Quality Issues in Construction: Top 3 Warning Signs to be Aware of

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In the construction industry, time is critical, especially for construction projects. Construction companies must adhere to schedules and closing date commitments while delivering quality work. However, the fast-paced nature of construction can lead to shortcuts and mistakes by subcontractors and crews. Effective construction management is essential in this environment, as superintendents can't be on the jobsite at all times, overseeing every detail.

So how does a builder know if there are hidden quality issues lurking on their projects? For starters, look for these three warning signs and quality management systems that will allow you to stay ahead.


Jobs aren’t ready when the Subcontractor arrives as scheduled.

The phase under construction is behind schedule, and not ready for the scheduled work when the subcontractors arrives. This is a common complaint among subcontractors in the construction industry, and the first sign that the project is probably suffering from quality issues.

If the jobsite isn't ready as scheduled when the subcontractor arrives, several things may happen regarding quality control. The scheduled subcontractor may start work even if the appropriate steps for quality management haven't been taken, and simply find ways to “work around” the issues. This means finding creative ways to do the job, which creates mistakes and defects. Or, the scheduled subcontractor will leave, forcing the Superintendent to reschedule the job and further delay construction.

Your construction quality control procedures can't be subpar, otherwise, your entire project might be affected by them.

To uphold quality throughout a project's life cycle, standardized jobsite inspections are essential. These inspections, conducted by either the superintendent or the crew leader, act as crucial checkpoints to verify that each phase of the project achieves 100% completion, ready for the next subcontractor. Consistency is paramount, with inspections carried out at the same point in the construction process for every job. Deviating from this standard through random or spot checking introduces inconsistency and may compromise the project's quality at various stages of its life cycle and result in poor quality.

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Superintendents are dealing with the same error over and over.

Every quality manager knows that recurring problems kill productivity. Time is spent solving the problem and implementing a solution, only to have the exact same problem pop-up a few weeks later on a different jobsite. This irritating time waster is another warning sign of quality issues.

A communication system that is equally as consistent as your quality management system is critical to eliminate recurring problems. This can be achieved in a couple of ways. Take photos of the incorrect installation, as well as an example of the correct installation. Then share these photos with the Subcontractors and use for future training. These right and wrong examples are “Hot Spots” that can be added to checklists and inspections.

Learn more about the Six Essential QAQC Functions For Construction Projects

Subcontractors have large punch lists and multiple callbacks.

Like job sites that aren’t ready, callbacks are an expensive problem for the subcontractor and the builder. The subcontractor wastes time, manpower and dollars returning to the jobsite; the builder, loses schedule time, delaying the construction process. Punch lists also create errors and defects. The only way to eliminate punch lists is through standardization. This means that work is performed the same way on every jobsite so items aren’t missed or performed incorrectly.

Standardized checklists play a pivotal role in the construction process, offering clear instructions to enhance both quality assurance and quality control. These checklists act as crucial reminders for the crew, ensuring that critical steps are diligently followed before leaving the jobsite. The beauty of these checklists lies in their adaptability across various job sites, making them particularly advantageous for multiple crews.

Whether it's Crew A or Crew B working on the job, the consistency upheld through the same checklist of expectations contributes to an overall standard of quality. This meticulous adherence to quality standards not only safeguards against the use of low-quality materials but also reinforces the commitment to delivering a top-notch quality project.

 

Quality issues are a common threat in every construction project. Project managers must adjust to this and choose the best quality control program to truly deliver a best-in-class job and improve construction quality management. Builders can also look for these warning signs to tackle problems before they reach their customers.

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