Quality assurance and quality control (QAQC) are essential to a successful construction project, as poor QAQC can lead to schedule delays, increased costs, and safety risks.
Improving QAQC begins by implementing a quality management system (QMS) that is explicitly tailored to your construction project. Why do we say this? Because construction quality control means the quality manager can manage the QAQC process effectively – and they can only do this by having an effective QMS.
Failure to implement a QMS often leads to:
- A variation of project construction quality control methods between projects, thus leading to inconsistent results.
- Missed or ignored inspections and tests on the construction project.
- Misunderstandings with customers, especially where they require a project-specific construction quality control plan and expect the contractor to adhere to it.
The QMS should include features such as clear expectations for the QAQC process, regular quality audits, and continuous improvement measures.
The quality management system should ideally be a cloud-based platform that allows for real-time monitoring and reporting on quality assurance and quality control metrics, including statistical process control, field duplicate samples, and QA processes. Additionally, the QMS should foster collaboration between key stakeholders, such as contractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, and others involved in the project's QAQC process.
The nine tips below relate to the features you should look for in a QMS system.
Ready-to-go Templates for Inspection Consistency
Turnkey templates are among the most important QAQC features to look for in a quality management system. These templates streamline inspection processes and ensure that inspections are conducted consistently across all projects.
Consistency is important because it helps minimize errors and avoid wasted time and resources.
With manual-based inspection processes such as paper-based inspection forms or spreadsheets, QAQC is fraught with inconsistencies due to human error. A QMS that utilizes electronic templates can help ensure consistency and accuracy in QAQC, ultimately leading to better project outcomes.
Inspections, Tests, and Quality Control Activities Should Always be Pre-planned before Starting a Project.
QAQC tools like checklists are process oriented and enable you to set up an inspection plan ahead of time, ensuring quality requirements are met. Testing and inspections should be conducted according to a continuous process, with a pre-determined schedule to minimize delays or other project setbacks. A good quality management platform should support the planning of QAQC activities in advance to prioritize tasks effectively.
Track QC Progress and Deviations Automatically
A QMS should provide real-time monitoring and reporting tools, so you can stay on top of progress and identify any areas that need improvement. This can be done using automatic alerts to deviations, progress dashboards that show upcoming and missed inspections, and other metrics. With this level of visibility, you can stay on top of QAQC progress and take action to resolve issues as they arise.
Use Inspection and Test Plan Templates to Set Up the Overall Project Inspection Plan.
One of the key features in a QMS is an Inspection and Test Plan (ITP) template that allows you to set up your entire QAQC process prior to starting work on a project. This includes establishing inspection plans, scheduling inspections, and determining quality control and quality assurance activities to be carried out. A QMS should also provide users with ready-to-use templates for inspections and quality control processes, helping to ensure consistency during QAQC activities.
A QMS Should Have an “Inspect by Plan” Mode for Project Inspectors
To further streamline quality assurance and quality control processes in mass production, QMS platforms should have an "inspect by plan" feature that allows inspectors to conduct assessments based on pre-defined plans and quality standards. This can help promote efficiency and minimize errors, ensuring that products meet the required quality standards. Additionally, QMS systems should provide progress-tracking tools and real-time reporting features so manufacturers can stay on top of progress, detect deviations or delays early on, and take action to resolve them in a timely manner.
Use Progress Dashboards to see Upcoming and Missed Inspections
Another key feature of a QMS is the ability to easily track activity using real-time dashboards. Tracking tools show QAQC progress, upcoming and missed inspections, key metrics such as quality indicators or KPIs, and more. With this level of visibility into QAQC performance, you can proactively identify issues and resolve them before they negatively impact your project.
Automate Monthly ITP Project Compliance Submittals
To ensure compliance and maintain regulatory requirements, QMS platforms should automate monthly ITP project submittals. This can be done using automated alerts to QAQC deviations or automatically generate quality reports that are submitted to your team or the quality control manager for review.
Create Reports that Are Accurate, Clear, and Easy to Understand
Finally, QMS platforms should provide a wide range of reporting options that make it easy to create accurate, clear, and easy-to-understand reports for the entire batch, including field samples. This can include QAQC analytics dashboards that allow you to see construction quality control performance at a glance, automated compliance reports that help you stay on top of construction quality control standards and regulations, or customizable reports that enable you to meet the needs of your team or management.
FTQ360 Quality Management System
Not all quality management systems can boast of having all the features above in a single platform. However, FTQ360 QMS brings together all of these quality assurance and quality control features and more to help you streamline your processes and ensure project success. Whether you need real-time QAQC monitoring, QMS reporting tools, or automated compliance submittals, FTQ360 can provide the platform you need to succeed.
To learn more about FTQ360 features, sign up for a free demo.