When we talk about quality control, we are referring to a series of checks and balances, or the implementation of controlled steps, that are put in place to avoid problems and mistakes, as well as to maintain a safety culture and operate with efficiency and profitability. From the office to the field, quality control cannot be overlooked.
Quality control comes in many shapes and sizes, and can vary depending on the company, the size of the project, and the level of risk a certain situation may bring. When my company would build a commercial building, I checked the surveyor’s markers with my laser (transit years ago) for verification. Once the foundation was in, I would have the surveyor come out to the job site to verify the foundation was installed in the right place and at the right height. This is known as certifying the foundation and is a great example of quality control in the field. If there is a problem with the foundation, the time to make corrections is not when the roof is on.
Other measures of quality control on the site can include proper testing and sampling, such as soil testing before footings are cast in place and under floor slabs, as well as testing of concrete, compact fill materials, steel, and water to name a few.
Developing quality control manuals for certain procedures is critical. For instance, a properly developed welding quality control manual with employee certifications is another quality control measure for welding and structural steel connections. This manual should be available at the job site at all times and can satisfy any inspector’s visit. This would include procedure qualification records, welder performance qualifications, welding procedure specifications, and the welder’s continuity record log.
Developing a system to check critical measurements, quality of workmanship, housekeeping practices, and safety checklists is essential for quality control and efficiency.
Communication between the office and job site is important so nothing falls through the cracks. It is critical to communicate changes in plans and specifications, addenda, additional work authorizations, scheduling, daily job-site logs, scope of work, and inspection reports. Set up steps to ensure communications are timely, accurate, clear, and sent to the right people and clearly understood. Without this in place, the risk of expensive mistakes increases.
Quality control starts in the office and with management. If the office and management are organized and in order, the job site will most likely be organized and in order as well.
Setting up quality control processes can positively affect sales, estimating, finances, documents and records, preventive and corrective actions, equipment, employees, responsibilities of management, design control, and risk and mitigation.
In today’s world of technology, software and mobile apps can be great tools to use in quality control. With the help of scheduling and tracking progress and generating reports and punch lists, setting up proper quality control procedures helps construction companies stay relevant in a changing world. Yet, even with so much technology, it is our years of common sense experience that lead us to put quality control measures in place.
Reference for app features