In order to understand Quality Assurance (QA), we have to look at its fundamental concept – quality. Some phrases construction professionals use to define construction quality include “fitness for use”, “conforming to requirements” and the “pursuit of excellence”. If we wanted a general definition, we could say that construction quality means meeting or exceeding the client's and building code requirements.
How does this apply to the built environment? If we say that quality means “meeting client’s requirements”, then quality in building projects would be constructing buildings which will be safe and stand the test of time. The safety, however, should encompass not only the finish product but also the whole construction process.
Quality Assurance is part of a construction company's Quality Management system. Its purpose is to have established quality control processes to assure that the project's quality requirements will be met. A well-run QA Program provides confidence to a project's stakeholders, both internally to the management and externally to the clients and building inhabitants.
Quality Assurance also saves time and money, it is part of the effort to use resources optimally, preventing scenarios in which major mistakes or defects are discovered well after they are covered up during the project's construction.
A concise description of QA could be: ensuring the delivery of quality product and preventing quality issues by implementing planned and systematic activities over the course of the project. What is important to note here is that quality assurance consists of activity plan incorporated in the construction project. Quality assurance steps are done ‘before the fact’, not after it. An example would be an initiative that assures a certain product gets properly installed. Another example is assuring that a specific service will be provided to the property owner to the highest standards.
Quality assurance should be:
It should also establish benchmarks and provide means of continuous improvement. Here are some construction project aspects included in quality assurance.
The design will have to meet requirements as set forth by the local laws and building codes. The ground will also have to be tested to ensure it is fit for the design.
Materials that will be used should be outlined and objectively scrutinized to assure the contractor and the owner that they pass safety and performance standards. The material or component's performance should be certified by a number of standard bodies and verified through testing. Some of these authorities are the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Construction Specifications Institute.
There should be a QA/QC inspection team dedicated to ensuring that safety and building code standards are met when it comes to the construction process, equipment, suppliers and materials.
Alongside a team dedicated to quality control inspections, a trained construction workforce is another aspect of a Quality Assurance program.
Workers can be taught what to pay attention to when it comes to installing certain products and some rules-of-thumb to verify solid workmanship, so that worksite standards are taken high above the baseline. Training and meetings in which issues and dilemmas can be discussed with the workers can go far in mitigating risks.
Xpera Group is here to support your project and help you create a better built environment. With a diverse range of services and a vast team of more than 50 experts from virtually every field surrounding construction, we are confident that we can find a way to help you reach your goals. Reach out to us today and find out more about our construction quality assurance services.