Improving Operational Standards and Processes in House Building

With growing concerns about the quality of new build homes, the House Building industry is under pressure to do more to ensure the stock it’s producing is fit for purpose. 

With costs rising and the market stagnating, House Builders are finding it increasingly challenging to deliver high quality homes in a cost-effective way that maintains profit margins. 

To help you improve your house building business, we created our Weathering the Storm eBook which looks at four of the main areas that are causing issues on your sites right now. 

To help you accelerate the benefits that you can achieve by following the recommendations in our eBook, this blog outlines the five additional factors that we think you need to be working on at head office level.

Your quality inspection philosophy

Police or partner, how do your quality team approach their role?

There has been a call by some for the introduction of independent quality inspectors and processes, but this comes with the risk of sub-optimisation.

Independent inspection functions often become a ‘police force’ distracted by simply spotting non-conformance, rather than preventing its occurrence in the first place. The most successful quality teams work in partnership with operational teams to develop a culture of excellence through continuous improvement, not one that needs constant inspection. 

How is your quality team structured? If it follows the police force model, then the chances are it’s causing your business more harm than good.

Your quality inspection approach

In many House Builders there is a tendency to depend on pre- and post- delivery inspections as a means of ensuring quality. This is indicative of a culture that lacks focus on enabling quality. A focus on results measures after the event causes an untold amount of rework.

It’s better to get things right in the first place by defining and implementing an in-process measures system than waiting until the problem’s occurred and fixing it after.

Your processes

The house building sector routinely organises itself into geographical business units with varying degrees of standardisation. The industry often struggles to understand if the variation introduced in the name of localisation is truly adding value.

The common misconception is that standardisation impinges upon the flexibility to cater for local consumer needs or markets. It doesn’t. Only poorly designed standardised processes do that. 

How do you structure your processes? Are your processes standardised across your regions or do they vary? If they do, you’ll want to look at how you can align the different regions to help standardise your processes and improve quality across your sites.

Your relationships with suppliers and subcontractors

The idea of investing in training subcontractors to develop skills and knowledge in your build processes and policies can be unpalatable for some House Builders.

Why would you want to train your subcontractors who will then take those skills to one of your competitors?

To overcome this, you want to work in partnership with your subcontractors to develop efficient and effective new resourcing processes that work for both parties. Your subcontractors will not need to work elsewhere if you keep them busy on your projects and sites, meaning you can invest in their training with confidence.

By investing in this training, you will help improve the quality of their work, reducing rework and ultimately saving you time and money.

The role of your Board

Finally, for any of these measures to be successfully embedded, the Board must set out a clear direction to create the change of culture necessary for achieving Process Excellence.

An effective performance improvement culture starts at the top and your Board must back this up with unequivocal support – at both the tactical and structural level – to make transformation possible.

Improving your business

There you have it, the five accelerators that you’ll want to think about to help improve your House Building business.

If having read this you’re not sure where to start, or you want expert advice to make sure you’re going in the right direction then that’s where we can help.

We have a strong heritage of working with House Builders to help them understand the issues from site to head office, helping them identify their problems and put in place effective improvements to turn their business goals into results. 

If you want to know more about how PMI can help your business to improve it operational standards and process, please get in touch with our Managing Partner, Rich Seddon: Richard.seddon@pmi.co.uk