A construction quality control plan helps ensure that your client can actually use the building. The plan looks at specific areas of a project that could affect quality and outlines the ways to mitigate that risk. Businesses that use a construction quality control plan for their projects can ensure that quality issues won’t happen. There are some similar elements to every quality control plan, but many factors are dependent upon the exact specifications of the individual project. There are several great locations that contain all of the necessary information for construction industry quality standards as well as applicable building codes. Using that information is a great starting point for a construction quality control plan.
What is Quality Control?
Quality control is part of quality management. This ensures that anything built will be usable by a client. Quality management measures the quality of a unit against the established standards to determine whether something is up to par. In order to ensure quality, companies use a variety of tests and inspection. Quality control managers work on more than just the material level. Inspectors or quality control officers can test quality at various levels of completion as well. Contractors can use this to ensure their work will pass inspection in the end and avoid expensive rework.
Contractors should always ensure they are using quality materials. This also prevents later rework since they can prove the materials weren’t faulty, to begin with. It also can prevent expensive lawsuits due to any issues because of poor quality materials.
The final inspection that contractors and owners can do is at the end of the project. This determines whether the project is usable because it checks the finished product. The main issue with this is that if there are issues with a product or project, it is on the subcontractor to fix the issue. At this level, the repairs are more expensive because usually an entire section must be rebuilt. In order to prevent this, it is important to have some sort of construction quality control plan or quality management plan in place.
Best Resources for Quality Control Plans
Fortunately, there are many online tools and platforms to help quality control managers build their own construction quality control plan. One of the most common quality control standards guidelines is the FTA Quality Assurance and Quality Control Guidelines. The guideline lays out everything from the definition of quality control, building a plan, and implementing the plan. Many of the principles are applicable to other fields than mass transit construction since the 15 elements of quality management aren’t specific to heavy civil construction. However, there are some specifics that would require readers to substitute them with their own building code specification.
Another common series quality control requirements are the USACE Quality Control Requirements. The United States Army Corp Engineers not only offer Construction Quality Management training; however, they also have all of their materials online. This allows people to follow along or use the tools to create their own construction quality management plan and implement it in their workplace.
The ISO9000 standards of quality management systems is another tool that can quality control managers can use in order to create their standards. The system isn’t specifically meant for a construction quality control plan; however, it is possible to use it to better inform any developing plan. The series has many tips on evidence-based decision making, a tool that is helpful in construction.
These standards are a great starting point for any quality control plan. Whoever is preparing the quality control plan must also take into consideration the client’s input and unique pieces to prepare the best plan.
How to Write a Construction Quality Control Plan
When starting a construction quality control plan, whoever writes it must have a section for signatures of the participants. This works to show that everyone read and agreed to the plan. There should also be a space for information on the project, that way it’s easier to ensure it ends up with the right project folders. However, once the administrative parts are taken care of the quality control plan is easy to write.
1. Organizational Chart and Documentation
The first part of a construction quality control plan will be an organizational chart. This allows the company to determine who is responsible for what. Having a page that shows the process and flow makes it easier to remember. It’s also a great reference page in case anyone forgets.
Along with the organizational chart should be documentation of resumes or certifications. This page specifies what the qualifications of each member on the chart. The benefit is, for complicated projects, or projects that need certain qualifications, this page certifies that. So everyone involved can feel secure in the qualifications of the laborers to the quality control managers.
2. Set the Responsibilities
The next section of a construction quality control plan should specify the responsibilities of the quality control manager. It should also guarantee certain rights or powers to the quality control manager. The responsibilities form lists out each of the individual duties so they can reference it at any moment. General responsibilities include preparing, approving and implementing the construction quality control plan, maintaining documents, verifying materials, etc.. However, the details and responsibilities should be laid out so there is no confusion. There should also be a Stop Work Authorization Letter. This letter, signed by the owner or stakeholders, gives the quality control manager the ability to stop work that is noncompliant to the standards, or with materials that don’t pass the test.
3. Defining Work
The next portion of a construction quality control plan should specify the work. Quality control managers write all the defining features of the project. Contractors fill in how they will complete the work as well as their primary point of contact. Now the quality control manager can easily reach them if something is amiss.
4. Phases of Inspection
There should be a section in the construction quality control plan that specifies the phases for inspection. Often times there are preparatory meetings before certain elements are built to go over specifications, crew, and more. There is usually an initial inspection, which verifies inspection and testing, establishes workmanship level and verifies it, as well as re-examines work. Finally, there is the follow-up inspection. This ensures that the final product is up to code and follows quality control procedures. The quality control manager will ask contractors to replace any materials or parts that need to be.
5. Quality Control Testing and Verifications
The final section of the construction quality control plan has to cover a lot of ground. This section covers the testing, verification, submittals, tracking, and weekly logs. It lays out the tests that will be administered, the time frame the quality control manager must give before the test, what to happen when a test fails, how the records will be stored, and the procedures around it. And it should also have a schedule of agencies that will test and inspect, the field they will inspect, the estimated date and real date.
This section also informs people of what the procedures for submittals. This helps determine what should happen if the submittal isn’t approved, along with what happens if it is approved. It should also include where submittals will be kept.
Finally, there should be a section on tracking issues. This section is used to define what deficiencies and issues are, as well as what the quality control manager will do if they’re found. The establishment of the procedure helps keep everything running smoothly.
Along with these sections should be sample documents of the weekly log the quality control manager should keep, along with the non-conformance report, weekly punch list, and prep meeting checklist. Quality control managers should include these templates, since it makes it easier to find them. They also show everyone what the proposed documents are so they can better work to them.