By: Matt Muller
We recently covered the Three Phases of Quality, which included the Preparatory Phase. The most beneficial component of the Preparatory Phase is the Pre-Activity or Pre-Con meeting.
Pre-Activity meetings are a critical part of the Preparatory Phase of any Quality Program. This meeting is held prior to the start of any Definable Feature or Scope of Work and includes the Design Team, Construction Management Team, Field Team, and Sub-Partners.
Construction projects typically include numerous design professionals, sub-partners, and many project managers that attempt to communicate requirements in the most efficient manner possible. It is not uncommon for these lines of communication to get crossed, allowing for information to get lost in translation or even missing critical items. We expect all parties to be on the same page while drawing revisions, bid dates, and start dates are almost always changing. To say that design and construction are dynamic is an understatement. Even the most experienced teams can have critical information fall through the cracks as we drive to complete a project on schedule and within budget.
But what happens when a critical piece of information is missed, or we encounter miscommunication between team members? We can miss scope, install the wrong material, or install the correct material in the wrong manner, all of which result in rework and margin fade.
The Pre-Activity meeting is one step in the critical multi-step quality process used to reduce and eliminate rework and issues. We know people make mistakes so we must develop processes and procedures that are resilient to mistakes without total failure. Take for example a design revision that changed the uplift requirements for a roof system. If this information was somehow missed during the bidding phase and the buyout phase but is discussed and reviewed prior to start of construction during the Pre-Activity meeting, teams can significantly reduce the potential negative impact. Another typical example of challenges flushed out during the Pre-Activity meeting is scope gaps or double scoped items. For instance, the spec might require a compatible sealant to be provided by the weather barrier sub-partner at adjacent materials. In some cases, the sub-partner providing the adjacent material can include the same sealant in their bid. Flushing out these minor issues during the coordination phase is always beneficial. Pre-Activity meetings should not consist of someone reading from a template document, but rather should be a dynamic conversation between the team members to confirm the scope all the project expectations are understood and will be met.
The best meetings are those that benefit all parties involved, so let’s make sure to prepare for Pre-Activity meetings and use this tool to foster open communication and positive results among our teams.
Quality is for Every Keeley'n, Every Action, Every Time. Quality is never an accident and remember, Quality Matters.