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How reality television improved one building company's quality management practices

By Berit Griffin April 18, 2014

Quality management systems may be the single most important factor in every building company’s success. Reputation is everything in this industry. All it takes are a few avoidable mishaps to ruin your brand. Therefore, it behooves builders to constantly improve oversight, even if it means taking on a major project to test one’s practices.

Surely, you remember “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The show went off the air in 2013, but famously featured homes dramatically made over in the span of just a few days. In 2008, Veridian Homes (Madison, Wis.) was approached with an opportunity to build a home for a family in desperate need. The company’s quality management practices would be tested like never before.

Denis Leonard, president of Business Excellence Consulting, LLC., and a quality management systems expert, wrote about the experience for

The challenge was to build a 3,000 square foot home within 106 hours. There were eleven weeks before the start of construction during which time all aspects of design and project management had to be completed.  When the project was over, construction had actually been completed in just 96 hours to Energy Star and the WI Green Built Standards.

Ultimately, the lessons learnt and transferred from the “Home Makeover” project resulted in a 25% reduction in the Veridian Homes evenflow construction schedule, which had already been an industry recognized schedule.

One challenge yielded massive improvements in process and efficiency. Your company can take on a similar challenge that doesn’t involve reality television. Johnson encourages builders to dedicate themselves to constructing a zero-defect home or an entire home in a week to benefit in the same manner Veridian Homes did.

Johnson and his colleague, Gary Zajicek, co-authored a must-read whitepaper about the experience Veridian Homes had on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and what others in the industry can glean about quality management amidst difficult circumstances. The whitepaper is available for free here.

Below is the episode in which Veridian Homes participated: