Quality in the construction industry is an integral factor in growing a business, maintaining a reputation, and generating profits.
But not everyone can manage and control the quality of their projects. Research shows that over half (54 percent) of construction defects "can be attributed to human factors like unskilled workers or insufficient supervision," and 12 percent are based on material and system failures.
How to Ensure Construction Quality Control
1. Get The Right Workers
Research shows that skilled trade workers are complicated to find, "with 80 percent of contractors reporting last year that they had difficulty hiring craft workers... and 35 percent said they believed it would become harder in the coming year."
It is essential to have the most qualified players on the teams during the initial stages. Assigning the suitable profiles to the right jobs and ensuring your supervisors or forepersons are clear on the quality expectations is integral.
Ensure that the entire team understands the project's quality requirements. This begins when workers first attend a project induction at the start of the project. Apart from safety, this induction should aim to explain that poor quality won't be accepted.
2. Take Help from Technology
Research by KPMG identified three segments of the construction industry when it comes to adapting technology:
• Tip 20 percent: Innovative leaders
• Middle 60 percent: Followers
• Bottom 20 percent: Behind the curve
In their Global Construction Survey 2019, KPMG concluded that the need to adopt the technology by the bottom 20 percent "is considerably more urgent, if not existential."
Doing this may seem intimidating for some construction companies, but digital technologies are evolving the construction industry. Some common fears are convincing their workforce to get onboard and being concerned that it would be challenging to adopt, among other reasons.
The most important thing to be mindful of is that the technology you choose has five-star customer support, so you're not left hanging once you have questions or need help.
3. Use the correct Materials
Once you've got your contract and understand what your customer expects, make sure you don't compromise on materials. Ensure all materials incorporated into the structures and buildings meet the standard requirements and the project specifications. Make sure that you order materials of the correct specifications.
For example, confirm your electrician knows what sort of Romex to bring for the specific job they're doing. Check the materials once they arrive to ensure that they aren't damaged and of the correct specification.
Reject items that are damaged or aren't correct and advise the supplier immediately, then mark the things clearly as being non-compliant so that they aren't accidentally used.
4. Ensure Safety and Compliance
Apart from keeping your workers safe, proper safety and compliance policies prevent inadequate work or improper work from being done on your project. For instance, a tired worker is more likely to require a shortcut here and there - or maybe forget something entirely - so use a reliable time-tracking method to make sure they take the specified breaks and don't do excessive overtime.
5. Check and Check Again
The old saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself," can't apply to owners/managers on-site all the time. You have got your hands full with many other things to do, from paperwork to new job estimates.
It has to be ensured that your supers and supervisors understand what exactly is expected out of them because if you're not there to examine each stage, you'll end up with construction deficiencies which will need even more work in the following years
That means it's worthwhile to check in now and again to make sure everything is the way it should be and address issues that may have slipped through the cracks.
Keep communication in mind, as well. Managing subs could be a significant challenge, so having proper contact and checks and balances in place will help a lot. Ensure you've sent the appropriate needs and specifications to your sub(s).
For example, if your framing team sets the joists at a particular measurement, the plumbing contractor would need to understand so that they can provide the proper mounts for drains that run under the house. You would not want them to show up with the wrong materials and be forced to delay the project.
6. Protect Completed Work
It's the bane of a contractor's existence: Weather. But things happen, and we can't control them. Read this blog post to understand the role of the general contractor in construction.
Where possible, surfaces that may easily be scratched or damaged should be covered by timber, cardboard, or other materials until the work is complete. Products that arrive in plastic wrappings should be left in place until the section is ready for handover.
7. Avoid Scope Creep
Even some of the industry's most prominent companies can get caught in a frenzy with scope creep. When your client makes change after change before you recognize it, the project's scope has ballooned to an unreasonable level, and you've got workers cutting corners and using lower-quality materials. Talk with all of the stakeholders about the content and check that everyone seems to be on board.
It's essential to know the client's quality standards and specifications. These standards should usually be clearly stated within the construction document and the project specifications and drawings.
8. Audit and Test
From time to time, tests must be done as a part of the contractor's quality management plan or as a part of the project's or the client's quality management plan. These tests are to make sure that items or structures are constructed correctly. Sometimes tests fail. This implies that the work must be redone.
What's essential is to designate the correct people to the excellent quality control, so you don't have a confusing workflow that has the incorrect people auditing the wrong things at the bad times.
9. Repair Deficiencies Immediately
As mentioned with testing and auditing, confirm you've got a concrete policy to deal with deficiencies, whether level of expertise or inadequate materials. If left too long, deficiencies will become ignored and lead to more work afterward.
10. Have Supplier and Vendor Expectations from the beginning
One of the leading causes of projects running overtime is the reliable delivery of supplies and materials. Ensure you work with vendors and suppliers you're acquainted with and who have an honest reputation.
Before proceeding with them, ensure that they'll be ready to fulfill the requirements you'll have for your project to the end.
While not all things can be controlled, there should be a process indicating what to do in the event of a delay, and your vendors and suppliers should have clearly understood what's expected.
Construction quality management is as simple as the above-discussed points. The method might not be elaborate but must be efficient enough to avoid quality-related problems and reduce the quantity of repair and rework on the construction projects. Some people use continuous improvement methodology for a robust quality management plan. Any one of these tips can bring significant improvements to the quality of the project, but abiding by all of them can get tremendous results in the company's favor.
digiQC is undoubtedly the best solution for all of your quality management-related issues. From documentation to checklists to inspections, everything is handled through it.
Want to understand more about the QC software? CLICK HERE to schedule a demo.
Read more on the different methodologies and techniques you can adopt with digiQC from the blog: Quality management in construction—An Overview