In 2003, a large pharmaceutical and biotechnology company was experiencing cost overruns, project delays and other cost-of-quality issues that have become the norm on recent projects. Many questions existed and answers were needed for questions such as:
- Are we using contractors who do not have a quality program?
- Are their quality programs effective?
- How do the quality programs compare to industry standards?
- What can we do to assist contractors in improving their quality programs?
- What will be our expectations for contractors in the future?
Further investigation revealed that the construction industry, as a whole, has been struggling with quality issues for many years, and the cost to our economy has been dramatic. Although quality assurance has been used with great success in other sectors of the economy, it has bee for the most part completely ignored by the construction industry.
Performance Validation formed a partnership to begin a pilot program to find answers and to develop solutions. In Phase I, the following valuable information was uncovered.
- Approximately 50% of the contractors did not have Quality Manuals
- Many contractors did not know what a Quality Manual was and confused it with a Safety Manual, Operations Manual, or an insurance investigation.
- Construction contractors did not know what was expected in a quality program.
- Some of the quality manuals that did exist were only window dressing and were not utilized.
In Phase II, a Construction Quality System Audit Checklist tailored specifically for the construction industry was developed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a construction contractor’s quality system. A checklist with similar metrics was also developed for jobsite quality audits.
In Phase III, a Construction Quality Assurance Program was developed that included a Corporate Quality Assurance Manual, Quality Procedures, and a Job Specific Quality Plan Template along with associated forms, checklists and other quality system documents.
The entire system was designed to meet the needs of the construction industry by being streamlined and user-friendly while incorporating a risk-based approach that minimized cost. Mistake-proofing and closed-loop methods were included in the design in order to build quality into the process!
- The building owner was able to build a database of audit results to measure continuous improvement with its construction contractor partners.
- The building owner utilized quality audit results to assess the quality system capabilities of four contractors bidding on a $100 million facility and avoided making a costly error.
- A local construction management firm has begun implementing the construction quality assurance program to build quality into the process, minimize risk and optimize profits. Other construction contractors are now aware of how they can improve quality systematically while simultaneously reducing risk and improving profits.
- Quality System Audits: Building owners can utilize construction quality assurance to assess the capabilities of the construction companies with whom they conduct business to avoid making contract decisions based solely on safety and lowest bid, a poor strategy that has cost millions of dollars in project delays.
- Jobsite Quality Audits: A standardized tool is now available for unbiased, 3rd party audits to be conducted.
- Building owners are provided a feedback mechanism to keep from “flying blind” to ensure that quality is being managed, and to ensure that quality issues are caught early on before unnecessary liability is accumulated that could threaten project delivery.
- Contractors benefit from knowing how they are doing and are alerted to issues which can be corrected before large liabilities accumulate.
- Quality Assurance Program Designed for Construction: Contractors can now have a quality system that strikes the right balance between cost and added value. The ability to assure quality, rather than just promise quality, becomes a reality. Mitigation of risk while adding value now works in harmony rather than conflict to add real results to the bottom line while protecting the business.
For additional information, contact:
Division Director, Indiana
Performance Validation, LLC.
5420 W Southern Ave
(317) 727-8495 Mobile