Construction QA/QC Terms & Definitions

Companies and government agencies often use different terms when requesting quality plan documentation. Below are the terms and definitions that we use.

ISO 9000 - principles for quality assurance and standards for rigorous conformance to specifications. For construction, ISO 9001 ensures strict conformance to the proper use of building materials in conformance to building codes, engineered designs, and manufacturer's specifications.

Project Quality Plan - a document setting out the specific quality objectives, practices, resources and sequence of activities relevant to a particular contract or project.

Quality Manual - your most important document. It explains your company's quality assurance and quality control practices, but does not include project-specific information. A quality manual contains documents consisting of company policies for quality management methods and also includes standard operating procedures to supplement the quality manual policies with work steps.

Quality Plan - a document used to communicate quality assurance and quality control methods, policies, and procedures. A quality plan includes a quality manual, project plan, standard operating procedures, and submittal forms and is often a required part of a construction bid or contract submittal.

  • quality assurance plan - it is typical to see the term quality assurance plan used in regard to software development, health care, and banking. Where as, quality control plan is more typically used in construction. Whether you clients ask for a quality assurance plan, a quality control plan or a QA/QC plan, they mean the same thing and our quality control plans will satisfy their requirements.
  • quality control planwe use the terms quality assurance (QA) plan and quality control (QC) plan interchangeably.

Quality Program - we use the terms quality program, quality system, and quality management system synonomously. 

  • quality assurance program - includes the activities you perform to assure quality such as planning and verifying that quality activities were carried out. These are the practices that you write down in your quality manual. 
  • quality control program - includes the implementation of quality controls quality such as inspections and tests and the documentation thereof. However, the terms quality assurance an quality control are often used interchangeably. 

Standard Operating Procedures - detail the work steps you use to carry out your quality methods and policies.

Submittal Forms - any forms that you submit to your client. They can be part of your project quality plan or forms you submit during the project such as drawings, product sheets.

An Alphebetical Listing of Additional QA/QC Terms

Quality System Audit – An audit determines if the quality system is performing as documented and whether the quality system is implemented.  An audit consists of a systematic and objective examination to determine whether quality management activities and associated results comply with planned arrangements, and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and suitably to achieve set objectives.

Conformance – An item meets the requirements of relevant specifications, contracts or regulations; also the state of meeting the requirements.

Contract Project Quality Control Plan – A document setting out the specific quality objectives, practices, resources and sequence of activities relevant to a particular Contract or project.

Corrective Action – a specific action to resolve a known condition or conditions, which adversely affect quality. Corrective Action must addresses remedial action to correct the known discrepancy whereas preventive action prevents reoccurrence based on the identified root cause.

Definable feature of work – A task that is separate and distinct from other tasks and has separate control requirements. A task could be identified by different trades or disciplines, or it could be separate phases of work by the same trade. At minimum each section of the specifications is a task, however, there are frequently more than one definable feature under a particular section.See Task.

Disposition – A plan or statement describing the manner in which a nonconformance is to be resolved.

Inspection and Test Plan – A record of requirements, frequency and responsibilities for activities such as measuring, examining, testing and gauging one or more characteristics of a product or service, and comparing the results with specified requirements to determine conformity to the Contract Specification. Inspections and tests are detailed in the applicable procedures and results recorded on forms appended to these procedures.

Inspection - The act of examining, measuring, or testing to determine the degree of compliance with requirements.

Mock-up Sample – an assembly or portions of an assembly constructed on the project site that establishes standards by which the ensuring work can be judged. Mockups are constructed to verify selections made under sample submittals; to demonstrate aesthetic effects and, where indicated, qualities of materials and execution; to review coordination, testing, or operation; to show interface between dissimilar materials; and to demonstrate compliance with specified installation tolerances. Mockups are not Samples.

Nonconformance – Non-fulfillment of a specification which affects form, fit or function and renders the quality of an item or service unacceptable or indeterminate in regard to meeting all relevant specifications.  Examples of nonconformance include: physical defects, test failures, incorrect or inadequate documentation or deviation from prescribed processing, inspection or test procedures.

Nonconformance Report – A record of the identification, and resolution of a nonconformance.

Project Quality Control Plan - A document setting out the specific quality objectives, practices, resources and sequence of activities relevant to a particular Contract or project.

Quality Assurance - Activities, actions, and procedures performed before and during execution of the Work to guard against defects and deficiencies and substantiate that proposed construction will comply with requirements.

Quality Audit - A formal review/investigation to determine whether the quality characteristics of a product or service meet the defined quality criteria.

Quality Control – the performance of tasks which ensure that construction is performed according to plans and specifications

Quality Manual – Documents consisting of company policies for quality management methods instituted as a company.  Standard operating procedures supplement the quality manual policies with work steps.

Records - Documentary evidence of the specification of individual items, standards of work, and compliance with the Quality Management System requirements.

Reject – A disposition of a nonconformance for an item unsuitable for its intended purpose and economically or physically incapable of being reworked or repaired.

Repair – A disposition of a nonconformance for an item acceptable for its intended use even though it is not restored to a condition which meets all specification requirements.

Rework – A disposition of a nonconformance for an item that can be brought into conformance with the original requirements through re-machining, reassembling, reprocessing, reinstallation, or completion of the required operations.

Shop Drawings - Drawings, diagrams and schedules specifically prepared to illustrate some portion of the work. Diagrams and instructions from a manufacturer or fabricator for use in producing the product and as aids to integrate the product or system into the project. Shop drawings show how multiple systems and interdisciplinary work will be coordinated

Standard Operating Procedure - A document that details the purpose and scope of an activity, and specifies how it is to be carried out. The output from a procedure provides objective evidence (in the form of records) of the compliance to the quality system requirements.

Task – A definable features of work. A task, which is separate and distinct from other tasks and has separate control requirements. A task could be identified by different trades or disciplines, or it could be separate phases of work by the same trade. At minimum each section of the specifications is a task, however, there are frequently more than one definable feature under a particular section.

Test Reports - Report signed by authorized official of testing laboratory that a material, product or system identical to the material, product or system to be provided has been tested in accord with specified requirements.