Quality Management 101 in Construction | RedSky

Quality Management 101 in Construction

Delivering high-quality construction projects is a complex challenge that requires a comprehensive approach. Effective quality management ensures projects meet safety standards, functional requirements, and cost objectives.

It combines proactive measures to prevent defects with reactive processes to identify and correct issues, ultimately driving successful project delivery.

What constitutes Quality Management in Construction?

Quality management in construction encompasses a wide range of practices to ensure the project meets the specified quality standards. It includes Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) measures.

QA involves proactive measures such as planning, design reviews, and selecting qualified personnel to prevent defects. On the other hand, QC includes reactive measures like inspections, identifying and documenting issues, and taking corrective actions.

The ultimate goal of quality management is to deliver a safe, functional, and cost-effective project on time. It involves a comprehensive approach covering every aspect of the construction process, from planning and design to execution and final inspection.

By implementing rigorous management practices, construction businesses can minimise the risk of defects, rework, and delays, ultimately leading to a successful project delivery.

Quality Assurance (QA) in Construction

Quality Assurance in construction refers to the proactive measures and processes implemented to ensure that all activities involved in the construction process are carried out correctly and meet the project’s quality standards.

QA’s goal is to prevent defects from occurring in the first place. This can involve planning and design reviews, selecting qualified materials and subcontractors, implementing quality control procedures, and providing training to ensure workers understand and follow the established quality standards.

Process-Oriented Approach

QA takes a process-oriented approach, establishing and maintaining a system of practices that minimises the risk of errors throughout the construction process. It is not focused on inspecting the final product but rather on ensuring that the processes and procedures are designed to prevent defects.

Quality Control (QC) in Construction

Quality Control refers to the reactive measures and activities implemented to ensure that the completed construction work meets the project specifications and quality standards.

QC aims to identify and correct any defects or non-conformances that may have occurred during the construction process. This involves inspections, testing materials, and documenting any identified issues or deviations from the project plans and specifications.

Process-Oriented Approach

QC takes a product-oriented approach, focusing on the final product delivered by the construction process. Inspectors assess whether the work aligns with the plans and specifications, identifying areas requiring rework or correction.

The difference between QA and QC

While Quality Assurance and Quality Control are essential components of quality management in construction, they differ in their focus and approach.

The key difference lies in their orientation. QA is a proactive, process-oriented approach that aims to prevent defects throughout construction. On the other hand, QC is a reactive, product-oriented approach that focuses on identifying and correcting defects in the final product.

Activities: QA involves planning, design reviews, selecting qualified materials and subcontractors, and implementing quality control procedures. QC, on the other hand, involves inspections, testing materials, and documenting identified issues.

Implementation: Project managers often lead QA and involve various departments, ensuring that quality processes are followed throughout the project. Dedicated inspectors or subcontractors typically carry out QC, assessing the final product’s conformance to specifications.

Usefulness: QA is crucial throughout the project lifecycle to prevent issues from occurring. It is also essential at key stages of the construction process, such as after each construction phase, to ensure that the completed work meets the required quality standards.

While QA and QC have distinct focuses, they are complementary and work together to ensure the overall quality of the construction project. A comprehensive quality management program should incorporate both proactive QA measures and reactive QC activities to achieve the best results.

Importance of Construction Quality

Maintaining high standards is crucial for several reasons related to quality management in construction:

1. Financial implications

Poor quality in construction can have significant financial implications. Rework, repairs, and wasted materials can significantly increase project costs. Additionally, delays and potential lawsuits due to safety issues can further exacerbate financial losses.

2. Time, resource, and material waste

Defects and non-conformances in construction can lead to wasted time, resources, and materials. Rework and corrections require additional labour, equipment, and material, ultimately delaying the project and increasing costs.

3. Project safety

Poor quality in construction can lead to safety hazards. Defective materials, substandard workmanship, or design flaws can increase the risk of accidents and injuries for workers and future occupants of the structure.

4. Project success

Construction quality is fundamental to a project’s success as it directly impacts safety, cost, schedule, and overall customer satisfaction. High-quality construction ensures the project meets the specified requirements and delivers the intended functionality.

5. Project schedules

Maintaining quality throughout the construction process prevents delays caused by fixing defects or waiting for re-inspections. A project with quality issues can easily fall behind schedule, leading to additional costs and potential penalties.

6. Reputation and future business

Poor quality in construction can damage a company’s reputation, making it difficult to secure future projects and contracts. A track record of delivering high-quality work is essential for building trust with clients and stakeholders.

7. Compliance and legal requirements

Construction projects must comply with various building codes, safety regulations, and environmental standards. Maintaining quality ensures the project meets these legal requirements, avoiding potential fines or legal issues.

Tools for Improving Quality Construction

1. Snag lists

Precise and efficient snag lists are crucial for identifying and tracking defects during construction. They should provide:

  • A user-friendly interface for creating and assigning snag lists, making it easy to document and assign defects for resolution.
  • The ability to add photos and detailed descriptions for each defect, ensuring clear documentation and communication of issues.
  • Tracking functionality to monitor progress on resolving identified issues, keeping the project on schedule and ensuring timely resolution.

2. Incremental updates to stakeholders

Keeping all stakeholders informed about quality issues is essential for maintaining transparency and facilitating prompt resolution. Effective communication tools should offer:

  • A mobile app for instant reporting of defects from the field, allowing on-site personnel to quickly document and share quality issues as they arise.
  • Automated notifications to relevant personnel when issues arise, ensuring that the right people are alerted and can take action promptly.
  • A centralised platform for real-time communication and progress updates, keeping all stakeholders informed and aligned on the status of quality issues.

3. Establishing quality workflows early

Establishing clear control procedures from the start of a project is crucial for maintaining consistent quality standards. Effective workflow management tools should provide:

  • Customisable quality control templates for different construction phases, allowing you to define specific quality checks and requirements tailored to your project’s needs.
  • Task management tools to assign and track the completion of quality control activities, ensuring that all necessary checks are performed and documented.
  • Integration with project plans to ensure quality checks align with project milestones. This prevents delays and maintains a high standard throughout the project lifecycle.

4. Documentation

Thorough documentation is essential for maintaining a quality audit trail and ensuring compliance with quality standards. Documentation tools should encompass:

  • Centralised storage for all inspection reports and corrective action records, keeping all quality-related documentation organised and accessible.
  • Version control to track changes and ensure everyone refers to the latest documentation, preventing confusion and providing consistent information.
  • Easy access to documentation for future reference and audits, simplifying compliance and enabling continuous improvement of quality processes.

Optimise Your Quality Management Approach

While various tools and software systems are available to support quality management in construction, it’s essential to choose solutions that align with your specific project needs and workflows.

Connect with our industry experts today and discover how our award-winning technology can complement and enhance your existing quality management processes, ultimately driving successful project delivery and consistent quality standards.