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What is Quality assurance in construction?

Quality Assurance in construction is the set of planned activities aimed at guaranteeing the quality requirements of the project. Find out why it’s so important!

If you are a professional in the construction sector, you may know well that creating works that meet the quality requirements set at the beginning of the project is a fundamental aspect. Construction Quality Management deals with using verification procedures or tools such as an ifc checker, which allow you to run quality checks directly on the IFC file before the construction even starts.

In a previous article, we saw one of the aspects of construction quality management, namely Construction Quality Control (QC). But are you aware that there is another aspect to Quality Management? This is Quality Assurance (QA).

Let’s take a closer look at what it means and how it differs from quality control (QC).

What is Quality Assurance in Construction?

Quality Assurance (QA) represents, precisely, the level of quality assurance offered in the AEC sector through a set of planned and systematic activities. It ensures that the quality of the project is integrated into the front-end rather than the back-end of the project itself.

The ASQ – American Society for Quality – considered one of the world’s leading authorities on quality, defines the term “guarantee” and consequently the “Quality Assurance” as follows:

  • Assure: to make sure or certain .
  • Quality Assurance: the planned and methodical activities implemented in a quality system in order to guarantee that requirements for a given product or service are met.

Therefore, Quality Assurance:

  • provides a documented process by which the quality requirements are met;
  • establishes a benchmark;
  • is systematic and reproducible;
  • provides a means of continuous improvement.

In the construction sector, therefore, reputation and trust are fundamental for continuous growth. The best and most transparent way to build and maintain the trust of your customers is to guarantee the promised quality. For this purpose, the so-called Quality Assurance Programs (QAP) exist. They can be defined as a set of activities and initiatives that work together to ensure that a project is carried out according to a predefined quality standard, that a product is installed correctly or that a specific service is provided to the owner of the building according to the highest industry standards.

Quality Assurance Programs (QAPs) follow the principles dictated by ISO 9002 and incorporate a wide range of initiatives, which a construction industry can follow to ensure the correct installation of a product or system.

What are the differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

The fundamental difference betweenQuality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) is that QA as “quality assurance” is focused on the prevention of any design defects while QC, as “quality control” is focused on the identification of any errors, in order to clearly correct them in time and at limited costs.

We could identify Quality Assurance as an agreement, stipulated even before the opening of the construction site, in which the parties agree on the level of quality to be achieved for that specific project. As an agreement,  QA establishes the supervisory process to be followed, identifying methods, principles, standards and strategies for the pursuit of the set quality objective.

On the other hand, QC represents a management system that controls and guarantees the quality of all materials and all work on site.

What Quality Assurance and Quality Control share is the ultimate goal: to ensure the realization of a work that respects the set quality levels.

Quality Assurance vs Quality Control

Why is QA important in the construction world?

In the construction sector, Quality management is an important and a delicate topic. In order to meet the needs of customers and those of the design team in terms of quality of materials and processes – it is necessary that the Quality Management process is supported by the right tools of Quality Assurance and Quality Control.

So, on one hand QC is essential to carry out on-site controls related to the quality of materials and processes. On the other hand, nothing would be possible without prior planning of methods, strategies and standards to follow and respect. That’s what QA is for and why it is so important.

In order to carry out the right quality controls, it is essential to have a vedemecum to follow. The Quality Assurance provides the guidelines – that include the strategy and above all the final qualitative objectives. This phase is preparatory to a good Quality Control.

The synergy between QA and QC is what ensures that a finished product is of quality, through a design process that respects budgets, times and that meets the customers’ needs.

To make a top-quality product, you need to start with a top-quality project! In this sense, my advice is to approach BIM and use the tools usBIM.checker and  usBIM.clash, which will allow you to check and validate all the data of an IFC model and be sure to achieve the design quality you have set!