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.

Red-Lined Plans and More

            Red-lined sets of plans are plans (blueprints) that have been corrected or modified in the field because of errors or owner’s changes.

            For multi-unit production tract housing and condominiums, red-lined plans are usually generated during the construction of the sales models which constitutes the trial-run phase before full-scale production begins.

            The construction of the sales models provides the time-period in the project when the construction is debugged and the owner makes interior floor plan and exterior elevation changes.

            The red-lined plans are then given back to the architect and engineers for revision so that a correct, updated set of plans can be used for the remainder of the construction.

            Red-lined plans enable the builder to identify common mistakes to look for on future plans.

            For example, laundry closets typically dimensioned 30 inches deep by the architect might be too tight for some brands of clothes dryers when the inclusion of the dryer vent hose and the gas pipe are taken into consideration, resulting in the wood bi-fold door bottom metal guides rubbing against the fronts of the appliances, for lack of space.

            I have seen plans that mistakenly show a bedroom wardrobe closet opening width of 5’-6”, when standard 2’-9” wide closet doors do not exist.

            These types of errors should become part of a growing checklist the builder uses as they analyze the plans before the start of every new project.

Homebuyer Walkthrough Sheets                            

            Homebuyer walkthrough sheets are a source for identifying quality-control items that slipped past the final phase of the construction, but were noticed by the homebuyer at the walkthrough.

            Some of these items are minor like missed paint touchup that are the result of time-crunch of completions, escrow closings, and move-ins that occur as closely sequenced events.

            But other items are actual bugs that show up repeatedly on several walkthroughs, and therefore require identification and attention in order to be eliminated going forward. 

Warranty Complaint Letters                        

            Warranty complaint letters are a source of quality-control and debugging information noticed after the homebuyers move into their homes.

            These letters are a means for evaluating the quality of the materials and products that were used, the construction methods, the warranty repair service of subcontractors in terms of response time and effectiveness, and the functional utility of some architectural designs.

            Warranty complaint letters also tell the builder how accurate in the homebuyer walkthrough in identifying issues that need to be resolved at or before homebuyer move-in. 

            If the walkthrough sheet lists only 4 minor items to repair at walkthrough, yet 60 days later the builder receives a customer service complaint letter listing 30 items that would or should have been obvious during the walkthrough, for example, and this is not an isolated, one-time occurrence but is the repetitive experience, this then tells the builder that something is wrong at the delivery phase of the new units.

Subcontractor Extras                                   

            Subcontractor extras tell the builder where money was spent to solve problems that fell outside the scope of work sections in the contracts.

            Extras tell the builder where design plans are incomplete or incorrect…and where contract language is loose.  Extras are a source of information for tightening the budget on future phases of an existing project and formulating more accurate budgets.

Advice from Subcontractors                        

            Advice from subcontractors is another valuable source of information for figuring out how to improve the construction.

            Subcontractors have a unique viewpoint close to the construction. 

            Because many subcontracts are awarded through negotiation involving the same subcontractors, design and construction improvements can be solicited from a builder’s regular group of subcontractors, in technical jargon called value engineering

Punch Lists & RFIs

            Punch lists are lists of unfinished or substandard work compiled by the superintendent while “walking” the jobsite.

            These lists can be notes written on scratch pads using a rigid clip-board, or formal company checklists used during the successive phases of the construction.

            By examining punch lists for all of a company’s projects, any practices or materials causing problems on several projects can be identified, with the aim of ultimately reducing each problem to a non-repeating, historical issue relegated to the past.

RFIs (requests for information)                   

            Requests for information (RFIs) are written questions submitted to the architect or engineers by the builder or a subcontractor (through the builder) and involve conflicts or omissions on the plans, in the specifications, or some issue in the construction. 

            RFIs can also simply be a text or email of a problem in the construction using a smart-phone, sent to the architect or one of the engineers along with a follow-up telephone call, then memorialized also in a written RFI to document the problem and the solution.

            RFIs from a number of past projects can be a goldmine of information that can be organized and analyzed to be used in a checklist format to proactively debug the design plans for similar current and upcoming projects.

            Because RFIs generally are described and illustrated in sufficient detail and answered with equal specificity in addressing the problem or issue, RFIs are ready-made in that they can simply be applied to current and future upcoming projects to determine if similar conditions might produce similar questions or problems.

            Eliminating RFI’s proactively upfront before the actual construction begins can greatly improve all aspects of the project, from obtaining more accurate bids to avoiding time-consuming stoppages in the work.

            During the construction, quickly answered RFI’s eliminates the costly manpower inefficiency of having to temporarily move tradespeople around on the jobsite to other areas while a question or conflict is resolved.

            Having potential future RFI’s answered upfront while the project is still on paper is the best outcome for the builder, the designers, and for field personnel in terms of efficient time-management.

Identifying Construction Bugs

            In-house sources of information that housing development company owners and managers can use to identify construction problems and mistakes include the following:

  • building inspection correction cards
  • superintendent punch lists
  • RFIs
  • red-lined plans
  • homebuyer walkthroughs
  • warranty complaint letters
  • subcontractor extras
  • subcontractor advice
  • meetings with field employees
  • incentive programs

            Without hitting this same nail on the head too many times, the individual jobsite superintendents or project managers are not in a position to collect this information from all of a company’s projects, or to initiate a company-wide debugging program.

            Again, the development company owners and managers must first recognize the need to research the information, then delegate someone within the organization to do the research, collect the information, and have the time and resources to coordinate and disseminate this information.

            Each source of information that should be researched is described in more detail in the following sections.

Inspection Cards                                          

            Building inspection corrections are code violations missed by the subcontractors and the jobsite superintendent(s), yet noticed by the building inspector during inspections. 

            These violations are usually written on correction cards or paper “slips” issued by the inspector.  A copy is given to the construction jobsite.

            These individual inspection cards can be collected at the completion of every project, organized and analyzed at the main office, and then used to discover violations that can be proactively prevented on current and future projects, especially those building code problems that have occurred more than once. 

            Building code violations highlight good construction practices that should be corrected and implemented on every project.

            For example, if a particular building inspector requires that loose sawdust and wood shavings, produced from the framing straight-edging operation, be cleaned off the top flat surfaces of metal fireplace fireboxes for the framing inspection, then adopt this as a standard policy on every project.

            If another building inspector on another project wants the insides of FAU platforms in garages cleaned out of all debris for the framing inspection, do it for all projects.

            If an inspector requires insulation at perimeter rim-joists, or uncut factory-edges of water-board drywall at bathroom floors, or electrical plastic outlet boxes on two-hour garage ceilings labeled 2-C for ceilings instead of 2-W for walls, adopt these as standard procedures on every project.

            The goal is to identify the specific corrections building inspectors are “calling” on different projects and organize them onto a single checklist for use on all of the company’s projects. 

            This checklist when followed, essentially relegates past building code corrections to one-time past occurrences that will not re-surface again to cause time delays and non-productive repair work.  

            By analyzing the building inspection cards for every project, after the project construction is completed, any subcontractor practices or materials causing building inspection corrections resulting in time delays can then be identified as future preventive information.

            The builder should not allow a subcontractor to cut corners to save money or make a job easier, based on a calculated risk that the building inspector might miss the problem.

            The old-fashioned concept that the builder should purposely leave a few things for the building inspector to find so that the inspector feels like they are doing a good job, is nonsensical.  The daily interest costs on construction loans are too large to waste five minutes playing mind-games with the building inspector and the city/county building department.

            The builder should aim for successful inspections every time. 

            After a few months of good inspections demonstrating the builder’s commitment to achieving perfect code compliance, the building inspector can begin to relax about the high-quality of the construction and not look so closely at everything. 

            This makes the building inspections go smoothly and rise above the adversarial “gotcha” mentality that sometimes exists between the builder and the building inspector on some projects.

            One of the first steps therefore toward the goal of debugging building inspections is to collect the inspection cards from all projects and then identify the issues that are occurring. 

            Each project manager and superintendent can then be educated and informed about building inspection problems early on, upfront before the start of the next new project, so that everyone in the field is at the same advanced point on the learning curve.

Quality-Control Versus Bugs

            Another aspect of reoccurring construction problems is found in confusing design and construction bugs with quality-control. 

            Debugging and quality-control, although closely related, are different.

            Craftsmanship can be defined in quantitative and qualitative terms: how plumb and straight are walls, how flat are floors free of humps and valleys, how many coats of paint achieve full coverage, etc. 

            These qualifications can be defined in fractions of inches or degrees of judgment, and can be controlled by making the adjustments of taking more time to do a better job or spending more money for better performing materials.

            Quality is therefore directly affected by effort, care, motivation, judgment, and intentional resolve.

            Bugs, on the other hand, occur regardless of best intentions or performance levels simply because they surface by surprise.

            Foreknowledge of mass-production assembly-line type construction bugs is pure informational knowledge and has little to do with attitudes or motivation.

            When company owners and managers talk broadly about improving construction efficiency and quality, they miss the point entirely.  Technical issues cannot be resolved using a broad-brush management approach, at least not in manufacturing industries like building construction.

            Real debugging and quality-control starts at the nuts-and-bolts level, then goes up through the organization.  To be effective, the discussion must move from the general to the specific.

            Preventive problem-solving and debugging provides the housing development company owners and managers an opportunity to impact the efficiency and quality of the construction without themselves being construction experts. 

            They can collect, process, organize, manage, and disseminate the debugging information so that the knowledge acquired, of lessons-learned on past jobs can be applied to present and future jobs.

            Housing development company owners and managers must initiate housing construction quality and efficiency for it to evolve beneficially. 

            As previously stated, they are the only individuals in a position to gather and maintain the required information…and budget the necessary time to analyze it. 

Construction Bugs

            Assembly-line bugs by definition are problems and mistakes that are difficult to anticipate ahead of time.

            Because no one person in construction knows everything, every person out in the field is at a different point on the uphill slope of the learning curve. 

            Some people know about and guard against certain construction problems, while other people know and guard against others.  The only way for everyone to be equally informed is to collect all the combined experience and knowledge from past projects and apply them as a whole to each new project.

            The first step toward achieving this goal is for company owners and managers to assign someone within the company this task.

            Over the years I have attended many construction meetings held in corporate main offices.  I have heard owners and managers plead, threaten, rant and rave, pound tables with their fists (an actual event I witnessed), and offer all sorts of incentive bonuses for faster construction and improved quality.

            It took me years to realize that what these owners and managers were asking for was within their reach all the time. 

            The basic research information, all of which is non-technical, to identify the bugs that cause schedule delays, budget overruns, nightmarish field problems, stressed-out jobsites, personnel turnover, and unhappy homebuyers was all obtainable from the field at any time.

            They just needed to look.

            But why should company owners invest the time and resources upfront to discover and prevent design and construction bugs? 

            Why not wait until bugs materialize during the construction and then solve them case by case after-the-fact? 

            Isn’t resolving field problems in the reactive-mode the most economical approach?

            Isn’t this why field people are on the jobsite?  Isn’t this part of their job description?

            The answer to these questions is the same reason why so much effort is spent upfront debugging the traditional mass-production assembly-line.

            The debugging of an assembly-line before full-scale production begins, benefits each and every product assembled thereafter.  When the time, effort, and costs of the initial debugging operation are spread-out over a large number of the same identical products, then the costs of that debugging operation become lower per item.

            It makes economic sense to confine the discovery and elimination of bugs to the initial trial-run period of the mass-production assembly-line, because any remaining bugs slow down or temporarily stop each subsequent production cycle.

            Every time the same problem occurs on a multi-unit tract housing or condominium project, the development company owners and managers indirectly participate in the learning process.

            If the same mistake is repeated on five projects by five different people over a period of time, the company owners and managers are experiencing the ill effects of that same mistake five times instead of only once.

            It is more cost-effective to record the mistake the first time it happens and educate everyone to prevent the mistake from happening again, because “time is money” in building construction.

            No one in the field can be expected to anticipate every potential construction problem.  Mistakes and problems are part of housing construction.  From the perspective of the person in the field, a problem that is truly a bugis unexpected and unforeseeable and therefore pardonable.

            But the housing development company owner or manager who knowingly or unknowingly participates in that same debugging event in the field four or five times over, is failing to recognize the leadership opportunity that exists here. 

            All owners and managers should be motivated to initiate a debugging process in an effort to prevent the relearning of the same housing construction lessons over and over.  


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. 


Modern Management’s Role in the Construction

            A fundamental problem in mass-production tract-housing construction today is that many owners and managers of large development companies are more familiar with marketing and sales rather than building construction.

            The master builder of the past, who knew business, design, and construction from the ground up has been replaced by MBAs and CPAs whose expertise is in acquiring land, sales-pitching projects to investors, and securing financing. 

            The corporate office is often comprised of people who have never poured a yard of concrete or hammered a 16-penny nail.  This lack of hands-on experience creates a technical leadership vacuum at the top of the housing development company.

            Thus, the entrepreneurial energy and creativity that could go into innovating faster, better, and less expensive methods of construction is channeled almost entirely into financing, marketing, and architectural refinements. 

            Housing construction has therefore remained virtually unchanged for the past 60 years, going back to the invention of tract housing.

            Architectural styles, structural designs, building codes, fixtures, and appliances have all improved but houses are still being assembled using the same methods and techniques that existed when I started my career in construction roughly 50 years ago studying construction technology in junior college in 1971.

            Housing development company managers who do not have a construction background do not know where to begin to initiate changes that would be beneficial to building construction. 

            Development company owners and managers with backgrounds in real estate, finance, law, and accounting seldom promote innovation in the technical area of the business because they do not understand or are not interested in the nuts-and-bolts details of building construction.

            This lack of construction experience in the management of large housing development companies is not pointed out here merely for the sake of being critical. 

            Instead, it underscores a deeper problem that exists throughout the housing construction industry. 

            When housing development company owners and managers consciously or unconsciously distance themselves from the technical side of their business, and concentrate solely on finance, marketing, and architecture, the construction operations in the field suffer.

            The major obstacle to improving housing construction is that housing development company owners and managers do not realize that they are the key players to start the improvement process.

            MBAs, CPAs, and real estate people should not be expected to have the technical knowledge and practical field experience to analyze the construction.  But they are in positions that can commit and allocate the time and resources necessary for more effective and extensive construction analysis and debugging.

            Upcoming sections cover in-house sources of information that can be used to identify a particular company’s construction problems and mistakes.  These sources include:

  • punch lists
  • inspection cards
  • red-lined plans
  • requests for information (RFIs)
  • subcontractor extras
  • homebuyer walkthrough sheets
  • customer service complaint letters

            Jobsite records archived from previous projects are sometimes not even kept, much less analyzed, condensed, and organized to be made available to project managers and superintendents starting new multi-unit tract housing or condominium projects.

            This lack of lessons-learned information transferred to new projects is a lost opportunity.  If past design and construction issues are not provided for new and future projects…then each new project must be individually analyzed and debugged from scratch…as if past history did not exist and the construction company was a new start-up company building its first project.

            The new project superintendent cannot collect this past, documented, company-specific information or allocate time upfront for constructability analysis using this information if it does not exist, for pre-planning and proactive debugging before the start of the actual construction.

            The only people who can collect this design and construction information on an on-going basis and budget the time for upfront planning and analysis for proactive mistake prevention are the company owners and managers. 

            If company owners and managers do not see the need to debug the construction on a project-by-project basis using lessons learned on previous projects, this opportunity task will simply not get done.

            This topic of discussion again illustrates the differences between housing construction and other types of manufacturing. 

            Housing development company owners and managers unfamiliar with building construction incorrectly assume that housing construction is so similar and repetitive that it was thoroughly debugged sometime decades ago in the distant past, like a single assembly-line producing a particular model of tennis rackets is initially debugged. 

            They further assume that the benefits of this already accomplished industry-wide debugging are now common knowledge in the field and only slight differences remain to be resolved between projects.

            Owners and managers unfamiliar with building construction think that by hiring an experienced and qualified field staff, and providing good subcontractors, they have exhausted the limits of their possible influence over the course of the construction.

            They are partially correct from a functional standpoint.  New housing construction projects do get completed, smoothly or not. 

            The evidence that supports the notion that more can be done by owners and top managers to benefit the construction, is the existence of many of the same design and construction problems reoccurring on project after project.

            Part of the problem also exists in the overconfidence and overreliance that people unfamiliar with building construction place in architects, engineers, subcontractors, and tradespeople. 

            Specialization does produce expertise, but it also multiplies the number of areas where less than absolute perfection in each area can add up to a lot of small problems overall.

            For owners and managers to assume that the plans are 100 percent accurate and error-free, and that each subcontractor and tradesperson can do everything correctly because each is a specialist, is not being realistic. 

            Recognizing that everything cannot be 100 percent correct should signify that a strategy is needed, initiated and supported by upper management in terms of data collection and man-hour allocation investment to proactively identify and remove any remaining conflicts or problems.

Management’s Role in Debugging the Design Plans

            Housing development company owners and managers can lead the way in ensuring the accuracy level of the design plans. 

            Probably in no other area is upper management in a better position to help improve quality and efficiency in the construction, than to secure good building plans.

            Two common misconceptions exist in the building industry, however, that tend to obscure and excuse design errors.  These must be understood before any progress can be made.

            The first misconception is the idea that it is the expected duty of field people to take incomplete, inaccurate, and unclear plans and work-out all the bugs during the construction, using the established means and methods standards of the industry.

            It is widely believed that it is easier and cheaper for the tradespeople to coordinate, to work-out the design kinks during construction than it is for the architect and engineers to spend the time to get the design totally correct while still on paper. 

            In this mindset it is taken for granted that architects and engineers can advance their designs graphically (and economically) only so far on two-dimensional paper, and then the people in the field must resolve the remaining omissions and errors in three-dimension as the construction progresses.

            Many people both inside and outside of the industry believe that part of the satisfaction of working in the field comes from solving design and construction mistakes.

            The stereotypical advertisement in the newspaper that shows a sketch of several people with their shirt sleeves rolled-up, blueprints under the arm, looking through a builder’s level or pointing and giving directions, implies that solving problems in-the-moment in the reactive mode in the field is both satisfying and expected.

            This is a gross misconception.

            If we are to take seriously the goal of approaching the machine-like efficiency of the fixed assembly-line in mass-production manufacturing, with a minimum of bugs, then it must be understood that there is nothing satisfying about being overwhelmed on a daily basis with the incoming barrage of nuts-and-bolts problems in-the-moment that surface without warning over the course of the construction due to incomplete information on the design plans.

Debugging Affects Quality, Time, and Money

            Quality in housing construction is affected by the extent and thoroughness of debugging because supervision time in the field is a limited resource in single-family and production tract housing.

            For example, suppose over the course of a typical three-year construction tract housing project a total of 500 previously unanswered questions must be addressed, activities in the field quality-checked, and yes/no decisions made that will take the project construction across the finish-line.

            If people in the field could hypothetically get 100 of those 500 issues resolved upfront through a company-wide debugging program, before the construction starts, then “only” 400 issues/questions remain to be resolved individually during the construction. 

            If 150 problems and questions out of the 500 could be answered upfront through constructability analysis and a checklist of past solved issues, then “only” 350 real problems remain to be resolved during the construction.

            If at the outset of the project there are 200 solutions and answers to the original 500 problems then only 300 more remain to be analyzed and resolved during the construction.

            There is a finite numerical limit to the issues and questions that need to be addressed on every building construction project, irrespective of the complexity of the construction and the magnitude of each issue or question.

            The greater the number of problems, questions, and bugs that can be identified upfront and quickly and correctly resolved while the project is still on paper, the fewer the number of problems remain to be confronted and solved during the construction. 

            This translates into more time available for genuine quality-control and manpower production, rather than spent in daily “putting-out fires” in the reactive-mode.

            A building construction project can get quickly into trouble in terms of quality when the number of latent/hidden problems inherently buried in the project are greater than what can be handled by the field staff. 

            When the field staff is constantly engaged in putting-out fires, the construction is forced into a reactive, damage-control mode which then pushes out the option for genuine quality-control and time-management.

            The benefits of spotting and resolving design and construction problems upfront, before the construction begins, cannot be overstated in terms of quality-assurance.

            Small problems and mistakes, if not caught and corrected early can adversely affect future building trades down-stream in the construction, that can snowball into multiple problems due to the commonly known phenomenon called the ripple effect.

            For example, a bowed wall framing stud by itself can be easily removed by the framer, requiring only one repair effort.

            A bowed or twisted 4×6 or 4×8 structural post in the wall framing with electrical wires running through it requires the framing carpenter and the electrician, if the post needs to be replaced.

            A bowed wall along the floor baseboard if not discovered until the wall is drywalled, painted, and the baseboard installed, requires three or more separate building trades to repair and straighten.

            A bowed wall along a bathroom floor having square-shaped ceramic tile flooring that is not discovered until very late at the time of the homebuyer walkthrough, requires not only the framing carpenter, drywaller, painter, and finish carpenter but also the floor tile installer to replace the tiles at the bowed wall after the wall is straightened.

            The longer a problem or construction bug goes undetected the worse the repair can get, especially in production tract housing involving a large number of units. 

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