Effective construction quality management is an organization-wide effort, not just the responsibility of the quality manager. Getting key stakeholders on board to implement a quality program requires effort from the beginning of the process. In your role as quality manager, the sooner you can gain support and build consensus with top management leaders, superintendents, project managers, and others, the easier it will be to roll out the systems and processes that support your quality program.
As the controllers of project budgets, project managers are important players in the quality program. If they don’t provide the resources needed to help the team achieve first-time quality, the project will be fighting an uphill battle right away. Fortunately, a quality program also supports project manager goals, so convincing them to invest in first-time quality is not as difficult as you might think.
Understanding the Role of Project Managers
Project managers are primarily concerned with budgets, timelines, and customer relationships. Since these elements are all connected, a skilled project manager needs to keep them all in balance. It will be easier for project managers to keep everything on track if systems are in place to prevent issues before they emerge. A quality program can help accomplish this.
How a Quality Program Can Support Project Manager Goals
Cost is typically the biggest sticking point for project managers with respect to a quality program. As the construction quality manager, it's up to you to demonstrate that first-time quality can actually save money on projects and contribute to better client satisfaction. Highlight the three following benefits of first-time quality as you build consensus with project managers.
Reduce Project Costs
Until proven otherwise, many project managers will view quality management as a cost center. However, first-time quality is more cost-effective than redoing work because fixing defects always costs more than building it right the first time. Not only is rework very costly, but it can cause delays for both the crew and other subcontractors.
A quality program can help project managers identify and hire the subcontractors and suppliers capable of performing quality work. And, once they are selected, your quality program can keep them on track for delivering first time quality, help recurring prevent issues, and keep the construction process under control, all of which contribute to lower costs.
Stay on Schedule
Redoing work that should have been correct the first time causes unnecessary delays in the project schedule. Quality management can help avoid this by preventing mistakes in the first place. During pre-construction, project managers and superintendents can identify errors that have happened before as well as concerns about potential issues, and add those items to inspection checklists. By highlighting these items with subcontractors and crews before work starts, the project is more likely to stay on schedule.
Increase Customer Confidence
Project managers can demonstrate quality to customers by discussing how the inspection process prevents problems and ensures that any mistakes are discovered and corrected before moving forward. Project managers are often in the unfortunate position of dealing with unhappy customers after something has gone wrong. A quality program allows them to be proactive and avoid these uncomfortable interactions.
Getting buy-in from project managers is very important when developing a quality management program, especially if the cost of the program is allocated to projects. If project managers don’t see the value of quality management, they won’t want to pay for the systems that help you achieve it. The cost is worthwhile, but quality managers must communicate this fact early in the process of building consensus in order to achieve buy-in.
If you have questions about how to gain support for a quality program in your organization, contact us today for more helpful tips.