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5 Critical Steps To Build Your Quality Control Standards For Your Staff or Subcontractors

By Ed Caldeira

Talk to any subcontractor or superintendent and they will say to you they install products the correct manner. All things considered, they have been in the construction business for quite a while, correct?

This might come as a surprise to most of you, nevertheless pretty much every single time I check out a manufacturer's installation guidelines with the way a product was built or installed at the construction site I uncover crucial disparities.

If you don't believe me, look closely at any critical building product installation. Take windows for example, bring the manufacturer's instructions to your jobsite and compare the jobsite installation for flashings, sealants, shimming, and fastening, etc. with the manufacturer's specifications.

The chances are, you will find out that there is a major difference. It is really very important that you uncover these kinds of flaws well before they become legal actions or costly defects.

Here are five steps to making sure you are building it right.

1. Get Hold of All the Specifications

For starters, you will have to understand ways to assemble it correctly. With a good number of specifications available on the internet, you will be able to without difficulty get hold of product installation guidelines on the manufacturer's site. In addition, check industry standards and building code.

2. Work Site Verification

Secondly, study an installation and compare and contrast what precisely you observe to the manufacturer's specifications. Any time you identify a disparity, take photos of those details so that you can easily refer to them subsequently.

3. Define the Right Way

Third, if there is a discrepancy, ask the installer why they use the method they do. Not all differences mean that the installation is wrong. Your installer's method might be better. Show them the specification and ask for their opinion.

Get in touch with the product manufacturer if perhaps you want more information. Eventually, you'll determine what the correct approach is for your enterprise. If needed, get a confirmation from the product manufacturer or your engineer approving your alternate process.

4. Train, Train, Train

When you find a product that's not being installed correctly, create a hotspot training sheet for each detail showing the right way and the old (wrong) way. Train the installation crews, their supervisor, your field supervision staff, and quality personnel on the needed changes.

Fortify your training by putting up the training sheet on the construction site and analyzing the same with the team before they commence working. All companies do safety training, yet often don't put the same emphasis on quality training. Remember to include a section on training in your quality control plan.

5. Follow-up

Use your normal inspection process and field reviews for follow-up. Existing inspection forms can be used with this one simple enhancement: add a checkpoint for each revised installation detail. Even better is including reduced-sized training pictures on the inspection form.

In case the inspections uncover previous methods persisting, then loop back and retrain workers that require specific attention.

Getting Going

With the so many building products being installed, you'll want to take a systematic approach to evaluating each one. My advice is to organize your effort by specialty trade. Start with the exterior building envelope, then proceed to concrete, and the mechanical trades. Allow yourself the flexibility to start the next trade as you get into step 3 or 4 above.

On a few trades you can easily leverage your efforts by making some of your best staff or subcontractors to lead the way. The good thing is that in a few months time you'll make substantial gains towards first time quality and also lessen your potential risk for expensive mistakes.

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