Posted by: JC Gatlin | April 2, 2012

Use your Building Parnter Council Meeting to foster communication

One advantage of your Building Partner Council Meeting is that your individual Building Partners will get to know each and form a relationship. You want to get to a place where your painter can call the crew leader for your drywall company and say, “Hey, your crew’s leaving too many boogers on the wall.” Then they solve the problem themselves.

To get there, you’ve got to move the problem solving away from the meeting room table and onto the jobsite. Get that painter and drywaller to meet together on the jobsite, walk the job and talk about root causes. Expect to play mediator at first. You may need to say, “We’re not playing the blame game” and focus their attention on problem solving.  

Often the first solutions proposed by a Building Partner is to add an additional inspection of some type. A crew leader will walk the house again or may even suggest that you walk it before he does. While a job completion inspection is not wrong, it’s not solving the root cause of the problem. And worse, it’s often not sustainable. Not only are you injecting waste into the construction process, the added inspection will probably fall by the wayside after a couple of weeks anyway.

One solution to eliminate recurring problems is to benchmark. If you have two companies in the same trade (for example, we use different framing crews in the north than in the south) get those companies to compare how they perform and complete their jobs. Each company is going to have unique strengths and weaknesses, tricks of the trade. If one is doing something right, get the other company to adopt that measure. If one is having a recurring problem, ask how the other company handled it. And make sure both companies are familiar with the other’s First Time Quality scores. A little healthy competition can be good for the corporate soul.

This personal touch is what will separate the small, private home builder from all the giant national behemoths. They incentivize their trades through production volume. And, if you can’t offer volume, offer efficiency.

© April 2012 Homebuilding Partners, Inc.   twitter-logo

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Responses

  1. JC, one nugget of wisdom that resonated with me that direct communication on the jobsite is the most efficient way for people that have a problem to connect with those that can solve it. It is worth the effort to foster direct communication among building partners rather than act as a go-between. –

  2. Well said… direct and efficient. I don’t know a Construction Manger anywhere who likes to hear his cell phone blowing up!


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