Where are Most Project Profits Lost

My Quality Control staff hears me say quite frequently that Quality Control Managers earn their money on the front end of a project and then on the back end and that most projects are won or lost on profits during the Commissioning and Close Out process. Sounds like a simple concept but it is one that we see General Contractors fail and loose valuable profits on time and time again. Below is the Beckrich top ten hit list for successful Commissioning & Closeout on every project;

1. Get your Quality Control Manager involved in the initial Project Schedule creation so that time is allowed for Test and Balance, Commissioning and the Close Out Process. So many projects get down to the very end and have no time left for the commissioning and closeout that must take place which costs General Contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars in liquidated damages.

2. Read your project specific contract and specifications and understand your requirements when it comes to Testing, Commissioning and Project Closeout.

3. Insure you have a dedicated Quality Control Staff reporting to upper management directly not a Superintendent or a Project Manager. A Quality Control Manager is not going to be effective for you if he/she is reporting to an individual with different priorities such as schedule or cost.

4. Create a Testing Plan/Matrix at the beginning of the Project and track progress and completion.

5. Create Close Out Matrix’s at the beginning of the project to track O&M Manuals, Warranties, Spare Parts, Owner Training etc.

6. Keep a tight handle of the outstanding submittal register so that when the project team gets to Commissioning and Closeout only test reports and close out items remain on the register. During this time on a project a Quality Control Manager can not fight clearing a register of missing submittals along with managing the testing and closeout. If a Quality Control Manager gets into that position it will cost the entire project valuable time and money.

7. Quality Control Managers must have an active hand in scheduling and managing the testing and closeout subcontractors and activities. The Quality Control Manager must drive the bus or it will run the entire team over.

8. As mentioned in previous blogs Organization Organization Organization. Quality Control Managers will get snowed under by piles of paperwork if he/she has not set up the site files in an organized manor and kept them up throughout the project.

9. Train your subcontractors on the commissioning and closeout process. A couple hours of training will save you oodles of time and money in hand holding and management on the back end of a project. If your current team doesn’t have the time or resources to train your subcontractors reach out to us as we have specific online training modules to help subcontractors navigate their government contract requirements.

10. Hold a Pre-Red Zone (pre-commissioning) meeting with your subcontractors before walking into one with your client.

 

Need help understanding the commissioning process and requirements on government projects? Or do you need help creating the closeout tracking spreadsheets from your specific contract requirements? Speak to our Corporate Quality Control Manager at 719-399-0914 or Visit us at https://beckrichconst.com/shop .

Concrete – 10 Steps all QC’s should take to prepare for a Concrete Pour

If you ask a seasoned Quality Control Manager what he/she knows about large concrete pours for Federal Clients you may get an answer like “There is a crack in every truck it just depends on when it is going to show up” or ” whatever can go wrong usually does”. One thing is for certain every Quality Control Manager knows the feeling of dread and butterflies in the stomach preparing for a large concrete pour especially for a Federal Client. There are a lot of steps a QC must take prior to and thru pour day. It is up to the QC Manager to drive the pour, the testing & the approval of every truck that comes to site. Beckrich Construction offers very thorough concrete pour training for Quality Control Managers at www.beckrichconst.com.  Below are 8 steps all Quality Control Managers should complete in preparation for a successful concrete pour;

#1 Hold a preparatory meeting with your concrete subcontractor, pump truck, testing agency, your site superintendent & your Federal Client to go thru pour day details, specs and drawings.

#2 Make Sure you have the Testing Agency on Board and Scheduled.

#3 Make sure you have the rebar and Form Inspections completed and documented with plenty of pictures before the pour.

#4 Make a copy of Spec Testing and the Mix ID# to keep on you in your pocket on pour day.

Truck Time limits/Air content / Slump / Temp / Strength / Mix ID#

#5 Watch the weather forecast and know your temperature limits and approved cold/hot weather plans

#6 Check your temp gun for batteries and make sure it is in working order

#7 Be sure you know the approved curing methods

#8 Insure the saw cutting subcontractor is scheduled

#9 Be sure the Testing Agency has the cure box set up onsite if required

#10 Lab cures Vs. field cures – Be sure you know what is required by spec and how many cores you will be asking the testing agency to collect.

 

For Quality Control Training please visit www.beckrichconst.com

Challenger Speech

“On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, which consisted of five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists.” Lives were lost that day, our space Program was forever changed, grounding the fleet for nearly three years and the lives of family members, friends and those who were involved in the construction and send off of the shuttle were forever shattered. I saw this first hand when years later I was lucky enough to go to work as Senior Mechanical Engineer at Thiokol Propulsion. I saw the impact the Challenger accident had and continued to have decades later on the lives of the men and women who created and refurbished the solid rocket boosters and was told more times that I can count “They should have screamed louder, we all should have spoken up and made our speech, We didn’t find our voice.”

For those of you too young to have remembered the details or those who were too removed at the time this may not make sense and you are probably wondering what in the world does this have to do with Quality Control? It has everything to do with Quality Control. The morning the Challenger lifted off, the morning of “January 28 was unusually cold, and engineers warned their superiors that certain components—particularly the rubber O-rings that sealed the joints of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters—were vulnerable to failure at low temperatures. However, these warnings went unheeded, and at 11:39 a.m. Challenger lifted off.” The O-ring failure was the cause of the explosion. I sat in school like so many of us did that morning and watched the lift off and explosion never in my wildest dreams imagining that someday I would get to work with and speak to the men and women involved in the space shuttle design, creation and some who were involved in the discussions of whether or not to fly that day. After seeing firsthand the loss, regret and sadness over the warnings not being heard, or spoken loudly enough I vowed NEVER to make that mistake in my career and have trained every Quality Control Manager I have been blessed to cross paths with to also understand the importance of “A CHALLENGER SPEECH”.

All Quality Control Managers must find their voice! We must speak up when products are not going in as specified or designed. It is up to us to insure what we oversee being built is built safely, accurately and to last. In short this is our job. We will forever be shattered if we do not find our voice. You may be saying to yourself well we are not all involved in Rocket Science or shooting men and women into space so does one bolt, one miss fitting, one wrong truss, I-beam, or piece of equipment really mean that much. Yes, yes it does, lives are affected by our daily choices as Quality Control Managers. Lives are affected whether it is a cost hitting ownership of the General Contractor we work for affecting their livelihood, lost jobs due to necessary cut backs after issues are found, full company shut downs due to project’s lost time, rework, or claims filed which can affect hundreds of lives or worst case loss of life due to inferior products or workmanship allowed to happen in the field. We must never take the need to find our voice as Quality Control Managers lightly.

We do understand this is sometimes easier said than done and there are unfortunately those instances where QC’s feel threatened and that their jobs are held in the balance with their voice or silence. However we must never forget the Challenger and that a loss of one job over the lifetime of a career is minimal when the big picture of a lifetime of possible regret, and our reputation is weighed against it. At Beckrich we are strong believers that Quality Control Managers should not directly report to Superintendents or Project Managers. Quality Control Managers need to directly report to a Corporate Quality Control Manager or Ownership in order to be truly effective. Superintendents and Project Managers have other priorities (money and schedule) which we have seen over and over again conflict with and steer QC’s away from their voice and being able to do their jobs. We hope as a Quality Control Manager you have found a home with a company that values Quality Control Managers as Beckrich does and you are allowed to find your voice without fear or reservations. If this is not the case our heart goes out to you as we have been in those positions throughout our careers and even lost jobs due to refusing to silence our voice but we are hopeful that you remain strong and always remember to give your loudest and clearest Challenger Speeches. Our daily decisions as Quality Control Managers do matter.

If you are a new QC training is the key to understanding Quality Control Requirements which will help you to find your voice. Beckrich has a QC 101 training module for QC Managers available on our website at www.beckrichconst.com. Beckrich Quality Control Division wants to help you to have the tools you need to succeed.

If you have a topic you would like to see us address in a future blog please email us at qc@beckrichconst.com

Most Important Trait for a QC Manager

In speaking to groups and conducting Quality Control Training over the years I am almost always asked what is the single most important trait a QC Manager needs to have. Most Project Managers and Owners expect me to answer with a technical skill set, or a degree but my answer is a one-word response “organized”. Its sounds simple when one looks at the definition or·gan·ized – arranged in a systematic way, especially on a large scale, however being organized is the one factor that can make or break a QC Manager’s ability to be effective on a project.  The government is currently proudly proclaiming they are transitioning into a paperless world, I can hear you chuckling now and I giggle along with you all. Every project has mountains of paperwork from site plans, to submittals, RFI’s, As- Built documents, O & M’s, Warranties and the endless list goes on and on. With so much paperwork a QC can get swallowed up very easily and QC’s can find they are spending ALL of their time in the site trailer trying to dig out from under the paperwork. If a QC is inside the site trailer they are NOT out on the site inspecting and finding issues before they become costly and time consuming. We all need our Quality Control Managers to be in the field being Proactive Not Reactive. The only way they can get there is to be organized on their files and paperwork. Beckrich’s QC’s use good old-fashioned file cabinets and three ring binders for site hard copies along with iPads and digital cloud files for archive and backup. We set up our hard copy and digital files at the beginning of the project so all the QC’s have to do is drop the appropriate items into the right folders or binders and then they can move onto site inspections. If the system is kept up it frees QC’s from the mountains of paperwork, sets standard filing systems that PM’s and Supers can access at any time and helps if there is a change in QC personal or a QC needs to take leave or a vacation. Qc Managers please take a min to make yourselves a good organization plan and save yourselves hours and hours of frustration. Sit down and make a list of the documents you will be responsible for and how you will file them in hard paper form and electronically.

 

If you are a new QC it is vital that you understand your primary job duties throughout a project so you can create your organization plan. Beckrich has a QC 101 training module for QC Managers available on our website at www.beckrichconst.com. Beckrich Quality Control Division wants to help you to have the tools you need to succeed.

 

If you have a topic you would like to see us address in a future blog please email us at qc@beckrichconst.com

11 Things to Know/Look for When Hiring a Quality Control Manager

Hiring a Quality Control Manager for your company is an extremely important task. The right QC Manager can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in rework and lost time if you find the right candidate for the position. Over the years Beckrich Quality Control Services has streamlined QC Manager interviews and below are the top 11 items we look for in all of our Quality Control Managers.

#1 Computer Knowledge – QC’s must have good computer skills i.e. Microsoft Office, Outlook, Bluebeam, QCS/RMS, etc.

#2 Organization – QC’s must be organized with electronic and hard files

#3Communication – QC’s must be able to communicate with all levels of craftsmen and professionals

#4 Customer Filter – QC’s must understand how to speak with clients /customers

#5 Technical Knowledge – QC’s must have technical knowledge of specs and be able to read prints

#6 Years in the Dirt – The best QC’s are those that have come up in the ranks & have years in the dirt

#7 Professionalism Not Friend – QC’s must understand clients are customers and not friends

#8 Forward Thinker – We need QC’s who are always thinking of new technology and new ways to get things done

#9 Detail Oriented – QC’s must be detailed oriented and not afraid of paperwork

#10 Proactive – QC’s must be proactive not reactive. More time in the field instead of the site trailer keeps them ahead of possible issues

#11 Training – QC’s need to have industry specific training such as ICC, QCM, Osha 30, First Aid/CPR, ACI, LEED etc.

Remember finding the correct fit for your project and team is vital so don’t rush the selection process.

For additional Quality Control Products, and Training Programs please visit www.beckrichconst.com

QC Audit Checklist

Aristotle said “Quality is not an act, it is a habit”. Many Owners, Project Managers and Quality Control Managers have asked themselves more than once throughout their career ” Is my project site in trouble? Do I have issues or holes in my Quality Control Processes or Team?” Beckrich is called upon often to visit teams and sites and audit their programs and processes. Each time I am asked a version of the following question, where do we begin, where do we even start in assessing our current situation? Lack of a strong Quality Control department and procedures will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, loss time, re-work, insurance claims, and lost bonding. Below are 15 quick audit questions to get you started which we always include in our extensive audits. If you answer no to any of the below questions you need to re-structure your QC department

#1 Do you have a Corporate QC Plan

#2 Does your Schedule include Submittals

#3 Are you current on Submittals per your schedule

#4 Do you have QC Forms

#5 Do you have documented QC Processes

#6 Is your QC spending more time in the field than the office

#7 Does your QC have strong computer skills

#8 Does your QC have complete organized field files

#9 Does your PM and Super have total access to all QC files

#10 Does your schedule include testing & close out items

#11 Does your QC have organized copies of all field tests

#12 Are your As Builts up to date with a clear As Built process

#13 Do your Subcontractors understand their requirements to QC

#14 Are your O&M manuals being completed as soon as initial Product Submittals are approved

#15 Is your QC Managing & Driving the Commissioning & Closeout process

 

Need Help?

After reviewing the checklist do you need QC Plans, forms, and training for your team or subcontractors? Contact us and we can help with our QC Products and online Training Modules. www.beckrichconst.com