Construction Quality Control is the system managing construction quality. Find out how to make the most of it
The success of anything that is achieved is based on the quality materials and processes. This happens in all sectors and the construction sector is no exception.
On construstion sites, materials and clear construction phases are the solid basis on which to build a project that is compliant with quality requirements and various standards. For this reason, the Quality Control phase is fundamental in the construction process.
But what does this step really consist of? And how to write a Construction Quality Control Plan?
What is Construction Quality Control?
Construction quality control is part of the Construction quality management phase that focuses on the final result of the project, controlling and guaranteeing the required quality levels for all materials and all the work on site. The aim is to prevent problems over time.
A quality control done in a timely and careful manner on site has a positive impact on the entire life cycle of the asset.
The control must control and guarantee the quality of these three aspects of the work:
- Design: the project must meet the regulatory and functional requirements related to its use and customer requests;
- Materials: once on site, a careful check is carried out on the materials to verify that the material arrived is exactly the one ordered and has the characteristics as per the project and contract;
- Construction: the construction, in its entirety, must comply with all the manufacturer’s instructions, design specifications, and legal requirements.
What are the methods for Construction Quality Control?
In order to control the quality of a built asset, there are various approaches, each of which adapts more or less well according to the type, needs and the extent of the project. The International Organization for Standardization has established standard criteria for Quality Control in ISO 9001.
The standards listed in ISO 9001 focus on topics such as the commitment of the professionals involved, the focus on the customer, leadership, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision-making and relationship management.
Moreover, there are four specific methods to manage Construction Quality Control:
- Continuous improvement: an approach that focuses on process improvements over time. Improvements are detected through customer feedback and internal analysis processes.
- Kaizen: from a Japanese word meaning “change for the better”, Kaizen refers to a philosophy based on the continuous search for ways to improve. The philosophy, in this case, is applied to the quality control of buildings. The implementation by all members of a team of this methodology in their daily practices involves gradual and constant improvements.
- Six sigma: a total quality control method (commonly used in automotive production plants) is a problem-solving approach that focuses on the identification and proactive resolution of statistical quality issues as they arise. The main steps of this quality control management approach are: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
- Lean management: like Lean Construction, Lean Management is also a highly collaborative process based on eliminating waste and diseconomies that would risk taking value away from the final product.
Who is responsible for Quality Control in the Construction sector?
The head of Quality Control (QC) in the construction sector is the QC Manager: he will have to ensure the implementation and management of the quality program established with the contractors. The QC Manager ensures:
- the coordination of quality activities;
- the execution of tests and monitoring services;
- that the quality of the work meets the contractual requirements of the project and maintains the standards of excellence established by the joint venture.
The various skills of a good QC Manager are:
- skills in teamwork;
- skills in the management of inspection and analytical teams;
- problem solving skills;
- ability to organise a document system;
- managerial and organisational qualities.
And how to write a Construction Quality Control Plan?
Drafting a Quality Control Plan is one of the key strategies to accurately carry out the quality control of the construction and its constituent elements. But how to write a good Quality Control Plan?
Surely, whoever drafts the quality control plan will enter all the information that may come handy to identify the specific project, along with a section dedicated to the signatures of all team members for the plan review. In addition to these two general sections, in order to write an efficient Construction Quality Control Plan, the following points must be taken into account:
Organizational chart and documentation: the organizational chart is critical to establishing the tasks and responsibilities of each team member. Having this information is necessary to be able to organize the work well and to always have clear roles and responsibilities throughout the construction process. The documentation covers all the curricula and certifications of the operators involved, especially when special qualifications are required for certain types of processing.
Identification of responsibilities: in the drafting of a quality control plan, the quality control manager and the related responsibilities will also be included. These include the preparation, approval and implementation of the Construction Quality Control Plan, updating of documents, verification of materials, etc.
This section also generally includes the Stop Work Authorization Letter, a document signed by the client and the various stakeholders, which gives the Quality Control Manager the authority to suspend the construction or processing if there is a lack of compliance with the standards or materials that do not meet the quality and performance requirements.
Definition of the processes: the processes and the contractors with the related contacts are identified.
Inspection phases: depending on the material or the processing phase a number of checks will be necessary at different times of the process, all in order to guarantee the aforementioned required quality and avoid rework.
Tests and verifications for Quality Control: among the most substantial and important sections that will contain information on the verification to be carried out and its frequency, and the control and measurement method to be used, etc.
Based on the points listed above, here is an example of the Construction Quality Control Plan:
As a conclusion, Construction quality control is a fundamental process for the success of a project. Clearly, starting as soon as possible with the controls will allow you to reduce risks, errors and unnecessary expenses of time and costs not foreseen in the initial project. In this specific sector, the maximum efficiency that can be sought during the Construction Quality control phase is obtained with BIM.
That’s why I recommend starting the design process after having dealt with the BIM model Validation phase using an ifc-checker. By doing so, an excellent level of quality in your final work will be guaranteed.