Quality assurance is a vital, but often overlooked facet of construction. If you’re finding that manually tracking and storing construction quality assurance (QA) documentation is unreliable and taking up too much time, know that you’re not alone. Many complex projects suffer from the same issue.
By shining light on the needs quality assurance teams have, we can see how important adopting software to streamline the process from start to finish. This not only saves time and money but increases efficiency metrics as well. To get you started considering which quality assurance software best suits your company’s needs, let’s take a look at some must-have capabilities:
Quality assurance fundamentals for starting right
If you want to manage construction quality and actually see results that stick, it’s important to follow a few key steps. Consistency is key in construction quality assurance and high-quality build completion.
Clear and concise documentation
Without clear, concise, well-documented directions for your construction project, the final project outcome will not meet the desired quality standards. There are many ways to do this, but some document management methods produce better results than others. As a project manager or head contractor, you must take time to develop a detailed and documented plan for each system and assembly, including intricate details and illustrations. Doing so beforehand saves time and frustration later on down the road.
After you establish these documented expectations, they become the foundations that your company builds from. You must be clear when referencing these standards in your scopes of work and building plans so that there is no confusion later on. When a trade partner or subcontractor signs a contract with you, make sure to communicate the standards thoroughly and get their agreement before moving forward. Once construction starts, make sure to hold them accountable to those standards.
Although most trade partners are appreciative when you help them communicate with their subcontractors and field teams, there’s a good chance they likely work for other builders that do things differently. To ensure everyone is (literally) on the same page, clear communication and detailed instructions (preferably bilingual, if needed) are very helpful. Construction teams can more easily learn standards by creating mock-up assemblies on the jobsite that demonstrate all components, layers, material interfaces, etc. in a cut-away fashion. Newer crew members can study the mock-ups to see how an assembly should be put together and with which materials, while teams returning to your job after working for another builder can use them as a refresher course.
If you want to ensure quality, you need to inspect what you’re getting periodically. However, it takes more than just hiring a third-party company to do this effectively. Your project managers or construction supervisors must be closely familiar with your standards and hold trades accountable to them at all times. One way to help with this is by creating quick reference checklists (either in print or digital format) of the set construction standards. This way, the construction staff can quickly evaluate each assembly and identify any areas that require attention.
The construction standards act as a guidebook on how every project should be built to maintain consistency. There’s no better method of teaching tradespeople their responsibility in executing these standards than making them redo work that does not meet the required expectation, as it costs both time and money. Do not let anything slide by without meeting these standards. If you want your construction company to always deliver consistent results, start by clearly communicating your expectations and enforcing them with a rigorous inspection protocol. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. With consistency comes quality, so if you expect high standards from your team, they will eventually meet (and exceed) those expectations.
In order to get the most out of construction quality assurance software, there are a few key tips that should be kept in mind after establishing the fundamentals. These include:
1. Set clear quality assurance objectives and benchmarks
This will help you track progress and ensure that quality standards are being met on a regular basis. Additionally, quality assurance objectives should be specified for each project phase, so all stakeholders can have an understanding of what is expected throughout the entire process.
2. Utilize detailed quality control plans
Quality control plans should outline every step of the quality assurance process, as well as any procedures or protocols required at each stage. This will help ensure that all aspects of quality assurance are being adhered to and that no important steps are missed or overlooked.
3. Leverage quality assurance analytics
Quality assurance software can provide a wealth of data and insights into the quality of construction projects, allowing for more informed decision-making. Utilizing quality assurance analytics helps ensure that quality standards are consistently being met and potential problems are identified early on, before they become costly to fix.
4. Develop quality assurance templates
Templates should be created for all quality assurance processes, so that each job can be conducted systematically and efficiently with minimal mistakes or room for error. This will also help you save time by streamlining quality assurance processes across multiple projects.
5. Maintain detailed records
Keeping detailed records is essential in order to properly document your quality control process and track quality assurance progress. This will ensure that quality guidelines are being met and any deviations from quality standards can be identified quickly.
6. Improve quality assurance processes
Quality assurance software should be used to constantly review quality control protocols and make necessary adjustments or improvements over time as needed. By continually evaluating quality assurance procedures, you can ensure that quality standards remain high across all construction projects.
By following these tips, you can maximize the utility of your construction quality assurance software and guarantee that quality standards are consistently being met across all projects. With the right quality assurance process in place, you can rest assured knowing that all aspects of your construction job is up to code and compliant with industry regulations.