If you were offered dirty, unfiltered water, but at a substantially reduced price, would you drink it? I didn’t think so. When it comes to certain things in life, you just don't compromise on the quality of the product for you or your family. The risk is just not worth it. We expect that clean, safe drinking water is a simple matter of turning on our taps, but quality drinking water is not an accident.
The PCL project team knows that millions of people
depend on their quality work.
Clean Water for SoCal
I recently visited a water treatment plant project where PCL is in the initial stages of replacing the filtering and purifying components that provide quality drinking water to people in Southern California. The purpose of my visit was to review PCL's quality management program with the client prior to substantial work being done on-site, to ensure that everyone involved with the project clearly understood the quality expectations. We call it our “quality expectations meeting" (a standard on all PCL projects).
At PCL we like to determine early on what the drawings and specifications "would say about quality if they could speak." And it really works. Why wait until work is underway to get clarity on the client’s quality expectations, when we can be proactive and ask before beginning work? At every meeting, the project team invariably learns about an expectation or quality “hot button” that couldn't have been deciphered from the drawings. This is not about looking for change orders; it's about meeting quality expectations right out of the gate.
Making Quality Real
The next time you see a line in a proposal that says, “our team will meet or exceed your quality expectations on this project,” ask the project team how they plan to do this, because typically, it isn’t clear. Additionally, once a project begins, check that the client’s quality expectations have been transmitted to the project team doing the actual work to ensure that the foreman is relaying all the quality requirements to the workforce. With water treatment work, quality checks occurring late in the process are expensive, and problems are difficult to rectify because much of the piping is already buried by that point.
I asked the superintendent on the SoCal water treatment plant jobsite to tell me, in his own words, what a quality job meant to him. I expected a typical boilerplate response, such as, "we plan to exceed the client's expectations." Instead, the superintendent talked about a deep personal commitment to the people in the communities in Southern California who are relying on him and his construction team to complete the work in the highest quality manner possible. Eighteen million people—including the superintendent’s own family—depend on the clean, purified water of the plant, and he felt personally responsible for their wellbeing. The passion in his voice proved to me that he understood that quality drinking water from his project would not be an accident. Knowing his team’s passion for quality and their commitment to our client’s project reassured me that this team would “Build it Right and Build it Once.”