Monitoring the plan for quality By John S. Ball III

Make the postjob checklist and check it twice
Part II

Callbacks can affect the bottom line of more than one project. If one paving crew is working a parking lot project on one side of town, let’s call it Job A, and they get a call that this other team needs the equipment to go fix a blunder on Job B, which project gets priority?
Conflict arises if the Job A team can’t afford to lose the time it would take for the Job B crew to reuse the equipment. This kind of situation can be eliminated, or at least minimized, if the company holds the teams accountable for their work. The team that compiles and follows a postjob checklist will produce more successful pavements, experience more full payments and suffer fewer callbacks, especially if the members of that team share the checklist with the customer.

Show your pride
Taking the customer for a walk through the completed project may sound risky, but the crew that has followed the postjob checklist is confident and has pride in the completed job. Point out the fact that you were careful to keep tack from sticking to the side of the customer’s building. Show the customer how you took a soft spot in the original lot and strengthened it. Explain how the drainage system you worked into the project is superior to the old one where water merely puddled or ran into the street.

By taking some time to point out the work your team has accomplished, you’re instilling the customer with confidence in a job done well. As you walk through the project, your pride in your work will be evident to the customer. Explaining some of the finer points of getting the job done right will show your customer the value he or she is getting for his or her money. You’re more likely to get paid, without hassle or callbacks, if the customer understands what your team has done and has the quality workmanship explained to him or her.

One way to ensure the customer will find everything in order when the job is done is to have a postjob checklist that your team goes through, point by point. Start with the plan before you even begin the project. In the October issue of Asphalt Contractor® magazine, we went over the prejob checklist. Let that serve as your plan for success. Include a paving plan and discuss it with the crew before you begin.

Check joint quality
Did the crew construct the joints properly? If each has a smooth, straight, uniform finish, the look of the whole job will be more appealing. Make sure all unsupported edges are straight and taper down nicely. If you can take a stringline and run it right along a joint or unsupported edge, you’ve got a good finish. But if there are signs of material being cast across the joint and not blending in properly, the job will have a poor appearance.

Check overall mat quality
The casting of material across the mat at any point will create a bad appearance, and possible segregation problems. Check all handwork areas to be sure they appear uniform and are free from rock pockets. If they stand out from the machine work areas, they will need to be corrected.

Also check the drainage properties of this new mat. If there are areas that will hold water or affect drainage in any way, address those before the customer has to. Where the mat meets a curb is a good place for water to collect and cause problems. Make sure that the mat meets the curb height in all locations.

Compact with care
While checking the appearance of joints, edges and the overall mat, look for roller marks. You want all the marks erased from your asphalt carpet and all joints rolled and sealed off properly. If you had to cut cores, make sure those are filled properly as well.

Stray tack sticks you with a bad reputation
Did your team leave any tack on buildings or adjacent concrete? Back when the person was on the job tacking, he or she used care to keep the tack only where it was supposed to go. But, by its very nature, tack gets onto things when you least expect it. Check any parking lots or streets adjacent to your project. Are there a bunch of white cars parked over there with a swoosh of tack on them now? Using caution while applying the tack is important; but at the end of the project, the crew should also take a look around, accept responsibility, and clean up any tack that’s left.

Tack isn’t the only opportunity for a job to look sloppy. Make sure your crew takes the time to pick up bags, cups, wrappers, gloves and rags before moving to the next job site. It’s easy to forget to collect the trash when so many details about the job are in your mind already. Use the postjob checklist to remember this small, but important, activity.

Also check the adjacent roadways or parking areas to be sure any errant asphalt is cleaned from them. Take a broom over there and sweep up loose material and asphalt.

Clear the drains in the area of any construction debris as well. Take a look at the equipment you’re using. If the equipment carrying your company’s name is to move to a new site, make sure it’s a clean and positive representation of your company’s commitment to good work.

Follow up with customer, company
Once the crew addresses issues brought to light by the postjob checklist, you can walk the customer through the project with pride.

But that’s not all you need to do before leaving this site. The company should keep records of all safety issues, job totals and equipment maintenance concerns and it’s the crew’s job to bring these to the company’s attention.

• Safety issues
If an accident occurred on this job site, make sure the proper reports were filled out and returned to the office. If any property damage occurred — such as knocking over a fence, denting a building, mashing a concrete curb, etc. — make the owner aware of it and the possible need for repair.

• Job totals
If the job was completed within the time estimated, the crew may be receiving a bonus. Show pride in your team by keeping a record of this.

Also mark down any equipment needs you may have had during the project. If the wrong rollers were on site, list which ones would have worked out best for this particular type of project for future reference. It more asphalt trucks would have made the job easier or faster, make a note of that.

The end of the project is a good opportunity to evaluate the timeliness of truck deliveries and efficiency of team members. Were trucks waiting on the job or was the job waiting on the trucks? If you didn’t have as many people on the site as you needed, take note of that for future projects of this size or difficulty.

• Equipment
Complete equipment reports. If any equipment had problems that the maintenance department needs to fix, the end of the project is the time to bring that to the owner’s attention — before the faulty equipment moves to the next job site. If the equipment is not ready to move to the next job site, the owner needs to know that. Are the machines cleaned up and ready to carry your company’s name through the streets to the next project site?

Always be prepared for a pop quiz
Our jobs are a direct reflection of what we stand for, so make sure your project is always reflecting positively on your company. If potential customers dropped by the job site unannounced, would the crew’s efficiency and the project’s appearance prove to them that we do high quality work and that they would want us to work for them? It’s hard to keep up with all these little details throughout the construction process, but keeping this postjob checklist in mind as you pave can keep your team ready for any surprise visits from city officials, state engineers, the owner and/or potential customers. This constant reminder of the details will also help your team finish off a job completely, avoiding callbacks and costly corrections.

There are many particulars that, when lumped together, can help your organization stand out and be noticed. It all boils down to delighting your customers, not just meeting their expectations. Until next time, pave safely.

Follow these six commandments to ensure a successful paving project ends on a positive note:

I Check joint quality.
II Check overall mat quality.
III Compact with care.
IV Make sure all areas of the job site are clean.
V Include paperwork in the follow-up with the asphalt company and the customer.
VI Always be ready for potential customers to stop by the project site.

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