Importance of Mistake Proofing in the Construction Industry

Importance of Mistake Proofing in the Construction Industry

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Importance of Mistake Proofing in the Construction Industry

The importance of quality control and good results is very important in the construction industry. It’s critical to ensure that a building project is completed properly and that it doesn’t violate any safety constraints, as people’s lives are at stake. At the same time, there are often severe time and overall resource constraints which might make it a challenge to verify the validity of every step. It’s important to have a good system in place for mistake proofing, and to ensure that it’s actually being followed in the work done by your employees. Otherwise the problems are going to stack up faster than you can handle them.

The Current State of Affairs

There is a lot of research that shows that current construction practices commonly lead to unnecessarily inflated project costs, and that there are often many mistakes done along the way that can be avoided in order to get a better value from the overall project. However, there are some factors that prevent this from happening, the main one being the availability of resources and the tight constraints which we mentioned above.

It’s also interesting to note that a good deal of problems occur within the work done at the lowest levels, that is, by the construction workers themselves. It’s rare that problems stem from an incorrect design or other issues with specifications, which means that the most effort should be directed towards ensuring that workers perform their jobs with a higher rate of accuracy and that they don’t need so much verification at every step of the process.

What Can Be Done?

Clearly, the work done at the lower levels has to be addressed in order to create a more effective environment for mistake proofing in the construction industry. Companies are already trying some interesting approaches to this, for example by forcing their workers to cross-check each other’s progress. This can slow down work – sometimes significantly – requiring a better system for managing the current resources and schedule of the organization. But if this is done correctly, you can see some very significant improvements in the final results your workers are producing. And with that, you’ll of course get the best benefit of them all – satisfied customers who are willing to come back to you.

Small details often achieve better results than major reformations. For example, something as small as forcing workers to color-code certain pieces of equipment can significantly reduce the error rate in the work done with that equipment, and it can also streamline other parts of the process for everyone around. You could also look into introducing custom-made tools for the purpose of verifying parts of the construction process, although this is something that takes more expertise and a more specialized approach in order to implement, and is only recommended for more experienced leaders.

However, in some cases, you’re not going to get away with small changes, and you’re going to have to make broader strokes in order to get good results. Replacing a certain process with another may be just what you need in order to improve the workflow in a certain area of your operations, but you will need to make sure that whatever replacement you’ve chosen has been verified for validity beforehand. It doesn’t make much sense to introduce something new to the process which actually increases the error rate, but unfortunately, this is exactly what we see from time to time in the modern construction industry, and it’s a troubling trend that needs to be eliminated across the board as soon as possible.


Reducing the error rate in construction work is a challenging task, but not an impossible one. There’s a lot that can be done to ensure that every step of the process is carried out in a verifiable way that follows some procedure, and as long as you apply some common sense to this procedure and you make sure to work with people at every level of the organization, you should see some great results in the long run, and a significant improvement in the overall quality of work that your employees are producing. Then maintaining the status quo is quite easy.

The post Importance of Mistake Proofing in the Construction Industry appeared first on Shmula.

By: Shmula Contributor
Posted: February 13, 2018, 1:00 pm

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