units that have already been completed? What about the next 25 units? The framer promised that they wouldn’t forget to caulk again, but can he deliver on his promise? After all, he’s got a different crew every day.

Are you going to inspect 100% of your sub’s work? Not likely. That’s why inspection alone is never the answer. In order to make the most of your inspection effort, you’ll also need the following:

  • A transparent inspection plan. Know in advance what you will be inspecting and when you will be conducting your inspections. Share this information with your subs.
  • A reporting system that can identify trouble spots. For small jobs, periodic reviews of inspection reports should suffice. Bigger projects will require more sophisticated tools such as trend analysis software.
  • Process improvement procedures. GC’s need lead all of their major subs in process improvement by including a provision for process correction in their bid package. I’ll write more extensively about this in a future post, but essentially you are asking your subs to acknowledge process problems, correct the process and then train their crews in order to implement the corrections.
  • A defect management system that tracks selected defects from detection through resolution.

Incorporating these features into your quality plan will lower your defect-related costs and provide for improved efficiency over the life of a project.

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