Most Often, Self-Policing isn’t Enough
The best way to make sure that your projects meet the performance level you are seeking is to inspect the work at critical points when there is still time to make needed corrections.
Insist that the members of your entire team check their own work, and let them know that you will be following up behind them to make sure that their work is correct. Keep track of the people who do their work right most often, and reward them for their efforts. Work with those who require more corrective work and if they don’t improve, replace them with someone better.
Don’t rely on building inspectors to do your work for you—they are only making sure that you meet the minimum code requirements. If your green building program has third-party inspections, plan to attend each of these inspections; you will benefit from the inspectors’ expertise as well as simply having a fresh set of eyes on your project.
Set up your own inspection schedule and checklists and share them with your team. When they know what you are looking for, they are more likely to do a better job for you. Critical areas to inspect include the quality of the insulation, completeness of the air barrier, HVAC systems, and the exterior weather barrier including all window, door, and wall flashing.
Take the time to clearly explain to your team any techniques or details that they may not be familiar with. Provide them with the information they need to give you what you want. This may include drawings, site demonstrations, training classes, videos, or visits to other job sites. Work closely with them on new projects, making corrections as needed, and then carefully inspect all work at completion to confirm that it is done to your specifications.
Only then should you release payments to trade contractors, and speaking of payments, you should only let your trades invoice you for work that is actually complete at the time of the invoice. I can’t count the number of times I received an invoice for work that was scheduled to be finished on the day the payment was due. More often than not the work was not complete and the payment was held back, causing problems all around. If your trade contractors cannot make it between payments, it may be time to look around for some new ones that are more financially stable.