Are You Professional Enough?

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On his way to delivering 80 single-family homes this year in Talega, the desirable south Orange County, Calif., master plan, Dave Goudie and his four assistants focus on processes, quality and communication.

September 01, 2002


Name: Dave Goudie

Company: Standard Pacific Homes, San Clemente, Calif.

Years as superintendent: 13

Customer willingness to recommend: 94%

Units carried per quarter: 65

Days ahead/behind schedule: 6 days ahead

Homes delivered last year: 79

Value of homes delivered: $43.4 million

Hard-cost variance: within 1%

Punchlist items on first inspection: 0.52

Average days to correct punchlist items: 5

On his way to delivering 80 single-family homes this year in Talega, the desirable south Orange County, Calif., master plan, Dave Goudie and his four assistants focus on processes, quality and communication.

"I think the job of superintendent has changed and evolved," says Goudie. "Before it was just a guy managing a construction site. Now I walk in and it's strictly business. It moves very fast, and there are a lot of do's and don'ts to this job."

Do's and don'ts: Do wear clean attire. Goudie expects it of home building staff and trades. Do expect to work long hours. It comes with the territory. Do use professional language at all times, particularly with trades and customers.

Don't yell at anyone for any reason. The job is stressful enough as it is. Don't assume you know more than anyone else on the job. Don't pretend to know something you don't, particularly with customers. Be honest if you can't answer a question, and locate the required information.

Building a team: Clear and constant communication is key to job-site productivity. This, says Goudie, is based on mutual respect that is initiated by the superintendent early on with a clearly articulated set of guidelines followed by a series of one-on-one problem-solving sessions, where the supe does most of the listening. "Once they feel that you respect them, they will work hard for you."

Working and reworking the plan: Detailed time lines and schedules run 12 weeks ahead. Trades are reminded where and when they will be needed 12 weeks out, four weeks out, two weeks out and the day before. "As long as they know and are reminded of where you need them, they'll get it done," Goudie says.

Daily call sheets are updated and reworked continually. Talega's gates open for the trades at 7 a.m. At 6:45, Goudie meets with his assistants to review the plan for the day. At 7, he and staff are making sure the right trades are in the right places. At midmorning, Goudie is back in the trailer calling any no-shows in labor or materials. Then it is back out to inspect work and meet with foremen. Paperwork and longer-term computerized schedule revisions are done in the evening. Schedules are uploaded to the central office twice a week.

A hard look at cost areas: Repairs, accidents and mistakes that cost Goudie money get immediate and systematic attention with a focus on future avoidance. "I will work with the contractors that are causing the damage, or as a team we will find ways of eliminating simple accidents that are occurring."

What the trades say: "I have been in the industry for 28 years. Dave is one of the most strategic superintendents I have worked with as far as scheduling, communication, knowing a set of plans. It makes a job fun. You are not fighting over the schedule every day. That means everything to us." -- Dean Shirai, site manager, RCR Cos. (plumbing and HVAC), Riverside, Calif.


Audio Clips

  Dave on the new role of the superintendent

  Dave on superintendent do's and don'ts

  Dave on getting to know the homeowner

  Dave on communicating with trades workers

  Dave on paperwork and scheduling

  Dave on sticking to a budget

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