CONSTRUCTION QUALITY REQUIRES CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT

The need for construction quality assurance is easy to demonstrate due to the high cost of quality related issues in the construction industry.

Those who are familiar with the construction management  industry are most likely already aware of the associated  lawsuits, project delays, finger pointing, and lost time.

The Performance Validation Group has provided project  control services to the “Life Sciences” industries for more than 30 years.  They prepared a “White Paper” . with assistance from the European Union Quality Assurance Commission, regarding construction quality programs; to assist their clients and the industry to improve their services to the industry services.  Excerpts are provided here to assist Building Managers to prepare their projects for better control programs.

In early 2000  a pilot program was initiated with a large pharmaceutical and biotechnology company to assess the state of  the construction industry. The concept was developed, in large part, to address the many cost overruns, project delays, and other cost issues that had become the norm in recent projects.

The pilot program assessed 21 construction companies that were to bid on a major new  facility. We started out the program, asking the following questions:

• Are we using contractors who do not have a quality program?• For those that do, what is the current state of their  programs?

• How do the QC programs compare to industry standards?

• Are their  programs effective?

• What can we do to assist contractors in improving their QC programs?

• What will be our expectations for contractors in the future?

THE RESULTS:

Approximately 50% of the contractors did not have QC Manuals.

Most contractors did not know what such a manual was and confused it with a Safety Manual, Operations Manual, or an insurance company practice plan.

In general,  contractors did not know what was expected in a quality-control program.

The ” plans” that were reported did not have evidence that they were implemented.

What Is Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance is about being “in control” of all major areas of the construction business (“key processes”) so that one can assure a high level of performance. Being “in control” also reduces variations materials and workmanship. “Control” and“variation reduction” is accomplished using various methods.

Numerical Data: Control and variation reduction is established by statistically evaluating the process capability and then controlling the process via process control charts.

Non-Numerical Data: Control and variation is also reduced by instituting systematic methods (i.e. quality procedures). This is also referred to as “systematizing”, “standardizing”, or “proceduralizing” your key business processes. However, systematic methods have little value if they are not properly managed by a  system that includes:

Document Control: To ensure employees have the correct procedures and the procedures are properly maintained.

Audits: To verify that procedures are being followed

Non-conformance Tracking: To monitor and track project issues to ensure that defects are kept from your customer.

CAPA (corrective action and preventative action): To correct flawed processes,  when detected via audits and non-conformance tracking to prevent defects from reoccurring.

Management Review: Reviewing  system data (performance) (quality metrics) to determine if the system is working and if it is not, taking the appropriate action to improve the system.

Quality assurance is oftentimes explained by the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” (PDCA) Cycle which can be reviewed at the GRAPHICS PAGE.

Do YOU Have A Quality Assurance Program?

The phrase “quality assurance” is mis-used and mis-understood.  To avoid any confusion, a table of questions can be utilized  to assess  whether  you have a quality assurance program. It , too, is available at the  GRAPHICS PAGE.

If “No” is answered to any of the tabled questions, you do not have an effective quality assurance program

HOW CAN CONSTRUCTION QUALITY ASSURANCE HELP ME?

Quality assurance and  tools add value wherever they are applied!  The key to unlocking this value is to determine what level of investment is needed in  assurance for your business.

BUILDING OWNERS and MANAGERS

Building owners and construction managers can utilize construction quality assurance to assess the capabilities of the construction companies with whom they conduct business by ensuring that a  system audit is conducted by an independent party.

Managers should also ensure that jobsite  audits are periodically conducted to ensure that quality is indeed being managed and that unnecessary risk is not accumulated that could jeopardize the project delivery.

CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS:

Construction contractors can utilize quality assurance in many ways, including:

Standardizing best practices to maximize productivity.

“Systematizing” work methods to ensure that the job is “done right the first time”.

Managing to assure quality and to keep defects from customers.

To reduce the cost of quality to increase profits.

To protect the business from liability risk.

The Performance Validation website.