Trade Contractors Should Be Quality and Safety Partners
To add value to the construction process, home builders should collaborate with their trade contractors to ensure that work crews have been trained in skills that promote quality and safety, according to Quality Matters, the E-newsletter of the NAHB Research Center's National Housing Quality program.
“Some builders are lucky enough to find trade partners who are participating in the National Housing Quality Certified Trade Contractor program,” the newsletter says, “but all too often builders are left with the responsibility to do it themselves.” This is especially the case when builders are working with trade contractors who view their primary role as scheduling independent piecework crews.
To achieve quality results, many builders inspect and punch out each job until it is right, but “with an increased need for daily enforcement, this method and others like it are not very effective, costing time and money,” according to Quality Matters.
Three places where builders can begin their efforts to develop trade contractors as quality and safety partners are:
- Working together to secure craftsman training from product manufacturers and local trade schools. “You will be amazed at the training resources available to you. Decide what training and capabilities are required for the job and develop a credential for field crews that meets those qualifications.”
- Collaborating to develop quality and safety plans. “Agree on quality and safety requirements and write them down in a quality plan that addresses the use of materials, craftsman qualifications, workmanship specifications, safety requirements, job records and inspection requirements.”
- Defining the field inspection records that document what was done on every job and decide the inspection responsibilities for both the trade contractor and the builder.
“Coordinating in this way will result in high performance quality and safety, and the mutual benefits will strengthen the relationship between you and your trade contractor, creating a win-win situation for all,” Quality Matters says.
To learn more about the National Housing Quality program and how builders can improve their partnerships with trade contractors, click here; or e-mail Don Carr, NHQ Certified Builder program manager.