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Quality Systems, Code Reform, Worker Training

PATH ISO 9000 Framing Project Promotes Quality Home Construction

PATH, the Wood Truss Council of America, and NAHB Research Center are sponsoring a pilot project to integrate within the framing industry ISO 9000 practices for quality assurance in design, development production and servicing. Builders, manufacturers, framers, code officials, architects and engineers will participate in the 10-month process of development, demonstration and deployment.

ISO 9000 is a set of five universal standards for a Quality Assurance system that is accepted around the world. Currently 90 countries have adopted ISO 9000 as national standards. When a person purchase a product or service from a company that is registered to the appropriate ISO 9000 standard, he or she has important assurances that the quality will be as expected. Framing currently accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of the house. It is one of the most critical construction factors -- affecting cost, cycle time, quality and durability. Implementation of an ISO 9000 based quality management procedure for framing will lead significant improvements.

If a house is framed right, the installation of windows and doors, cabinets and floors is much quicker and easier. Correctly framed houses are much more likely to survive natural disasters. The improved quality of framing reduces rework and eases installation of other products (e.g. doors, windows, cabinets, etc.). The cost of correcting structural defects after the house is completed will be eliminated too.

Quality practices proposed in the ISO 9000 project also include how to stack and store the materials to prevent damage. Methods to reduce the occurrence of rework and associated waste will be developed. An improved, more accurate construction process also reduces the need for custom fitting of building components (e.g. trusses, wall openings, cabinets, etc.) which in turn will reduce wasted time. Code approval processes both before and during construction will be significantly shortened.

In addition, quality framing through ISO 9000 management practices will reduce occurrences of cracking drywall, creaking floors and similar problems typically attributed to faulty framing. The installer training and inspection process that is part of this project assures that roof sheathing; connectors and fastening systems and floor; wall and roof components are properly installed.

Under the PATH supported program, the NAHB Research Center will develop specific tools for the ISO 9000 framing project. The tools will include a framing quality manual; use-of-materials documents for basic materials, connectors and hardware; training materials, jobsite inspection procedures/lists; methods that track and monitor quality and contract templates that assign responsibilities and acceptance. Builders will apply the quality procedures developed under the program to selected homes.

The pilot projectís case study report and recommendations for builders and framing contractors will outline alternative strategies for deploying the ISO 9000 technology for the home building industryís framing sector; detail the business benefits of adopting an ISO 9000 quality management approach; describe the availability of tools developed under the program; note the ease and low cost of implementing a quality management system; and cite building code permit and inspection process advantages of the process. A short, benefits-oriented summary will be distributed to framing contractors and other trade contractors and builders.