Insights / blog

November 10, 2023

Streamlining Defect Management: Key Operational Strategies for Housebuilders

Operations play a vital role in defect management and customer satisfaction, the construction processes require everyone to be singing off the same hymn sheet to deliver high quality work. Cohesion and incentives amongst the construction team and sub-contractors foster a culture of collaboration and quality, driving teams to ‘get it right the first time’. Incentives for the team through a recognition and reward system based on the quality of work or low defect rates is an effective strategy.

A housebuilder’s commitment to their customers on delivering what was promised is crucial. Having such accountability is a significant aspect of maintaining trust with the customer. Detailed documentation gives both parties transparency and accountability, documentation allows for everyone to keep up to date with records of interactions, commitments and actions taken.

Another element to improve customer satisfaction is scheduling flexibility. Housebuilder’s need to take into account homeowners schedule and be accommodating to when they are available; which tends to be at the weekend or evening.

A major pain point for customers in defect management is the time taken to rectify the defects. Housebuilders need to set realistic expectations for repair times and aim to meet them. Having a quick response time is indicative of a proactive approach to defect management, which improves customer satisfaction. Balancing operational efficiency with customer satisfaction is a fine line that housebuilders need to tread.

A significant operational strategy is the consideration of local subcontractors for defect repairs. They have quicker response times and understand the local norms and challenges. Also using local subcontractors will benefit the local economy and community, while enhancing the housebuilder’s reputation and goodwill.

In addition to local subcontractors, housebuilders can also consider working with Housing Association’s Direct Labour Organisations (DLOs) when applicable. The advantage is that they possess in-depth knowledge of the properties they service and a direct relationship with the homeowners.

An important consideration for housebuilders is planning for future contracts. A key aspect is the Defect Cost Agreement (DCA). A DCA is an arrangement where a certain amount of the contract sum is retained to cover the cost of any defects that may arise after completion.

Simplicity and standardisation should be a major component used in house construction. Wherever possible housebuilders should use simple and standard components as they are readily available and easy to repair and replace. This approach will significantly reduce the time and cost associated with rectifying defects. Standardisation can also streamline the construction process, reduce waste, and increase efficiency. Standardised components typically have established quality standards, further reducing the likelihood of defects.

It is clear that these operational strategies can play a major role in optimising defect management. These insights help housebuilders enhance their operations, improve customer satisfaction, and build a strong reputation in the market. It is clear that following these strategies and considerations will in turn improve the functionality and benefit everyone in the process.