Debriefing Meetings and More

            Debriefing meetings with field personnel after the completion of each project, can be one of the best sources of debugging information. 

            Field people are in the best position on a daily basis to observe, record, and then pass along their hard-earned knowledge of what problems and mistakes to avoid on future projects.

            For the builder to be in a positive position to receive this information from the field, assembly-line type bugs must be recognized for what they are: unforeseeable problems and not the result of human error.

            A debriefing meeting at the close-out of every project should have some financial bonus or salary raise attached to the information given from the field to the builder, and not an occasion to point fingers and place blame.

            Otherwise, the field superintendents and project managers will simply keep this information to themselves, improving their own expertise. 

            This does help the builder. 

            The goal here is to download the information from the field and then integrate it into the next upcoming projects in order to proactively prevent design and construction mistakes while the projects are still on paper.

            The idea for the builder is to transfer valuable information from the field into the overall company at-large, so the company possesses this information as well as their best and brightest field supervisors.  

City Plan Checks and Quality                                 

            Another common misconception regarding the accuracy of design plans is the assumption that a stamped set of approved plans is buildable simply because they passed a city plan check looking for building code and planning department violations.

            This misconception is fueled by the natural economic impatience of the builder to break ground, an over-confidence in the accuracy level of a typical set of plans, and a misunderstanding of the extent of a city plan check.

             During the preconstruction phase, the builder and the architect often over-emphasize getting the plans through city plan check, as if that is the acid-test of the accuracy and buildability of the design plans. 

            Although the city plan check is very important, it is not all-inclusive.

            The city plan check focuses only on the building codes and standards of construction that involve life and safety considerations, along with issues such as zoning, planning, building heights, view corridors, tree preservation, and artistic restrictions (such as exclusive use of clay barrel tiles on all roofs).

            The city plan checker does not verify whether dimensions add up correctly across the page, whether a wood or steel beam is placed directly below a bathroom toilet, whether windows are designed too close to wall corners that built-in cabinet bookshelves will crash with ceiling crown molding, and whether or not stairs are positioned correctly to provide enough legal vertical headroom, and hundreds of other quality related issues that fall outside of the scope of a city plan check.

            These potential mistakes are design and construction concerns rather than code problems (except when they surface as code corrections during building inspections), and are assumed to have already been checked by the architect and builder.

            They fall outside the parameters of the city plan check.

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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