Australian construction giant, Probuild, has set a new standard for the industry, announcing they have achieved on average no more than one purchaser defect per apartment – across 2,000 apartments – at the conclusion of their recent residential high rise projects Avant, Empire Melbourne, Marina Tower and Victoria One.
The company drafted their goal to drastically reduce purchaser defects in 2015 – where they began focusing on how they could improve their production methods and minimise waste to make the biggest difference on the end product.
Probuild Victoria managing director Luke Stambolis says they developed a staged delivery process in order to significantly reduce purchaser defects and to foster and promote ownership of the work throughout each phase of construction – a change that has resulted in fewer quality control issues for the builder.
“The system is in place to ensure that each team is happy with the quality of the product before moving on to building the next apartments. The team for the next floor will not accept the activity until they’re satisfied with the quality,” Stambolis said.
“This ‘gated’ check-point system from the early, to mid and completion stages allows us to have much more control over our quality processes, and we allow our team to stop and make corrections at any stage of production – rather than wait until completion of the entire building when issues may have snowballed. Traditionally, this has not been common in our industry.”
Setting this new objective has forced Probuild to assess their supply chain, as well as how they collaborate with sub-contractors on large-scale projects, in order to achieve better outcomes for the project, and ultimately buyers.
“We’ve taken back control of the construction process. We let our sub-contractors know right from the get-go, that they can feel comfortable stopping and fixing any defects,” Stambolis said.
“That’s because we know that any defects built into the early stages lead to massive corrections at the final stages. The industry has a tendency to overlook some of those when speed is the only priority, but our new methodology eliminates that issue.”
Probuild’s construction system (PCS) has been inspired, in part, by the automotive industry using lean methodologies and systems to ensure that each stage is fully systemised and operating at the desired speed in order to meet project deadlines.
“We currently have engineers employed from Toyota, Bosch and Holden who helped us begin thinking differently about our construction processes, and we’ve applied many tools that have been used in the automotive industry to help us look at our construction process in a new light,” Stambolis said.
“One big shift was how we began looking at the final part of the build process first, and working backwards to determine the true Just In Time supply of materials. When you start looking at the production method backward you eliminate oversupply and over production in high rise construction – something that often happens in our industry and results in wasted output and unnecessary overtime.
“Our Kanban systems ensure that we supply each stage of the build process with the required material when they need it, which stops waste on our projects but also keeps things moving on schedule. This process allows us to take extra time checking the quality in our processes, while still remaining ahead of schedule.”
Interestingly, all of Probuild’s recent residential projects, such as Avant and Marina Tower, were completed ahead of schedule, showing that speed and quality are not mutually exclusive.
“These clients are very pleased with the quality and how we’ve minimised settlement risks for them.”
The only question that remains now is: what’s next in the company’s innovation?
“This is a really exciting time to be involved at Probuild, and the sky is the limit for where we can take innovation,” he said.
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