Builder NHQA Best Practices Table & Quality Tools Table

July 13, 2011

One of the key difficulties any builder has in managing quality is deciding which quality tools to use at which point in time and more broadly how to manage an improvement team and project.

A key tool to help coordinate an improvement team/project is the Six Sigma DMAIC or Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control cycle. By following each of these steps you can systematically move through each step in an improvement project. There are of course a wide range of quality tools that can be used at each step and these tools range from easy to intermediate to advanced in nature. By creating the Quality Tools Table with IBACOS we were able to list specific tools against each DMAIC step. This allows a builder to consider which tool to use at each step, starting with the basic tools and advancing into new tools as their comfort levels grow.

The Quality Tools Table can be found at this IBACOS link

While using quality tools is essential, another challenge is knowing what best practices can be used, being aware of these and so not reinventing the wheel is critical. By partnering with IBACOS we studied 13 years of past National Housing Quality Award winners and their best practices. Each of these best practices were again categorized into easy, intermediate and advanced and aligned against the following key processes Planning, Design, Marketing, Construction, Customers and Metrics. In the best practices table we highlighted what we considered to be the minimum best practices used by the best in industry builders.

The Builders Best Practices Table can be found at this IBACOS link

With each table starting at the easy column, review the practices or tools you currently have in place and then identify the next practices/tools you can adopt. When complete move to the next column. Not every builder will want to adopt ALL the best practices or tools listed in each table.

Here are some links if you wish to find out more on the tools listed in the tables.

For more resources go to IBACOS at

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.