The internationally well-accepted institution for project management, PMI, has defined Quality as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements” in its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Quality management is a subset of project management that focuses on customer satisfaction and defects prevention.
‘Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy’ is the line said by Lao Tsu. To manage efficiently, adopting efficient and best practices is essential for project success. Hereafter discussed are the practice overview, requirements, and best practices involved in quality management of a construction project.
A Quality Management Plan should portray the authorities, strategies, instruments, and explicit procedures about guaranteeing project excellence, decreasing expense, and dispensing with pointless adjustments and additional changes.
A very important theory for quality management in construction is the PDCA concept. PDCA Cycle is also known as Deming’s cycle. It involves Planning, Doing, Checking, and Acting for continuous improvement.
- Planning – Developing a practical quality plan with a specific target of achieving the desired Quality.
- Doing – Implementing the plan as a solution and change.
- Checking – Reviewing and evaluating the planned and actual levels of Quality.
- Acting – Taking actions based on the review and past lessons learned.
Continuing this cycle until the required Quality is achieved is the basic fundamental practice in construction that provides the desired results in higher quality levels.
Best Quality Management Practices
Knowledge is of no value until you put it into practice. Specific well-established procedures in the market are being followed in the construction industry concerning quality management. Some of these best practices are discussed below:
Lack of documentation becomes a problem of acceptance. Good documentation of past activities and actions will help one down the road with unexpected liabilities. Therefore, all quality measures and metrics should be centrally documented with ease of access. This is only possible through a centralized quality control system.
2. Involving Stakeholders
Stakeholders are the people who can affect the project negatively or positively by direct or indirect means. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to involve the project participants and stakeholders in building and identifying quality standards and guidelines of the construction project.
3. Solicit Feedback
Feedback at continuous intervals from the project team, stakeholders, and customers regarding the site practices and the quality results of those practices along with the quality baselines is an effective practice to improve or maintain the quality standards on a construction project.
4. Being Proactive
An essential approach for better Quality is to focus on detecting and address of Quality during the project life-cycle before it becomes an issue. Being proactive at all times can make a massive difference in improving the quality of the project.
Quality Management is a continuous, iterative cycle directed through the project life-cycle. Monitoring the iterations is a crucial work that has to be looked after by the project manager of the particular construction project.
6. Tracking Trends
Continuous tracking of the project’s conformity to the defined quality standards, and representation of quality metrics data in terms of trends and graphical tools, over time, is an important activity for monitoring the trend and the quality standards in a construction project.
A timely review of quality standards and measures taken is an appreciated management practice that imparts good results in achieving desired quality standards. Depending on the project complexity, the interval and frequency of the review may vary but should be carried out without a miss.
8. Setting Thresholds
Establishing thresholds that identify when the corrective actions are to be taken at the beginning of the project and successfully conveying them to the project team will keep the project performance within the acceptable boundaries of Quality.
The essential practice is to analyze the impact of every process or step on the Quality of the element, program, or project. This will ensure the processes' results are within the construction project's quality requirements.
10. Taking quick actions
Knowing the situation, being proactive, and making quick decisions after consultation with the project team, can avoid escalation of the quality issues and sometimes minimize the possible impacts of these issues to a certain extent.
11. Archive quality
Archival of data and information consisting of the quality measures taken in previous successful projects is a must. To incorporate the lessons learned from historical experiences, archiving data is an essential practice that can remarkably impact the process of achieving the desired quality standards.
12. Disseminate Quality
Spreading the approach and the quality goal widely to the construction project team and stakeholders regarding the quality measures to be adopted can create a better working environment and encourage the importance of Quality and ethical practices to achieve the desired standards.
13. Continuous Improvement
Management is a continuous process, and to achieve strong results in terms of Quality, the project manager should continuously think of ways to improve the Quality of the overall project and constantly focus on bringing up quality standards by encouraging ethical practices in a construction project.
14. Triple Constraints
Quality has to be examined in correspondence to the three constraints of a project, i.e., scope, time, and cost. While managing Quality, it is essential to check and monitor the change in any one of the constraints due to Quality can affect the other two constraints of the construction project. This will help the project team analyze the costs and benefits of applying a level of Quality in a particular construction project.
Compromising quality practices can never lead to more profits and long-time success. It is not a trade of profit versus practices. The construction companies that model the best practices and upstanding principles end up as profitable companies because adopting the best approach is not what you do once you are good, but it’s what makes you suitable.
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Need more details on the subject of quality management? Spend 20 minutes of your time to go through the detailed blog on quality management practices, tools and techniques: Quality management in construction—An Overview