Three common themes are critical to quality and productivity improvement in the European building sector: a) There are large numbers of defects in building work and frequent interruptions to work flow. b) Any building site can be seen as a system and this system is usually very complicated with many players working inside the site fence as well as many others who operate outside the fence. c) It is far too common that the expected quality in building is not achieved regularly or easily and that, at the same time, productivity levels are low against a background of high building costs. An important solution to the construction industry problems posed by these three themes involves a better understanding of the building work done by specialist or trade works contractors (SME's). They are a very important group of players on construction sites who at present receive far too little attention. The overall aim of the intended research project is to build-up consciousness and the technical management of quality in the building processes run by the proposer firms. In this European research project we will describe and offer ways of reducing defects and interruptions in the building process. The focus will be on SME's as specialist and trade works contractors and especially on their interfaces with other 'players' in the building process.