Quality control – it’s the foundation of any construction project’s success, impacting every phase of the build.
It goes hand in hand with cost control, safety improvements, and better project outcomes. Unfortunately, construction quality control comes with many challenges. Let’s explore those challenges and how you can overcome them in your organisation.
1. Lack of standardised training & processes
It’s no secret that there’s a lack of skilled trade workers right now, which presents many problems in the industry. You can’t have quality without qualified labour.
This means more than having a team of trained professionals; you must assign the right workers to the right tasks and ensure your site supervisors clearly understand the project’s quality expectations.
Give your foreman the authority to train and manage contractors and subs in a way that encourages them to adhere to those quality expectations.
Before you even begin breaking ground, ensure the entire team understands the quality requirements—holding a preconstruction meeting to discuss the project not only comes with safety benefits, but it’s also the best time to lay some ground rules; for example, that you won’t tolerate or accept poor quality.
Set high quality standards from the start, provide the necessary training before beginning work, and encourage each person to take pride in their tasks.
2. Inconsistent communication between stakeholders
There’s no better pair than quality control and communication. If you don’t have a consistent, effective way for stakeholders to communicate about compliance, expectations, policy, and safety, quality control becomes an endless process.
Not to mention the cost pressures that can result from miscommunication regarding change orders.
You need to make quality control part of every discussion about project expectations and involve everyone from project managers to subs to ensure everyone knows what you expect from them.
Determine how frequent communications should be, what must be communicated, and how everyone involved will keep in touch—like with a digital communication platform.
You can use construction communication software to connect everyone and ensure better quality control processes with real-time collaboration that reduces mistakes and misunderstandings.
Another benefit of using an app like LB Aproplan to streamline your communication is the ability to standardise repetitive processes, helping you prevent errors, flag issues early, and maintain a standard way of performing tasks across projects to ensure a high level of quality.
3. Inadequate documentation
Poor document management is a massive detriment to a project’s quality, leading to defects, delays, rework, and overruns. In fact, inadequate documentation costs construction companies tens of billions annually in the US alone.
Other than wasted labour time and communication delays, one way that poor documentation practices affect quality control on construction is by slowing down responses to change orders.
Almost every project will have various change orders during design and building—there’s no efficient way to keep up with all of those requests with manual processes. Even a short delay can lead to significant quality issues, rework, and waste.
To combat this, you want your documentation practices to:
- Ensure each document is easily searchable
- Store documents in a way that’s accessible to every stakeholder
- Include everything (designs, contracts, RFIs, punch lists, etc.)
- Keep access open throughout the project from beginning to end
The most important part, though, is having all of your project documents in a centralised control system. Managing your documents with a digital construction tool leads to better quality control, project outcomes, and collaboration.
You might also like: Why you should start sharing your documents in the cloud
Best practices for quality control in construction
While your quality control processes might look a little different for each project, there are a few best practices you can follow every time to ensure better quality:
- Use a quality assurance checklist to ensure a thorough, precise inspection. Distribute a punch list to the team and hold pre-task discussions on project expectations.
- Create a site inspection plan to check if it meets the project’s quality acceptance standards. Put someone in charge of this inspection plan and hold them accountable.
- Set quality expectations early to keep everyone on the same page. Discuss coding standards, client expectations, and how to complete the project without errors.
- Follow safety and compliance requirements to ensure appropriate work. For example, fatigued employees who skip breaks are more likely to make mistakes.
- Review and revise your quality inspection results to ensure that problems don’t repeat. Discuss what happened and how to prevent the same issue from happening again.
Take control of your construction quality control processes
Technology in our industry is changing quickly, and we need to adopt new solutions to improve our existing quality control processes.
Digital apps and platforms can go a long way towards improving construction quality control by enhancing productivity and efficiency.
With the right tools, you can address these common challenges in quality control and implement processes to ensure all of your projects meet your quality standards.