The Need for a Company-Wide Construction Program

            After establishing a debugging program, the formation of a comprehensive, standardized, company-wide construction system is the second most important thing that company ownersand top managers can do to improve the construction.

            A company-wide construction program involves information, policies & procedures, tasks, and standards that uniformly apply to all of a company’s projects.

            For example, a mass-production tract housing builder may have 10 large projects under construction. 

            Three of the projects may have grade-A quality superintendents, four of the projects grade-B quality superintendents, two of the projects grade-C quality superintendents, and the 10th project may have a field superintendent that is performing at a grade-D quality level.

            This is not an unusual scenario. 

            This arrangement will function and complete tract houses that get sold and turn a profit for the builder. 

            This scenario is the reality for builders around the world, in variations on the same storyline, for builders having multiple projects competing with other builders for qualified field superintendents.

            The problem here goes back to the point that owners and managers of building construction companies with backgrounds in real estate, finance, accounting, or law, delegate 100% of the field management to experienced superintendents and project managers.

            This produces the unintended consequence of the 10-project company in the example above of 10 different approaches to running the field construction, ranging from grade-A quality down to grade-D quality.

            A building construction company that relies upon the superintendents and project managers to bring in their own management and leadership systems, in lieu of the company having its own optimum system in-place and successfully operating, will create problems and conflicts throughout the company.

            From the human resources department in the main office constantly in search of grade-A superintendents to staff the field, to the sales teams on every project trying to satisfy new homebuyers with less than perfect houses, this lack of a company-wide construction program permeates operations from top-to-bottom.   

            A building construction company that has as many different approaches to the field management of the construction as the number of superintendents running each jobsite, produces an environment that can plague the entire company. 

            This can be the case even with three to seven competent superintendents out of ten, in the example above.

            The general customer service formula in business of spending 80% of the time on 20% of the customers, applies to the problem projects engaged in constant “putting out fires.”

            The solution to this common reality in mass-production tract housing construction is for large companies to have uniformly comprehensive construction programs that create the environment for all 10 projects in the example above to be running smoothly at the same high-quality level, even with field personnel who start-out as grade-C and grade-D superintendents.

            If every field superintendent is operating at grade-B or above because the system that is in-place within the company does not allow for the admittance of numerous design and construction mistakes, then the building construction company increasingly begins to control its own destiny in an ever improving and self-correcting process.

            A company-wide construction system attempts to get everyone on the same page, going in the same direction, with the same philosophy.

            It takes the best methods and procedures within the company and tries to standardize these methods to bring everyone up to the same high standard.

            One of the best arguments for starting a company-wide construction system is that the system stays with the company and is not dependent upon key field personnel coming and going.

            No project should waste time learning from a mistake already experienced on another project within the company. 

            The means for accomplishing this goal is a company-wide, comprehensive system of information, along with well-defined polices & procedures that give the building construction company a uniform direction in its construction practices. 


Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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