Quality control is the oriented process of management to achieve outline specified at the start of the project and it is about delivering quality through the established standards, verified it through standard testing procedures.
Quality control is the foundation of a project's success. It is an integral part of establishing promising relationships with client’s and increasing goodwill. It likewise characterizes terms of organization’s prosperity & reliability.
Numerous factors affect quality of construction projects out of which most significant are 6 M’s - Market, Men, Money, Management, Material & Method. This phenomenon influences quality at different stages & different levels in a development project. Defects in construction facilities generally lead to reconstruction which in turn results in increased cost & delayed timeline. In the worst case, it may lead to personnel injuries or fatalities at site.
Different Stages of quality management:
Image 1: Quality Management
Although quality control is one of the important criteria, it is yet to be benefitted from digital evolution. Quality control is still carried out using conventional methods which have numerous deformities in its process. Innovations & new businesses are using this opportunity for the potential benefit of the construction industry & are bringing about digital evolution.
This brings us to the two way of quality control on site - One is conventional practice that is used in day-to-day construction & other is quality control through digital solutions.
Conventional practice is widespread but has many defects while digital solutions can be tailor made as per our requirement and increase its effectiveness and efficiency.
Conventional way of Quality Control:
When a construction contract is awarded, management & inspection system are set up & are placed in the system to assure the quality is in accordance with the requirements of the project standard and specification. These frameworks helps site team to monitor the activities & identify problems along with identifying solution for the issue encounter during the process.
Conventional system used paper-based checklist system & visits from experts for on site quality control for special conditions. In this system, after a specific activity is completed, the quality checks are done through paper-based checklist & are subsequently assessed by experts. The main drawback here is it takes a long-time report management in case of QC fail. This results in wastage of resources cause to time taken in decision making.
Image 2: Drawbacks of Conventional QC system.
Another problems encountered during this process is altering reports & lack of accountability. These are huge problems & affect the unwavering quality of the organization. As the checklists and other resources to be filled for quality control are paper based, they can be modified effectively by anyone at any level. This create problem when problem are encountered and root cause analysis is done. Paper based checklists gets fixed & obsolete. These checklists are common for a specific item & cannot be changed as per different requirements. This tends to be a problem in projects with various kinds of predetermined things.
Data analysis to do root cause analysis cannot be done as structured data is not available. Also process cannot be improved as practical data generated on site through paper based system is impossible to compile.
Additionally, keeping up records for same work with multiple stages is not possible in conventional system. Different stages of activities are reviewed in isolated manner which lead to inaccurate decision making. The capacity of reports likewise is an issue as they are liable to being lost, stolen, damaged or misplaced.
These factors raise some serious questions on using conventional way of quality control for project owners. Even though the project is well-planned, failure in quality control leads to reconstruction & financial instability. The quality control using such outdated methods are high risk due to communication gap, language barrier & misplacement of important documents. Though the solution lies in front of us in the form of digital technology. Advancements in artificial intelligence can be used for development of quality control tools.
Quality Control through digital solution
Individuals have adopted digital technology in many forms. Automation & digital tools are being used from beginning of project to the very end. As we know quality control is an important aspect of the development process, there is need for digital tools in this field.
Digital quality control approach through digiQC is one of the way that can be adopted for on site quality control. It provides high efficiency through reliability & time saving capacity using its features.
Implementation of digiQC on site is very simple approach. First step includes understanding the organisation & it quality control approach. Quality control procedures are defined and experts are linked with digiQC process to review & provide optimal solutions.
In case of failure management authority are notified instantly and decision making can be done immediately as soon as problem encounter. The dashboard view in digiQC displays date project-wise, agency-wise and user-wise which guide management team where their focus is required. Also help management to identify process improvement and training need for their team. This helps in continual improvement of their team along with the process.
digiQC has adopted PDCA cycle in their system. PDCA is a workflow cycle that helps in smooth transition from one activity to another for continual improvement. It leads to strategic planning, tackling any abrupt changes & working towards continuous improvement.
Image 3: PDCA Cycle
digiQC helps at different stages of Quality control. During the planning stages it provides project owners & management personnel to set-up checklist as per project requirement and specification. During quality planning it helps set up quality guidelines for each activity that is to be executed on the site.
It has cloud-based storage which is accessible through mobile apps only by authorized personnel. It provides tamperproof real time inspections & photos.
Customized checklists are available & step wise inspection reports remain together. It has the feature of uploading drawings wherever required in the checklist. Also, audits can be made remotely & more frequently. This adds to the advantage that whenever QC fails, management facilities & project owners are notified instantly. It also helps in identification of responsible parties & the actions to be taken for rectification of the flaw.
DigiQC is cloud-based software that inspects on-site work in real time. It is available for both iOS & android users. digiQC has two platforms namely web module where data analysis can be done & mobile app from which real time quality inspection is done.
Web module is for set-up, monitoring & analysis to be used by project managers & executives for audits, quality checks & rectifying any problems occurring in the workforce. While on the other hand mobile apps are used by projector engineers & supervisors for onsite quality control.
digiQC provides an optimal solution through real time data collection & analysis. It makes data remotely accessible to every person in the commend chain & reduces possibility of rework & wastage. digiQC is a one step solution to better quality control & regulation on site.
The stated facts give proof that digital tools such as digiQC has great benefit over conventional systems. High quality output through these is setting higher expectations among clients & workforce. As people are becoming more aware they are now preferring higher standards of quality management to reduce rework & loss. Training requirements to use digital technologies is also given attention. This upgrade of the construction industry from using paper-based systems to digital tools is long overdue. It will lead to digitalization of the development sector along with enhanced construction quality & time management.