Construction quality management is one of the pillars of project management and project delivery. Good construction quality management can reduce the number of mistakes and rework in a project. This can help projects come in on time and budget and helps contractors maintain a good relationship and reputation. Here are some tips for improving construction quality management.
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What is Construction Quality Management
Construction quality management is quality control on the job site. It’s what assures that all parts of the project will be up to code and safe for users. Typically internal and external inspectors will conduct tests. They’ll test for things like soil compaction, concrete strength, welding, and more. Usually, these tests are performed during and after work, unless it’s for specific building materials. To ensure the right materials are used building materials should be checked before the execution of work. Inspectors test the final project at the end of construction, this final test determines whether or not the project is up to code and can be costly if it isn’t.
Where Quality Management Fails
However, not every project meets code requirements because of all the contractors and teams. Without set management systems or policies many quality assurance and quality control practices slip through. The superintendent is responsible for the quality of work, many times they’re overworked. And with the change of crew and suppliers from job to job quality and standards could vary. The entire supervisory process is informal and makes quality management hard to control. Switching to a more structured management process helps improve quality on construction sites and reduce the amount of time and money spent on rework.
Construction Quality Management Process Elements
The best way to improve construction quality management is to create and implement a formal process. Any process needs to have defined objectives and who will be accountable a formalized structure, and training to start. But that’s the big picture, any construction quality management process will need a way to verify quality at every stage, detect and mitigate potential issues, verify and document any and all outcomes, as well as assess the effectiveness of the quality objectives. It might seem like a lot to deal with; however, creating a process is just a couple steps.
1. Set Quality Standards
The first step to crafting a construction quality management process is to research the specifications and quality requirements for each part of the project. But it isn’t just about knowing the standards, so you need to create documentation for distribution and clarification. Occasionally that means clarifying requirements with further papers. Once you’ve finished setting quality standards and documenting what they should be, you can create your process and work on training.
The quality management process will consist of a quality control plan and a quality assurance process. The quality control plan will specify any unique project requirements, define who is responsible for quality standards and how they’ll determine it, as well as the procedures and practices to meet and exceed quality requirements. Whereas, the quality assurance process will outline inspection requirements, the timing of them, all reporting measures, and who is responsible for receiving and acting upon reports.
2. Set Educational Training
As important as setting your standards is training. Once you’ve identified the people responsible for the construction quality management processes, they need to know how to do their jobs. You need to educate them on the quality standards and requirements, as well as what the procedures will be. Since they are to be responsible for the quality of the project, they might want to educate those reporting to them about the specific standards their team must meet.
3. Measuring Construction Quality Management Processes
Once the training is complete, and the processes are in place, all that’s left is measuring the quality management. The person in charge of quality assurance should review all plans in place to see if the work practices, materials, and finished work meet quality standards. If there are any issues with the work or materials, they should take the necessary steps to fix it. They’ll coordinate all efforts to ensure that the project exceeds or meets standards using the quality control procedures.