Quality In Construction 

In the construction industry one of the most important roles, that is often overlooked or underestimated, is Quality Management.  It plays a major part in the success of the project.  So why does it not get the attention it deserves?

Knowing what quality is, why it is so important and what can be done to keep it at your companies’ forefront can help turn projects into success stories.

What is quality?

To understand why quality is important in construction, one must ask, “what is quality?”.   Quality is a measure of excellence in how well a product or a service meets the client or the end users’ requirements.

QA vs QC

Quality has two major parts namely Quality Assurance and Quality Control.

Quality Assurance, or QA, is a planned process comprising of systematic activities and procedures.  These are laid out by the designers and clients before the construction starts.  The objective is to ensure and provide the confidence that all quality requirements will be fulfilled. 

Quality Control, or QC, is observation activities and techniques with the aim to identify and ensure that the end results of the construction process fulfils the quality requirements set out by the QA process.

One of the most basic concepts of QA and QC is PDCA theory, Plan – Do – Check – Act.

The theory is based on the Deming Circle introduced by Deming in the 1950’s.  The concept has since influenced many industries, including the construction industry.


 PDCA System

The PDCA system works on four parts:

  • Plan:  This is the first part.  At this stage, an overview of the project will be created with information they have as well as experience.
  • Do:  This is the execution of the production or the construction stage.  Ongoing supervision of the quality process and the results of the planning will be used to provide the best possible quality for the customer.
  • Check:  In this stage it is important that the initiatives and measures implemented to keep improving the business is evaluated.  Do these initiatives improve the quality, and does it justify costs to accomplish the wanted quality?
  • Act: After the results are evaluated, actions will be made to perfect these strategies.

The most important aspect of this system is the continuous evaluation of the performed work and consequently taking the necessary steps to meet requirements.  Even though the practical use of the PDCA system is many, it is the idea that influenced other techniques and tools.  It has been one of the most important bases for the ISO 9001 standard that we use today for our Quality Management systems.

 

Why is quality important?

All industries worldwide use quality, but in the construction industry, a project completed to a high standard of quality is one free from defects and significant shortcomings.  

Ensuring quality in any project is a standard goal for all construction professionals.  Not only is it important to ensure the project or product is defect free, but it also ensures that projects are kept on time, budgets are not exceeded due to poorly executed work or poor planning and safety risks are reduced.

QA and QC might be two different activities, but they complement one another and is part of a larger concept called Quality Management. 

Achieving success requires both QA and QC. The application of QA procedures and activities lets the contractors identify the characteristics that the completed construction must have, and the quality levels it must satisfy.  In turn, the application of the QC activities provides the confidence that the completed construction project consists of these characteristics.

In the construction industry quality is still widely misunderstood.  It is therefore paramount that construction professionals understand and appreciate the importance of quality and the benefits it can bring.  It is not only to eliminate defects but the way in which it can enhance profits, drive improvement, increase productivity and safety and reduce the unknowns.

One of the key advantages of the good quality culture is that it will always strive for better.  Hence, it is necessary for the construction industry wanting to sustain excellence to continually change, adapt and improve.

How does QDot add value to quality?

QDot understands that there is a need to adapt and change in this everchanging construction environment.  Needing to keep costs low but quality high can be a challenge, and that is where we help to streamline the quality system.

QDot provides certainty that the quality process is in place and being managed, keeping QA and QC activities in one, easy to use application.  To find out more about the QDot mobile application and how it can help your company achieve more successful projects, go to www.qdot.co.nz.

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