Defects are the industry's biggest bugbear, and Midas Homes won Best Quality Improvement strategy, sponsored by Rationel Windows UK, for tackling the problem head on

Winner: Midas Homes

West Country housebuilder Midas Homes knows exactly what it gets wrong in its homes, but its objective is not only to recognise and remedy defects, but to eradicate their causes. Having spent a year analysing the sources of defects, it is now concentrating on contractor performance, as well as implementing a new procedure for dealing with defects. Although the company hasn’t reached the Holy Grail of zero defects yet, it has clear evidence of quality improvement – for example, over the course of a year, the company has more than halved outstanding defects.

Second: Higgins Construction

Higgins is also addressing defects with the help of its own top 10 defects chart, which is backed up by an ongoing data collection process on site. The company also helps to educate residents on how to get the best out of their homes by giving them a handover pack, and keeps a chart of the top 10 bogus defects, which identifies residents’ misunderstandings about common issues such as drying shrinkage cracking. Since the defects charts were first compiled, the company has reduced bogus defect call-outs by 18%.

Third: Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon’s quality improvement strategy embraces partnering, training, quality management, inspection and feedback, the supply chain and use of off-site manufacturing technology. The company maintains a defects database on its intranet and has enhanced its customer-care procedure by trialling guidance for residents.

Fourth: Bowey Homes

At Bowey Homes improving quality has been linked to improving site management. The site management team has been doubled in number and their paperwork has been reduced to allow them to spend more time on site, checking works are being carried out to required standards.

Fifth: Lovell

The Integrated Business Management System is a generic procedure document developed by Lovell in its ongoing quest for quality. The system ensures consistency of procedures through Lovell’s eight operating regions and that quality objectives are delivered.