The Army’s response to the crisis of confidence in Army housing at the beginning of the year was to win back residents trust.
To spearhead this effort, the Army established a Quality Assurance Team at each post to ensure privatized housing is doing quality maintenance in a reasonable timeframe.
Several remedies, such as online work orders, and work order histories, have already been implemented to catch up with maintenance backlogs. That helped track the ‘who and when,’ but it falls on the QA Team to examine the ‘how’ and how well the work is done.
What does a QA team do?
The team prioritizes their assignments, concentrating on any issue that could jeopardize residents’ life, health or safety. QA teams are a composite of trained housing inspectors, augmented by experts from the fire department, installation safety office and the logistics readiness command.
Brian Smith, Garrison chief of housing, said there are three orders his QA team follows:
• An operation order that directs us to do 100% of all change of occupancy maintenance, so every empty house gets inspected before the move-in.
• 100% of any life, health and safety problem that gets reported gets inspected after the maintenance team has finished.
• A random 5% follow-up on all completed work orders, which is typically a follow-up phone call to talk to the resident and make sure they’re satisfied with the work performed.
One of the Quality Assurance Inspectors, Donald Thomas, explained the team’s mission is 100% inspections of every empty home, before a new family moves in, 100% inspections of all life, health, and safety reports are re-inspected after completion, and follow ups on work orders to ensure work orders and change of occupancy maintenance is completed.
The largest life, health, and safety issue is mold for residents on post.
Thomas said his team is well aware of that and inspectors keep a close eye on bathrooms, vents and other typical sites of mold growth.
“We do our own inspections now, in between tenant inspections, where we look for any presence of mold. If we see a situation that could develop into mold, we write that up in our report, and the contractors are directed to investigate and take corrective measures immediately,” he said.
Getting It Right, Yielding Results
The work is beginning to show an improvement in quality, according to Smith. The main objective, he said, is the work orders are completed, building on the cooperation between the QA Team and contractors to ensure problems are resolved.
“We’ve seen an upward trend in the quality of the work and the satisfaction of the residents. I think we’re starting to yield results. That’s the reports we’re getting back from the QAs,” he said.
Greenberg summarized the differences by saying, “We’re changing the way we’re doing business. It is what we owe our families and what our families deserve.”