It’s no secret: Those behemoth national homebuilders incentivize their trade partners, buy jobsite priority, and lower material and labor costs by offering volume. They can come into a community, negotiate a bulk lot purchase in a neighborhood, start 15 spec homes and tie-up the trade labor. Meanwhile, we’re still building and selling two homes a month. So what’s a small, private homebuilder to do?
If you can’t offer volume, offer efficiency.
That means that your trades can depend on your construction schedule being accurate, your jobsite to be clean and ready for their crews to begin when they arrive, and recurring problems that interfere with job completion are identified and eliminated. Obviously this starts on the jobsite itself. But utilize your Building Partner Council Meeting to take the improvement that much further.
In your Council Meeting, focus on recurring problems. Use photos that you personally took on the jobsite of work that is done correctly as well as incorrectly. Talk about why something is correct or how incorrect work can be prevented in the future. (Leaving the jobsite without sweeping and cleaning-up is a common occurrence.) Reward a job well done to encourage that behavior, but never publicly chastise or embarrass any trade for incorrect work. The point is achieving First Time Quality. Why is this problem occurring and how can we prevent it in the future?
Photo-taking shouldn’t be limited to the jobsite Construction Professional. Encourage each trade to take photos and to speak up about job-readiness issues or anything that’s interfering with their job completion. If a prior trade isn’t completing their job or is doing something that slows-down the following Building Partner’s crew, let’s bring it out into the open. We all know the electricians work impacts the drywaller. The drywaller’s work impacts painter. And just about every trade is affected by the framer. So share the information and foster communication.
If you use a 3rd party inspector for quality control, get him involved in the Building Partner Council Meeting. His photographs can have the strongest impact. He will not only see recurring issues within your jobsites, but will also be familiar with what is working or not working for other home builders in the area. We have an independent inspector review our houses at several stages, including slab, frame, stucco and one last time before the New Home Introduction. His input and photographs are invaluable, but he also reinforces our dedication to eliminating recurring problems to our Building Partners, and achieving efficiency through First Time Quality.