Definition of Quality Service (Part 2)

Defining Quality Service, Company-wide and Customer-wide

Doug Bellamy / November 2017

The definition of quality service, or DOQS, provides full-circle management of everyone’s expectations, company-wide and customer-wide.
    
Though I realize that your operation varies dramatically, and time has changed many of our procedures, the concept of the DOQS Program remains the same. I hope you find it inspirational and thought provoking as we endeavor together to better serve our customers and provide a clear path to every participant.

    
This month we continue our description of the DOQS Program. The disclaimer and copyright protection mentioned in part 1 applies to part 2 as well. And remember that “Alta Drywall” is my company name, and I am sharing some of our “intel” with you; obviously you would replace “Alta Drywall” with your company’s name, if you choose do adopt these documents and/or their language.
    
Our DOQS document process picks up where we left off, with inspection failures.

Materials have been delivered and installed, and fastener inspection has been scheduled by the builder’s rep. The drywall foreman has arranged to walk with the inspector whenever possible.
    
By doing so, minor corrections can be made on the spot, avoiding an inspection failure. If the foreman is unavailable, he will designate a second in command to walk inspections and handle miscellaneous issues that come up during his absence. If the inspector arrives on site without our knowledge, please let the foremen/second in command know as soon as possible.
    
Inspection Failure: If an inspection fails, re-call the inspection for the next business day. You can do so with the full assurance that the information will be relayed to the appropriate Personnel and corrections will be made prior to re-inspection. Once an inspection is scheduled, our taping crews are notified and standing by.
    
Covered Items: In the event that we cover obvious problems, we accept full responsibility for correction of our portion of the work involved. We cannot accept responsibility for items inadvertently covered that were not evident in a production setting. There are occasions when problems become evident only because they are accentuated by finish trades. Such problems are the responsibility of those who cause them. Although we exercise reasonable restraint, reoccurring problems may warrant additional charges to those who are at fault.

Quick Reference—Installation Checklist
Scheduling. Please allow at least two (2) days’ advance notice for all work other than stocking.
    
Two Days Prior: Call to schedule hanging.
    
Hang start:
    
A. All prior trades complete.
    
B. Framing and trusses checked and straightened.
    
C. Units swept and cleaned with tub protection in place.
    
D. Window reveals and arches true to window frames and ready to receive drywall.
    
E. Free standing handrails installed as needed (at least 6 inches away from all finished surfaces).
    
F. Wash pits every third house and as close to a water supply as possible.
    
G. Quality walk complete.
    
Cancellations: If you must cancel work, please let us know the afternoon prior to the morning the work is scheduled. This provides us ample time to regroup and save our crews an unnecessary trip. Office hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Messages can be left on the answering machine.
    
Scrap. It is always our endeavor to scrap the units prior to beginning taping. However, if the houses are not scrapped, our tapers are given the option to remove debris or pile scrap in a safe location, until the scrap truck arrives. At any rate, an un-scrapped unit should never interfere with job progress. If for some reason we are unable to pick up scrap, we have asked scrappers to pile the scrap in the center of the garage and see that it is removed as soon as possible.
    
If scrap is required prior to inspection, please notify us at the start of the job. In such cases scrap and inspections must be coordinated in two or three house increments. This will not have a negative effect on job progress; however it is more difficult to manage, since it slightly complicates the process.
    
Corner Bead. We prefer to install corner-bead prior to taping. However, houses can be taped, nails spotted, detailed, etc. without metal installation having been completed. During especially busy times, metal installation can fall behind. If that happens, please be assured it hasn’t been overlooked; It will be taken care of prior to affecting your job progress.
    
Taping. About the time of your nailing inspection, you can expect a visit from your taping foreman. He will want to know how many houses you would like sprayed at one time. We prefer to spray a minimum of five (5) units or more at a time, depending upon the size of the units. However, we maintain enough flexibility to spray fewer houses if the situation warrants.
    
During the first meeting, he will schedule your first completion date based on either real or tentative nailing inspection dates. He will have a scheduler, and completion dates are typically based on a 13-day schedule and determined by your start date. The exception being models, where we use a 10 day schedule. This usually reduces the schedule by 25 percent. A copy of the Scheduler is enclosed in the booklet (but intentionally not provided in this publication).
    
After the date has been set, please sign the “Completion Date Worksheet” (CDW) form, which confirms the completion date. Again, let us reemphasize that we have learned by experience that making sure we’re on the “same page” is a good idea. Without a signed copy, confusion may develop as to what the agreement was. The signed copy quickly resolves any confusion. He will leave a copy with you and if needed, it can be used as a future reference.
    
If you have any questions about the taping process, our foreman will be happy to answer them at that time. Our foreman will also check the job site on a daily basis for any trash generated by Alta that was not properly disposed of as well as any SWPPP issues. If you feel your job foreman is not keeping you well informed about any part of the drywall process, never hesitate to contact the general superintendent.
    
Rain Days. In most cases one day of rain does not affect our schedule. However, when rain continues for more than one day, it can interrupt critical drying which results in additional time needed. In such cases we will always do our best to minimize lost time. Heaters can be used in order to avoid losing time during winter months. Oftentimes, there is more than enough money saved by the builder to off-set the cost of providing heat. For insurance reasons we cannot assume responsibility for the use or maintenance of heaters. It should be understood that it is the builders responsibility to provide and maintain them if needed. (Propane type heaters only)

Taping Checklist
Onsite meeting.
    
A. Taping foreman confirms completion dates, which are based on the scheduler and hang date.
    
B. Taping foreman pre-walks units prior to taping.
    
C. Have any problems corrected prior to taping.
    
Texture. We currently have the very best equipment and personnel available in Southern California. This enables us to maintain rigorous production schedules with relative ease. Our equipment has the capacity to spray a hundred plus homes or units per week, and we have sufficient back up equipment in the event of a breakdown.
    
At the beginning of each new project, our texture crew will meet and agree with the job superintendent as to the texture type and provide a sample wall for approval. Masking will include all glass and other surfaces that would otherwise be damaged or will not readily clean up with a light mist of water. Texture bags will be bundled in plastic and placed in a garage upon completion. They will be picked up along with other drywall debris no later than the completion date. The area beneath rigs when mixing occurs will be protected to avoid Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program issues.
    
Custom Colors. Certain colors accentuate flaws that are not normally visible when painted with standard colors. In the past, we have been blindsided by the use of custom colors, and in some cases, back-charged for issues resulting from their selection. When the walls are painted and imperfections are apparent, we are requested to return and correct them. Once they are corrected, the painter returns, and in some cases, it requires that the walls be completely repainted. The repainting of the walls costs money, and the painter wants to be paid. On the surface, it seems reasonable to bill Alta. However, since the color accentuates the imperfections and would not be visible with a standard color, it is unfair to hold Alta responsible. In our view, the correct approach is to prevent the problem by notifying us prior to paint where the custom colors are intended, and compensating us as a part of the option pricing. If we are notified in advance, we will carefully check the walls with artificial light, prep coat them, and take other precautions to be certain, prior to paint, that the color will not be an issue. It stands to reason that we would be compensated for the extra materials and labor involved in providing the option. We are currently reminding all of our customers that Alta needs to be included when considering custom color options because it does require additional work to prepare walls for such colors.
    
Prep Coat. Prep coated work is visibly different, and provides a very high quality finish. In our opinion, it is well worth the additional cost and relatively inexpensive insurance when you consider the potential problems it eliminates. Prep coat is applied after the taping is complete and prior to machine texture.
    
Application of prep coat will add an additional day to the schedule and is recommended by wallboard manufacturers.
    
Hand Finishes. Simulated plaster finishes are available to our clients at an additional cost. Hand finished units add approximately five working days to the schedule.

Texture Checklist
Reminder:
    
A. Prep coat will add one day to the completion date.
    
B. Hand texture will add an additional five days to the completion date.
    
Cleanup. Cleanup takes place on the day following spray; however, there are times when the schedule is particularly tight and we clean on the same day as texture. There are several reasons why we prefer not to clean on the spray date, however, exceptions do occur. All debris will be picked up no later than the completion date.
    
Scrape/Scribe & Caulk. Electrical boxes will have mud cleaned out during scrape and scribe, which takes place on the completion date. The completion date is our last workday. The first day that you schedule another trade should be the following work day. It is critical to job quality that the painter does not attempt to paint on our completion date.
    
Drying Time. During the cold and wet winter months, scrape and scribe cannot always be done the day after cleanup. It is sometimes necessary to wait an additional day to scrape and scribe.

Pickup and Repairs
To initiate the pickup phase, please contact your pickup supervisor. Scheduling will be done directly with him. The most effective way to schedule a pickup is to fax your schedule to our office.
    
Trip One will include completing pre-paints, if required. These will occur after the installation of all cabinets, doors and trim. When it is possible, we would prefer tile and handrails to be installed. The best day for a pre-paint is the same day as the paint-sweep. This enables us to repair damage done by other trades prior to paint.
    
Trip Two will be the final walk-through. This occurs after all finish trades, prior to final paint, and just before the installation of carpet. Every effort must be made to make sure that all other trades are finished. This should include all work in the garages.
    
Trip Three will be tags. These should occur after flooring but before the final clean. Sufficient time should be allowed for the painter to finish before the home owner walk-through. This should be the last look for small items. There should never be large items to address at this time.

Extras
While we want to keep chargeable items to a minimum, they do occur. Your Alta Drywall Customer Care representative will bring any issues that they feel warrant an extra to your attention. Agreement should be reached as to responsibility and payment.
    
In accordance with most contracts, it is the policy of Alta Drywall to require a builder’s authorization prior to the commencement of work. Extra work is defined as work that was not a part of the original contract. Our personnel have been instructed to obtain an authorization number. Please provide the necessary authorization prior to the commencement of work.

No Charge Hours
To help with this process, each Alta Drywall job phase is given a certain amount of “No Charge” hours to be used at your discretion. However, if authorization is needed for payment, this must be obtained prior to the commencement of work.

Quick Reference – Pickup Checklist
Scheduling. Please allow at least two days’ advance notice for all work other than stocking.

Pre-Paint (minimum two houses):
    
A. After all doors, trim, baseboards, stair rails, cabinets are installed.
    
B. Paint Sweep. Final (minimum two houses).
    
C. Units boxed and cleaned.
    
D. All trades complete with the exception of final paint and carpet.

Tag (minimum two houses):
    
A. After flooring but before final clean.
    
B. Allow enough time for final paint before home owner walk through.

Typical Trade Damage
An exhaustive list of numerous items that we consider to be, typical trade damage and repair at no cost to the customer, is provided.

Chargeable Items
Any intentional damage to drywall, repair of drywall, or additional drywall necessary to correct defects by other trades, builder’s change orders or options or repairs to other trades made necessary by said change orders or options. Any “normal” pickup that is excessive or repeated will be brought to the attention of the superintendent. If it persists, it shall be considered chargeable.

Our Commitment to You
Employee orientation. Each new hire is required to attend a thorough employee orientation. The pertinent areas covered in our “DOQS” program are reviewed. SOP, job description and additional important information are included. We believe this orientation is a necessary contribution to the successful integration of each new employee.
    
Safety. Hardhats and work-boots are required by all Alta Drywall personnel and subcontractors. Cal-OSHA approved eye protection and respirators are also required in departments exposed to those risks. Our goal is to be the safest drywall contractor operating in the areas where we do business. Safety is to be taken seriously, and Cal-OSHA requirements are to be met at all times. Consequently, our policy is to avoid and report any unsafe condition. We appreciate your prompt response in the event that an unsafe condition is pointed out. If you observe an Alta employee or subcontractor participating in an unsafe act, please notify us immediately. We appreciate your help as we work toward providing the safest possible environment for our employees.
    
SWPPP. In the recognition that jobsite cleanliness and SWPPP requirements have risen to a level of importance comparable to safety, quality and scheduling, we are making every effort to guide the workforce toward full compliance in the following areas.
    
1) Trash generated by Alta Drywall employees and subcontractors will be placed into builder provided receptacles.
    
2) Respect for SWPPP will be demonstrated at all times. Stationary equipment will have protection placed underneath to protect the environment from drips and debris falling onto the ground.
    
3) Drywall installers will not throw scrap outside. Scrap will be thrown into piles in the middle of each room. Usable portions will be leaned against the wall so as to avoid a trip hazard. All mud boxes, leftover materials and shoring braces will be picked up no later than the day after the unit’s completion date.

Customer Care
All repair work required after the close of escrow is handled by our customer service department. The most efficient way to schedule customer service is in writing by faxing it to the office. Please be sure to include the customer contact information and a description of the work that needs to be done.
    
The customer service manager will make appointments directly with the homeowner or your customer service personnel in a prompt manner. Prior payment authorization is required when needed.

Special Concerns
Hardware. Special care must be taken when straps or hardware are placed in areas that require sheer panel. In such cases, special effort must be undertaken by the framer to be certain that the surface remains straight and true and within your tolerances. The drywall will follow the framing, and we cannot be responsible for bows created by this condition.
    
Fastener Penetration. Items in jeopardy of penetration by fasteners should be protected by nail plates capable of resisting penetration, and/or set back into the stud bay beyond the fastener depth called out for the specific application. Back charges arising from the penetration of fasteners into unprotected items within fastener depth, and/or the failure of a nail plate to provide the intended protection, is the responsibility of the subcontractor at fault.
    
Electrical Boxes. It should be understood that a few electrical boxes per unit will be covered. This problem is not unique to us as a drywall company, but rather it is true industrywide. We work hard to keep this problem at a minimum by marking electrical outlets on the floor, stressing the importance to our crews and keeping our management sensitive to this ongoing problem. Nevertheless, it continues to occur. Human error like this, which is typical and consistent, can be expected.
    
Electrical contractors, like we ourselves, budget for it just as we factor in multiple types of typical trade damage (TTD) in our estimate. In the spirit of cooperation, it should be understood that there is a certain amount of TTD we all absorb for each other. The electricians damage our work just as we cover up electrical boxes. Nicks and dings, a ladder scrape against a wall, damage to bullnose corners, areas around light switches, etc., can be expected. Experience has taught us not only to expect it but to plan and budget for this type of TTD.

The booklet or electronic document finishes by providing additional information, forms, an organizational chart/contact info, etc., which we deem helpful to both customer and our company.

Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Visit him on LinkedIn or contact him at doug@altadrywall.com.