- Make it easy. Stage materials, tools and equipment so that they will be where crews need them when they need them, reducing time wasted handling them.
- Panelize. Speed up on-site assembly and installation by using factory-built or other pre-cut, panelized components — from plated trusses to pre-hung doors.
- Standardize paperwork. Standardize progress reporting, materials delivery and change orders to provide reliable, accurate and timely information to the right people — staff, subs, vendors and customers.
- Automate paperwork. With standards in place, work toward an electronic reporting system that eliminates the need for re-entering information. This reduces errors and pushes information through the process faster.
- Start right. Review and adjust the schedule with subs, vendors, labor and supply sources before each phase of work and before the entire project.
- Train right. Provide subs and crews with thorough training, including installation and assembly instructions for each product or system. Establish procedures for using equipment and tools safely and ensuring safety on the job site to reduce on-the-job training and instruction. Make sure the tools and equipment you provide are in peak working order, and that materials and products are free of defects.
- Troubleshoot in process. Work toward a system for finding, reporting and eliminating defects during, instead of at the end of, the building process so that they don't affect the quality and timing of remaining phases.
- Smooth transitions. Review hand-offs between phases and subs (e.g. framing to rough electrical) to identify where activities might be shared, reduced, eliminated or approached differently.
- Get feedback. After each phase of work and after the house is finished, debrief superintendents, key subs, crews, vendors and suppliers to refine your process. Even an hour per phase will shave a day or more from the overall schedule and help you achieve optimal efficiency.
Glen West is vice president of accounting solutions for Timberline Software Corporation. Headquartered in Beaverton, OR, Timberline is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — the Supplier 100 of NAHB.
Timberline's financial and operations software for construction and real estate professionals includes production management, procurement and property management solutions. Integrated Timberline® Office products built around the company's widely used accounting and estimating applications provide streamlined control of job cost, production, contracts, bidding, scheduling, sales, service dispatch and more.
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