Original article by: Professsional Builder

The annual National Housing Quality Awards recognize four home builders for their commitment to continuous operational improvement.

The validation, and the reckoning, begin well before the home builders that apply for Pro Builder’s National Housing Quality (NHQ) Award receive the final feedback report from the judges who assessed their operations first-hand.

“Just spending two days with the judges evaluating our business and asking us really deep questions gave us so many takeaways,” says Ann Rivers, CFO of Adair Homes, in Vancouver, Wash., an NHQ Bronze Award recipient for 2021. “We circled up afterward, went into the conference room, and wrote all of the feedback we could remember on the whiteboard and used it to build our 2021 plan.” 

Julie Hancock, managing director and co-owner of Camelot Homes, in Scottsdale, Ariz., also a Bronze Award winner, echoes that sentiment. “Even before we got the report, we knew from the judges some of the things it would say, and we started working on those right away.”

Rachel Flint of Bronze Award honoree Hubbell Homes, in West Des Moines, Iowa, adds about the judges’ visit: “It validates the accomplishments you made over the last several years, but it also highlights where the next steps need to go.”

And while James Monroe, owner of James Monroe Homes, in Lexington, Ky., our Honorable Mention recipient, says he probably would have discovered deficiencies on his own without going through the NHQ process, he admits it would have taken much longer. “Even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while, but it would have been a long and difficult challenge,” he says. “Why reinvent the wheel when you have access to these judges who already have the road map?”

Filling out the National Quality Award application is largely a self-assessment exercise that provides a snapshot of a builder’s current status in eight areas of its operation.

For Hancock, going through the NHQ’s highly detailed application was akin to going to college and then pushing further to earn a master’s degree. For Hubbell Homes, NHQ is helping set the stage for the company to become an elite builder, and president and CEO Rick Tollakson credits the process for his company’s improved trade partner relationships. Starting in November, Adair used the exercise to begin business planning for the 2021 fiscal year, and Monroe sees NHQ as a tool to scale up his company to 50 closings per year.

About the NHQ Awards

Tailored to the home building industry, NHQ is modeled on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and ISO 9000 concepts for quality management. Filling out the application is largely a self-assessment exercise that provides a snapshot of a builder’s current status in eight areas of its operation:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic planning
  3. Performance management
  4. Customer satisfaction
  5. Human resources
  6. Construction quality
  7. Trade relations 
  8. Business results

The NHQ jury consists of builders that have earned NHQ Gold, along with quality management experts. This group reviews and scores the NHQ written applications, from which finalists are selected for on-site evaluations. A trio of judges grades the builders and validates that the systems and processes mentioned in the application are in use. Those grades are combined with the application scores to determine whether an applicant should be recognized for an NHQ Award and, if so, at what level. Regardless, all NHQ applicants receive an extensive 15-to-30-page report describing their individual company’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. 

Apply for NHQ Today!

Benchmark your business against the best builders in the country by applying for the National Housing Quality Award. Go to probuilder.com/nhq for information and to complete Part 1 of the online application showing your intent by March 2, 2021. Space is limited!

The 2021 Winners

Bronze Award: Adair Homes

Bronze Award: Camelot Homes 

Bronze Award: Hubbell Homes

Honorable Mention: James Monroe Homes