Without quality management systems, construction projects might not meet building code requirements, leading to additional time and money spent on rework. Quality assurance and quality control are two distinct processes that work together to build quality management systems which help inspection processes run smoothly. By having proper quality management in place, you can be sure that buildings will be up to code and safe for users.
A quality assurance process is integral to any construction company that wants to maintain a good reputation. Quality control is also essential to ensure that all project outcomes and services meet customer expectations. Although both are essential for a business to run properly, there can be some confusion about the meaning of these terms and what sets them apart.
Quality control and quality assurance might sound like the same thing, but in construction, they refer to different aspects of quality management. Quality assurance creates a plan to meet quality requirements, while quality control enacts processes to fill those specific requirements. Quality control is often carried out within operations, but it cannot stand alone as an effective quality management system. Having both in place is essential for an effective quality management system on the construction site.
Quality management procedures are used in the construction industry to ensure that:
- Every project comes out the way that the customer expects
- There is uniformity in how quality and defect management policies are implemented
- The construction materials are of the highest standards of quality
- The company can build a good reputation based on the quality of the work it has already performed
- There are no complaints, issues or problems from customers after the project is done
Quality control is a set of procedures that project managers use to ensure that every construction stage is using materials and best practices that meet industry standards.
The importance of quality control
Although quality control is mostly about maintaining consistency throughout the project, there are a few situations where this isn’t necessary.
The main objective of quality control is conformance to existing design decisions, but there are exceptions. Occasionally, external factors such as unforeseen circumstances or incorrect design choices may necessitate a change in plans during construction. Even though these changes usually come from a place of wanting to improve the project, they still require careful thought and planning like any other redesign would.
Being rigidly set in your ways is not what quality control entails; rather, it’s about ensuring that a project meets the client’s high standards every step of the way. Those who can memorize this will probably get more projects down the road because they takes their clients’ wishes into account and always aim to fulfill them perfectly.
What is quality assurance?
The primary goal of quality assurance is to establish and maintain policies that ensure safety in the workplace. Quality assurance experts are trained to identify potential hazards and minize risks. By implementing quality assurance measures, we create a safer work environment for everyone.
Quality assurance pays more attention to the procedures and systems used to create a product than the final result. That’s why auditing is such a vital part of this job, especially quality auditing, which evaluates an organization’s whole quality management system.
In the construction industry, if crucial processes are overlooked at the beginning of a project, it can cause major problems later on. To avoid this, quality assurance methods have been put into place.
What makes both quality control and quality assurance necessary?
It’s important to remember that exceptional quality control and quality assurance policies can help reduce the company’s exposure to liability. Construction companies are sued or engaged in litigation frequently – and even though the work might have been completed and signed off by a client years ago, they can still be held responsible for any hidden or unnoticed defects. Quality control and quality assurance are important because without them, a small detail could derail an entire project. It can feel like there’s no escape from lawsuits, but proactive quality control is one way to reduce risk.
Construction managers can reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit by ensuring that the quality of their work is excellent throughout the entire process. Quality control and assurance steps help to prevent poor quality designs or work from getting through, and these steps act as a protective measure, giving construction managers peace of mind.
Although it may take more time to do quality control and quality assurance, the benefits of preventing any potential losses from a lawsuit make quality control and quality assurance worth the extra steps.
When should quality management be implemented on a construction project?
Quality control is responsible for ensuring that all designs meet the required standards set by quality assurance. This includes inspecting and testing materials, signing off on proposed designs and revisions, and more. Quality control takes over during the design and planning phases to make sure everything meets the necessary requirements.
Construction: During the build
The head contractor is in charge of making sure the work quality meets standards during construction. The quality assurance manager will provide them with the relevant documentation and information. Quality control officers or inspectors test on set schedules, so it’s often up to the head contractor or project manager to confirm that everything looks good. If the head contractor notices an issue, they are required to follow quality assurance protocols and fix it. By introducing more training or refresher courses, work quality can be lifted. As a result, the quality control officer will be able clear work on the project – thereby reducing amount of rework needed and keeping the project within budget and schedule limits.
After construction finishes, it is the quality control officer’s job to inspect the building. The inspection will list any parts that aren’t up to code as well as those that are. This completes the final steps of the quality assurance procedures. The quality assurance manager will have procedures in place for every part of the project and building in case it doesn’t pass inspection. If the building passes, then both officers can work on next project.
Quality control and quality assurance may be different, but they both play an important role in ensuring safe buildings. A quality management system should ensure that both aspects are working together to produce the best results.