Best ways to start a QAQC program on new construction projects

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QAQC program for new construction projects

No matter the size or type of construction project, quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) should be top priorities.

Starting a quality assurance and quality control (QAQC) program on your new construction project is essential to ensuring that you deliver a successful project that conforms to the project design, meets customer requirements and complies with local building codes. The right program will provide confidence to not only your customers but your entire team.

This blog post will discuss the basics of starting a QC QA program on a new construction project and some best practices to follow throughout the quality management process.

 

Learn more about FTQ360'S 6 Essential QAQC Functions For Construction Projects

 

What is a QAQC Plan?

The quality assurance and quality control plan (QAQC plan) is a document that outlines the process for managing and executing quality assurance and quality control activities throughout the project lifecycle. The QAQC plan should include the following:

  • Customer Requirements and Expectations - This section of the QAQC plan should include a project-wide customer communication strategy, customer expectations and acceptance criteria, a communication log and a communication tracking matrix to help you track these items throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Quality Assurance Program - This section of the QAQC plan should include the high-level program for quality assurance on the project, including quality assurance roles, responsibilities, and authorities, quality assurance deliverables, quality assurance communication plan and quality assurance metrics.

  • Quality Control Program - This section of the QAQC plan should include the high-level program for quality control on the project, including quality control roles, responsibilities, and authorities, quality control deliverables, quality control communication plan and quality control metrics.

Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) in Construction

So, how do you apply QA and QC to the construction industry? Let's take the example of an ongoing project. Numerous activities are performed on the site daily, based on the different aspects that need coverage in the construction process. The project team has two quality management options:

  1. Conduct regular quality inspections through QC checks, analyze the data, and use it to eliminate or minimize potential problems throughout the project.

  2. Create a general quality assurance plan using data from past projects, maintain a record of all issues and perform a quality control check at the end of the project.

The problem with the more popular second approach is that it creates a disconnect between QA and QC and we need consistency with both. The typical result is that quality issues are not well defined, quantified and can only be mitigated after a quality control check.

The ideal situation is a quality management system that fuses quality assurance with quality control. Issues should be well-identified and analyzed and then used to create a workflow that systematically eliminates or minimizes them saving you time and money.

Essential Elements of a Solid QAQC Program in Construction

To get an idea of how to incorporate QA and QC in your construction project in line with the most up-to-date industry standards, let's look at the essential elements of a solid QAQC program.

Designated Quality Manager and QA/QC Team

The first step is to appoint a quality manager responsible for the quality management system on your construction project who understands the methods and procedures needed. The quality manager should develop a plan outlining all QAQC activities from start to finish.

The quality manager will also assemble a quality assurance/quality control team. This team should include representatives from each discipline on the project. The quality team's responsibility is to carry out the quality plan and report any issues to the quality manager.

More importantly, the quality manager should be independent of the construction team. It is a good idea to develop a project quality control organizational chart that shows the quality manager's position in relation to the project management team, construction team, and quality assurance/quality control team.

Streamlined Communications

Clear and concise communication is essential for quality assurance in construction. Therefore, the quality manager should establish a quality control system that includes regular meetings, progress reports, and a shared document repository.

This approach ensures that everyone on the project is aware of quality issues and can provide input on how to resolve them.

Quality Assurance Surveillance

A quality assurance surveillance plan should be in place to monitor subcontractor and supplier performance. This plan should include regular site visits, audits, and reviews of quality control records.

Quality assurance surveillance aims to identify quality issues early and prevent them from becoming problems.

Quality Criteria for Subcontractors and Suppliers

The quality manager should develop quality criteria that all subcontractors and suppliers must meet. These criteria should be based on the project's quality specifications and consistently applied to all subcontractors and suppliers.

Project Quality Specifications

The quality manager should develop quality specifications for the project. These specifications should be based on the project's quality requirements, design, building codes, and regulations and should be used to evaluate all subcontractors and suppliers, materials, and all work performed.

Inspections and Tests

Inspection and testing are essential for product quality control in construction. Develop a plan of all inspections and tests you intend to conduct during the project's duration. This should include regular inspections of materials, workmanship, and equipment. This plan should also include testing materials, soils, concrete, and so forth.

Create an inspection checklist of all items you intend to inspect to use a pre-made checklist that's appropriate for your project. Below is a screenshot of a sample concrete placement checklist from FTQ360 Quality Management Software.

QAQC inspections checklist

Nonconformance Control

Use a nonconformance control system to track and resolve quality issues. This system should include a procedure to log quality issues, identify defects, investigate the root cause, and take corrective action.

Project Completion Inspections

Perform a final inspection at the end of the project to ensure you have met all quality specifications. This inspection should include a review of all work performed, materials used, and equipment installed.

 

Learn more about FTQ360'S 6 Essential QAQC Functions For Construction Projects

 

Using FTQ360 Quality Management Software

FTQ360 is process-oriented quality management software for streamlining quality assurance and quality control in construction. This software provides a centralized quality control system you can use to manage quality assurance surveillance, inspections, and tests.

In addition, FTQ360 also provides a non-conformance control system for tracking and resolving quality issues. Some of the main features at a glance include:

  • Streamlined Communications

  • Pre-loaded inspection checklists

  • Consistent processes ensure the inspection and testing team conduct inspections the same way every time.

  • Comprehensive project quality plans

  • Built-in safety compliance and risk reduction

  • Powerful analytics via insightful performance dashboards and reports

  • Proactive defect reduction functions and tools

For more information on how FTQ360 can help you start a QAQC program on a new construction project, book a free demo or contact us for more details.

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