Student Housing Project Management – Capstone’s Unique Quality Control Program

Over the course of several months you worked hard to identify, vet and select your preferred team of professionals that will develop, design, build and operate your new student housing community. You place a high degree of confidence in this team. After all, there is a lot riding on the months of preparation and planning that lead up to the construction mobilization and eventual completion of the project. Everyone wants the completed project to be a success, not only immediately, but for years to come. We place the same amount of confidence and trust in our design and construction team members that we carefully select for each of our projects. To check that confidence, in addition to our project assigned Construction Manager, we staff each project with an on-site Quality Control Manager who is the day-to-day developer representative and knows scope, schedule, site and quality expectations for the project backwards and forwards.

Why Do You Need Quality Control?

For Capstone, quality control boiled down to the basics is the proactive identification of non-confirming craftsmanship and construction technique. If such work is caught early, it helps the project team avoid schedule delays and cost overruns.

What Are the Benefits of This Additional Layer of Construction Project Management?

We have found that if we are thinking ahead and being proactive with identifying issues on the job-site, in most instances, we can adjust and fix the error being made prior to it impacting schedule or costing significate dollars, as opposed to after construction is complete and the faulty installation or materials fail, potentially causing a myriad of problems.

Further, a good quality control process provides us with:

  • Cost Savings: Given the size and complexity of our projects, quality control management helps us avoid hours of potential litigation; personnel time that would need to be spent repairing the error or managing the litigation; and lost leasing revenue, should the poor workmanship present itself later on in the building’s lifespan.
  • Consistency and Convenience: We have also found that with having a day-to-day on-site presence, it provides a high-level of consistency and convenience as our university partners, stakeholders and other community members that may visit the site have reliable, easy, on-site access to a development team representative.
  • Easier Transition from Construction to Operations: With an on-site quality control manager, our team has a record of daily documentation of the project during the construction cycle. This helps to ensure a seamless transition from construction to operations, as the quality control manager is a resource for the project team as we shift from construction to building opening.

A Day in the Life of a Quality Control Manager

Traditionally, CDP has filled the quality control manager position with in-house employees, through a development partner or through the hiring of a 3rd party or independent contractor. Ideally, the Quality Control Manager has experience on the general contracting side with a superintendent background, much like our in-house Quality Control Manager, Dave Marshall. Dave splits his time so that typically 50% of it is spent in the field, walking the site and the grounds of the project that is under construction and the other 50% is spent ‘in the office’, aka in the on-site construction trailer.

  • Each day, Dave will attend daily general contractor and/or subcontractor’s work plan coordination meetings. Through attending these meetings, he is aware of any third-party testing or inspections that are scheduled for each day.
  • He is on-site to verify that materials being installed are accurate and comply with the construction documents and he verifies that the materials being installed are installed correctly.
  • Dave works daily with the superintendents, coordinating when activities at the site are going to happen and when deliveries are going to occur.
  • He is there to ensure the supplies delivered are of the expected quality, checking for supplies that are damaged or stored and protected from elements.
  • David conducts an audit of every component that is put in the building. Making sure that is up to par with Capstone’s quality guidelines.
  • Dave will also work with the architects during their on-site visits. This is helpful if the team notices any construction concerns that are not meeting the design intent. Then, our team will work with the general contractor team to resolve the problems as quickly as possible.
  • After all of these check-ins, inspections and audits at the end of the day, he documents any issues he observed.

From our library of lessons learned in student housing development, we have found that being proactive can save a project both time and money – and that pays out in dividends to all parties involved. By adding this extra layer of inspection, it helps us keep everyone accountable and ultimately helps us deliver the best possible new student housing community for your campus.