Making subs accountable: don't foot the bill for someone else's mistake.
The majority of oar production is done by subs, says A.J. Paron-Wildes, general manager of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minn. But without a lead-carpenter system--and lacking a stable of project managers big enough to have one at every jobsite all the time--Paron-Wildes found there was no one to ensure that the subcontractors were working up to DreamMaker's service specifications.
A solution came to her about three years ago in the form of a system she learned about at the Southern Building Show. The system is common with new-borne builders, but paron-Wildes tailored it for use in her company. It works like this: Each sub is given a list of expectations, detailed down to where they should dispose of their trash and where to clean their tools. They're also given a copy of the list the other subs get. That way, the whole "team"--carpenter, plumber, electrician, and so forth--is on the same page.
Paron-Wildes calls her system "Job Ready Job Complete" and estimates that it has saved DreamMaker money by reducing slippage by 1% to 2%, because the subs are required to "write up" their counterparts who don't live up to their end of the bargain.
"Let's say the electrician comes in after the Sheetrocker," says Paron-Wildes. "When he gets there, he finds that three of his outlet boxes are covered with Sheetrock." In this scenario, the electrician would charge Paron-Wildes for the extra time he needed to get to his boxes, and DreamMaker in turn would back charge the drywaller--who should have known not to obstruct access to the boxes.
"We feel this is a win-win situation," says Paron-Wildes, noting that the subs benefit because they spend less time doing extra work, like cleaning up after each other.