6 Tips to Simplify Your Construction Quality Control Plan
You certainly don’t want to leave something out of your quality control plan that's needed or will get your plan rejected. On the other hand, you don’t want to add any unnecessary complexity either.
For starters, you’ll want to remove procedures that your client doesn’t actually require... And (more importantly) that you don’t intend to do.
Next, you’ll want to remove unnecessary detail in your quality control plan that can work against you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should try to get away with the bare minimum level of construction quality controls.
However, I am saying that you should consider the different levels of quality controls suitable for different projects and modify your construction quality control plan accordingly. The goal is to promise the right level of quality controls to make everyone happy -- you, your client, and your workers.
Whether you’re purchasing a construction quality control plan template or developing your plan from scratch, you’ll want to pay attention to these six Dos and Don’ts:
- Don’t say your Quality Manager performs ALL your inspections.
The role of your quality manager is to provide oversight and to validate that your quality processes are working. Construction superintendents will do most of your inspections. So, make sure to specify which inspections your quality manager will do and which ones your superintendents will do.
- Do customize the list of records you’ll keep based on each project’s requirements.
Some projects are short and simple, and therefore, don’t require a high level of record keeping. On the other hand, some projects do warrant detailed record keeping. You should modify your construction quality control plan to reflect the record keeping needs of each project.
- Don’t submit every form you own.
Here again, it’s important that you only submit the forms you need for each specific project. Otherwise, your client will expect you to carry out all the procedures connected with the forms you include in your quality control plan.
- Do limit the detail on your list of Quality Controlled Construction Tasks.
A good practice is to list all the phases of construction (i.e. definable features of work) where you do an inspection at the completion of the task. It’s not necessary to include all the phases of construction that are on your project schedule.
- Don’t add too much detail to your inspection forms.
Inspection forms are for recording the completion of inspections. They’re records that the inspections took place, not records of your quality control standards. A good practice is to include about a dozen of your most important checkpoints, not a long list of minor construction details. Adding too many checkpoints can complicate matters for you.
- Don’t address each punch item as a nonconformance.
Most punch items are work in process corrections and not nonconformances. They’re easily corrected and don’t require the same level of quality controls as nonconformances. Your quality manual should differentiate work in process corrections from nonconformances. I suggest you handle items as nonconformances if they meet BOTH of these criteria: (a) items that do not meet project quality standards; and (b) only items remaining after the final task inspection has been completed.
The key to managing costs and liabilities is to provide the appropriate level of quality controls for each project. Your quality control plan is an extension of your contract and thus, a legally binding document. Promise too little and your client won’t be happy. Promise too much and you won’t be happy. Promise just the right amount and everyone is happy.
About the Author - Ed Caldeira is founder of First Time Quality, LLC, specializing in submittal-ready construction QA/QC plan templates and custom quality plans as well as construction quality inspection and punchlist software.