3.1.1 Quality Control
Quality control is the collection of duties which are performed to ensure that the product produced conforms to laid down quality standards. To get an overview of Quality Control you should play the Quality control video in the Multi-media box below and the return to the text.
The quality specification will be set at the design stage. Decisions must be made on the method of inspection and how quality is to be maintained, though the process will involve:
All products produced must normally satisfy three criteria:
1. That they are fit for a defined purpose.
2. That they have the ability to perform as required for a reasonable period of time.
3. That they conform to a specified standard.
This is the collection of duties which are performed in order to ensure that the quality objectives are achieved, it is exercised by:
There is always a risk of disagreements over quality for it is easier to define the standards of manufactured products (to conform to BS...) than for the required standard of work on a construction site. It is important, therefore, that standards are defined at the outset so that all parties know exactly what is expected. Price will of course have an important bearing on the standards achieved and consequently on the appearance and quality of the finished building.
Quality is not just concerned with production but all of the processes that involve a business. The way to achieve this is to:
It is important that a system or systems exist within the company to ensure that the requirements with regard to quality are achieved. This means interpreting the requirements of the client and ensuring that all work meets these requirements and the statutory documents related to construction work.
3.1.2 Assessing Quality Requirements
It is important that you are able to interpret and understand quality requirements. The information relevant to quality will come from a number of sources and the site manager will need to ensure that any work carried out conforms to the requirements specified. It will also enable liaising and discussing quality control matters with other members of the construction team, these will include the Architect, Civil Engineer, Clerk of Works, site staff, tradesmen etc.
The client demands that the finished products, which includes materials and workmanship is of an appropriate acceptable standard which conforms to their requirements.
Companies can spend substantial amounts of time and money carrying out work which is unacceptable to the client, this results in additional time and expense putting things right. By reducing this you will improve profitability and improve competitiveness.
Clients’ (Customers’) Requirements
The client will expect that your products or services conform to their requirements.
Quality is not just concerned with production but all of the processes that involve a business; consequently it will apply equally to people within your own organisation and those receiving a service from you so it is appropriate to look at all everyone who is in receipt of your services as a customer. The way to achieve this is to:
Companies spend substantial amounts of time and money doing the wrong things and putting things right after they have gone wrong. By reducing this you will improve profitability and improve competitiveness.
Types of Customers
Customers can be categorized as:
These are divided into two key areas:
1. Defined requirements - these must be met by the delivered product or service. They are often specified in the contract and may include some or all of the following:
2. Implied requirements - these are unstated, but create an overall perception of your business in the eyes of the client. It is the little things that show you care for your customer. These include:
3.1.3 Statutory Documents and Requirements
A number of statutory documents exist in order to ensure that work is produced according to specified standards. Therefore the site manager will need to be familiar with the following documents in order to ensure that quality is of a required standard according to law, although this is a minimum standard and the standards will vary according to the type of work and client requirements, all of which are set out in the contract documents. Although not statutory documents in respect that they are legislation they are legal documents which are enforceable by law as they form part of the contract in the carrying out of the work. The documents below will provide information and lay down the requirements with regard to quality:
The Building Regulations have developed over the years to ensure the safety of those who come into contact with buildings.
The Building Control Officer will inspect the work during the course of construction in order to ensure that it complies with the requirements. Alternatively, for housing developments the National House Building Council (NHBC) may be used as the approved inspector (someone qualified to carry out the task of confirming that the building is constructed according to the Building Regulations).
Inspection of the work must be carried out by an Approved Inspector who must be informed 48 hours prior to commencement of work. S/he will then require 24 hours notice to inspect at the following stages:
This will ensure that the work meets the required standard. The inspector may use visual inspection to confirm compliance or they may, as in the case of drainage, carry out tests.
If an Approved Inspector is used S/he will submit an initial notice to the Local Authority with the drawings and evidence of insurance. If the Local Authority accepts the notice it becomes the Approved Inspectors not the Local Authority who are responsible for the enforcement of the regulations. On satisfactory completion the Inspector issues a certificate to the developer and the Local Authority.
British Standards Institution (BSI)
This was set up in 1929 to co-ordinate the efforts of all manufacturers and people associated with the use of products. It lays down standards for the improvement, standardization and simplification of all materials. It also lays down standards of quality and dimensions.
There are five kinds of documents produced by the BSI which are:
The British Board of Agrément is a government sponsored organisation which is also financed by the manufacturers of new products. The manufacturers obtain an independent test certificate from the Board which will when approached will test the product. The certificate is widely recognized and accepted by industry.
ISO 9000 is:
3.1.4 Conveying Quality Requirements
Having determined the quality requirements you will need to ensure that these are conveyed to all those who will be involved with the delivery of the work.
It is imperative that quality requirements are conveyed to all the members of the team and that all workers fully understand the standards that are demanded. These standards relate to:
Quality must consider:
It is essential that all craftsmen are appropriately trained and qualified and also that they are briefed as to what the client requires. Failure to ensure that this happens can lead to work not being accepted and the redoing of work. It can also result in litigation something which it is advisable to avoid. All these will result in costs which can reduce the profit for a contract.
Ensuring that the work is of an appropriate quality is the job of all people involved in the construction process. Each worker should be aware of what is acceptable and any work that does not meet that standard must be redone. The way it is monitored is through the supervisors, site managers, clerk of work and architect/project manager.
3.1.5 Financial Implications
An effective quality system can significantly reduce operating costs. Businesses waste as much as 25% of turnover on ineffective or inefficient processes which result in errors and waste.
One of the main factors in determining a supplier is the quality of the delivery of the product or service; it is the quality of the relationship with the customer that is important.
Quality costs are viewed as those incurred in excess of those that would have been incurred if the product were produced right first time. Costs are not only direct but those resulting from lost customers, lost market share and other hidden costs. Cost are not measured as the cost of rebuilding or scrapping but the extra over cost that is incurred based on what the cost would have been if everything had been built correctly the first time
The cost of quality measured against zero defects can be classified into four categories:
You have now completed this section of Unit 3. You may now move on to the next Section by clicking on the L4-3.2 Monitoring Quality link below.
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