Best Quality Management Practices in Construction Industry

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 the prevention of defects.

‘Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy’ is the line said by Lao Tsu. To manage efficiently, adopting efficient and best practices is important for project success. Hereafter discussed are the practice overview, requirements, and best practices involved in the process of quality management of a construction project.

The PDCA Concept

A Quality Management Plan should portray the authorities, strategies, instruments, and procedures that are explicit to 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. It involves Planning, Doing, Checking, and Acting for continuous improvement.

best quality management practices in construction
  • Planning – Developing an effective 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 till the required quality is achieved, is the basic fundamental practice in construction which provides the desired results in the form of higher quality levels.

Best Quality Management Practices

Knowledge is of no value until you put it into practice. There are certain well-established practices in the market that are being followed in the construction industry with regard to quality management. Some of these best practices are discussed below:

1. Documentation

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.

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 the process of building and identifying quality standards and guidelines of the construction project.

3. Solicit Feedback

Taking 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 standards of quality on a construction project.

4. Being Proactive

An important 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 huge difference in the improvement of the quality of the project.

5. Iterative

Quality Management is a continuous, iterative cycle that is directed all 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 essential activity for monitoring the trend and the quality standards in a construction project.

7. Reviewing

A timely review of quality standards and quality measures taken is an appreciated management practice that imparts good results in terms of achieving desired standards of quality. 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.

9. Analyzing

The essential practice is to analyze the impact of every process or step on the quality of the element, program, or project as a whole. This will ensure the end results of the processes are within the quality requirements of the construction project.

10. Taking quick actions

Knowing the situation, being proactive, and taking quick decisions after consultation with the project team, can avoid escalation of the quality issues and can 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. In order to incorporate the lessons learned from historical experiences, archiving data is an essential practice that can make a remarkable impact on the process of achieving the desired quality standards.

12. Disseminate Quality

Spreading the approach and the quality goal widely in the project team and stakeholders of the construction project, regarding the quality measures to be adopted, can create a better working environment and encourage the importance of quality and the 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 focus constantly 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 important 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 to analyze the costs and benefits of applying a level of quality in the particular construction project.

Conclusion

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 the profitable companies because adopting the best practice is not the thing which you do once you are good, but it’s the thing that makes you good.

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