It is recognized as an established source for reliable, objective information and research on housing construction and development issues, while it continues to promote innovation in housing technology to improve the quality, durability, affordability, and environmental performance of omes and home building products. Through its various testing and certification programs, the Research Center seal is recognized internationally as a mark of product quality and an assurance of product performance (nahbrc. com).
In an effort to cultivate quality within the home building industry and promote the industrys best practices the National Housing Quality Award (NHQA) was established in 1992. This award represents the housing industrys highest recognition for achievements in the area of quality management and operational excellence in the residential construction industry (nahbrc. com). The NHQ Award is modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which was established in 1987, by Congress to raise awareness of quality management and recognize U.
S. companies that have implemented successful quality-management systems (Baldrige. com). The Award promotes awareness of performance excellence as an increasingly important element in competitiveness and information sharing of successful performance strategies and the benefits derived from using these strategies (Wikipedia). Recipients are selected based on achievement and improvement in seven areas, known as the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, which the NHQA has
Performance Excellence which has eight categories upon which entrants are Judged. The National Housing Quality Award (NHQA) is open to all US homebuilders, remodelers and trade contractors and is administered by the NAHBRC in conjunction with Reed Business Information, publishers of Professional Builder Magazine. NHQ Award applications are reviewed by a panel of Judges who are experts in both the housing industry and quality management, many of them being past NHQ awards winners.
These Judges then evaluate the importance of quality in the companys construction, strategic planning, leadership and performance management, trade elationships, customer satisfaction, human resources and business results, which are the NHQA Criteria for Performance Excellence (nahbrc . com). The NHQ Award is presented annually at the Professional Builders Benchmark Conference. Award winners go on to be featured in Professional Builder Magazine articles that highlight the quality management practices as models for the housing industry. The award title is held for one year.
AWARD CRITERIA Patterned after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the NHQ Award was designed to recognize residential construction companies for excellence in quality chievement and promote awareness of customer focused quality as an increasingly vital element of competitiveness and productivity for building professionals. The NHQA has two divisions with one open to all US companies that build or remodel residential homes using light construction methods. The other is open to all independent trade contractors that provide construction services to builders or remodeling companies.
The NHQA consists of a set of eight criteria as outlined in their Criteria for Performance Excellence: Category I Description I Points I Leadership I How does the company’s senior leaders, guide the organization towards common purposed based on shared values and priorities? | 10 | Strategic Quality Planning I How does the organization create and implement a strategic plan to achieve a vision for the future, enhance their competitive position and improve overall performance? | 10 | Performance Management I How are the companys business processes developed, managed, measured and improved to achieve performance excellence? 10 | Customer Satisfaction I How does the company manage the design and delivery of products and services that promise a high level of customer satisfaction? | 10 | Human Resources I How does the organizations mployee selection and development practices, as well as staff performance management, well being, motivation, satisfaction and compensation contribute to the growth of the organization? | 10 | Construction Quality I What methods does the company use to drive quality in the home construction process and ensure high performing, trouble free products and services? 10 | Supplier Partnerships Examines how the organization designs, manages and improves processes for implementation to deliver customer value and reach organizational success | 10 Business Results I What are the tangible measurements of the business benefits esulting from the organizations high performance practices in the financial, operational, customer satisfaction and product and service quality areas? | 30 | Despite the fact that the NHQA award is modeled after the MBNQA award there are focuses on quality assurance approaches that ensure high performing, trouble free products and services.
In addition the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award is awarded to a sole winner whereas the National Housing Quality Award has several award categories. The NHQA has three recognition levels: honorable mention, silver and gold. Gold is awarded to those that have attained a national benchmark level within ach area of evaluation; they have mature, fully integrated quality management principles and consistently demonstrate high level sustained results. Silver is awarded to those that are industry leaders in most evaluation areas; they have many refined business practices, key measures for continual improvement and good business results.
Honorable mention is awarded in special circumstances for those that demonstrate an understanding of quality principles and show a sound, fact based improvement process. Key measures are in place and good business results are achieved in most areas (Denis 2009). To be considered for the NHQ Award applicants must complete a rigorous application process which includes a 15 page application which is considered an important step in every applicant’s road to quality.
This is so as participants benefit from the insightful process of preparing the application, which is a long and grueling process, which takes hundreds of man- hours to complete. Judges evaluate each applicant to determine to what extent the entrant embraced a customer focus and systematically embraced it within their business practices. Those that passed the initial selection were scheduled for a site isit. On the site visit, each finalist spent at a minimum a day with a team of Judges. At the end of the visit, the Judges had a clear understanding of the company culture, management practices and the quality results.
The final award is given to the organization that is deemed befitting on the overall Judge’s findings. BENEFITS OF THE AWARD The NHQ Award is more than recognition of quality achievement. It sets a benchmark to strive for and a model for improvement. By preparing an NHQA application organizations get an opportunity to assess their business from a Total Quality perspective. This rigorous process allows organizations to really take a look at their processes and make significant improvements in order to be competitive.
The organizations that submit an NHQA application receive detailed feedback on strengths and opportunities for improvement from the expert Judging panel. According to Tom Gillespie, President Kennedy Community Development, a multi-year applicant and 1997 NHQ Award winner, “no other programs has provided our company with more rewards, both financial and operational, than the NHQ application process provides” (Toolbase. org). This shows the depth of the application rocess and the benefits that can be yielded from its undertaking. Tom Gillespie is not the only one that praises the benefit of the NHQ way.
David Simon, president of operations at Veridian Homes, a 2005 Silver award winner, says that, “the in-depth review of our application and the detailed site visits provide valuable feedback not only for our strategic planning but also for driving quality improvement throughout the organizations” (Builderonline, 2005). The benefits of the NHQ award are far reaching, applicants benefit Just by undertaking the award application process and y implementing changes based on the feedback that they are provided by the gross profit margins which can be significant.
Mercedes Homes, a 1996 NHQ Award winner used the NHQ criteria as a model to “tune-up” their management practices. As a result of this improvement process they had higher profits in 1996 than the previous five years combined! Scott Buescher, V. P Operations, COO, attributes reports that using the NHQ model was a major factor in their success (Toobase. org, NHQ Agenda). The bottom line is that there are really no losers with the NHQ award as the enefits far outweigh the time and effort that are invested into the application process.
According to Paul Deffenbaugh, editorial director of Professional Builder, as a result of going through the process, NHQ Award winners, “significantly improve the performance of their companies, making them more consistent and more reliable. Home buyers have found these companies execute the best quality homes and deliver the highest quality satisfaction” (National Building News, 2007). PAST WINNERS Since the inception of the NHQA in 1993 through 2009, 67 builders have received recognition, of which eight builders have earned multiple awards.
These organizations range in size from small family owned to large national builders, building a variety of homes in a wide price range. In addition six remodelers and five trade partners have been awarded recognition (Leonard, 2009). NHQ Award winners represent the best of the best in the home building industry. In 1993 Town and Country Homes was named the first National Housing Quality Award winner. This win was attributed to customer satisfaction and sales as the leading Chicago area home builder (Hauser, 1993). Since then many other organizations have gone on to win what is considered the hardest award to win in home building.
In 2009, Tempe, Arizona based builder, T. W Lewis become the sole recipient of the 2009 NHQ Gold Award, having won in 1998 the NHQ Silver Award. “This award is a significant accomplishment in the homebuilding industry and one that our company and associates are very honored to received,” said T. W Lewis president and COO Kevin Egan. “The NHQ Award reaffirms the path we have chosen as a company-a path that is focused on productive quality, customer satisfaction and operational excellence” (East Valley Living, 2009).
In 2002 only one U. S builder was recognized as a Gold Award winner and that was History Maker Homes of Forth Worth, Texas. History maker attributed their success to the relationships that they have been able to foster. Nelson Mitchell, president of history maker a family owned company said, “we strive for valued relationships with our customers and with each of our team members, as well. Our company works diligently to maintain the family culture we have enjoyed for many decades” (History Maker Homes, 2002). 002 was a historic year for the NHQ Awards as it was the first year since its inception in 1993 that Silver Awards were gained by two trade contractors as the award was expanded to include ot only builders, but remodelers and trade contractors as well. The inaugural winners in the contractor category were All-tech, Inc. of Monroe, N. J and Tappe Construction of Eagan, Minn. When the NHQ Awards were introduced almost two decades ago, many builders had a hard time figuring out how quality management could help their companies.
The longevity of the Awards and the achievements of the winning builders have set this award as the most prestigious award in the industry. Housing Quality Award examines the builder’s business and quality management practices. We are concerned with the builder’s ability to deliver a quality product onsistently, have satisfied home buyers, and achieve high productivity,” says Liza Bowles, President of the NAHB Research Center, (Professional Builder, 1997). Following is a list of other past winners of The NHQ Awards.
For the home building industry the epitome of quality is seen in the National Housing Quality Award, an award modeled after the infamous Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and represents the highest recognition to be gained in the housing industry. The NHQA Criteria for Performance Excellence has been an important tool for hundreds of home builders and trade contractors to assess and improve performance on critical business success factors which has enabled them to grow as n organization.
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