What are a general contractor’s true quality control (QC) procedures? All reputable companies have them, to be sure. The superintendent on the project is normally responsible for the site-specific quality control procedures, and that often fits the bill. But while the project teams hold the primary responsibility for the QA/QC on their projects, on highly complex or ultra-fast-tracked projects, another set of eyes to catch any issues before they become problems is invaluable.
So we decided to get Frank about quality control . . . Frank Bartholomew, that is. Frank started with Haselden a few months ago after spending a big chunk of his career—12 years to be exact—as a regional manager/construction consultant at LJP Construction Services, a third-party quality control/risk management company.
Frank grew up in El Paso, Texas, went to school in Southern California, and moved to Colorado in 1994. He received his degree in Construction Management from Cal State Long Beach, and they do it a little differently there—they run the program through their College of Engineering. This education was the perfect precursor to the career he didn’t know at the time that he was destined for: ensuring things are built right. And who better to work for than A Great Builder?
Frank has a pragmatic approach and can look at everything as one equation and help ensure details are constructible to perform as intended.
How Frank Tackles a Project
While the architect looks at design and aesthetic, and the code inspector looks at life safety, Frank looks at quality. Frank’s first project at Haselden was to look at how our existing QC documentation and information was organized, and structure it in a way that was more easily accessible and centralized in order to increase efficiency across the board. With that task complete, he now works on projects, starting his delve into each aspect as early as preconstruction. Ideally, that’s when he wants to catch any issues – before construction begins. For example, an architecturally innovative roofing design that looks amazing may be a known source of leak issues that we can address before building begins. Additionally, if a substitution is suggested or requested in the preconstruction phase, he reviews it for suitability, ensuring quality is not sacrificed.
Given there’s only one Frank (though we wish we could clone him!), his schedule is full visiting projects that have requested his review. Depending on the project’s needs, and the speed and complexity of the construction, the team may ask for a single visit, or regular visits throughout construction. He walks the project with the superintendent and/or project manager, and sometimes the architect. Having a decent Spanish vocabulary serves him well as he is able to converse directly with both the English- and Spanish-speaking craft workers when he needs to explain an element that needs to be adjusted or changed, or if he has questions about a particular method they’ve used.
Much of the review Frank does involves looking at the waterproofing and envelope of a structure because water intrusion can be a major risk factor when building. Ryan Hahn, a project manager with Haselden, states, “Exterior details and materials that can look great on paper can prove to be problematic coming together in the field. Frank has a pragmatic approach and can look at everything as one equation and help ensure details are constructible to perform as intended.”
We brought Frank onto the team because we wanted a person who was solely dedicated to ensuring quality on our projects. Not only can he look at work in the field, but he brings a whole new perspective to our constructability reviews, adding the dimension of materials into the mix. Why did Frank want to come to Haselden? I asked him. “There are basically three different ways contractors view third party quality consultants: 1) a pain they can’t circumvent because the owner has insisted on it; 2) a necessary evil they put up with; or 3) someone they appreciate and can learn from,” Frank said. “I worked with Haselden on several projects over many years, and it didn’t matter who I worked with, they always fell into the third category. I gained a great deal of respect for Haselden and the quality of work they are committed to. When it came time to make a move, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.”