Maintaining a consistent standard of quality in the construction industry is no accident - this is where quality management comes in.
It’s not only about making sure your product or service is consistent, but also how you go about achieving this.
There are four main elements to quality management: quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement.
In the construction industry, implementing these principles is designed to help you consistently achieve the outcomes clients expect, focus on a customer service approach, and continually strive for improvement.
They also help provide consistent guidelines for builders in providing and implementing the elements of quality management, and in monitoring their implementation.
So, what are some of the elements of quality management you’re likely to come across in the construction industry?
A Quality Management System (QMS)
A Quality Management System gives you a structure, including documentation, policies, procedures, processes and resources to help you control and manage work so that quality requirements can be met consistently.
Establishing and implementing a QMS involves a number of important actions.
Some of these include; setting objectives, identifying products and services not conforming to standards, identifying resources and allocating responsibilities, implementing the plans and procedures, monitoring the implementation, and reviewing the QMS.
A Quality Management Plan (QMP)
This is a plan specific to the project or contract and developed by the builder by applying a QMS. The document sets out specific practices, resources and sequences of activities relevant to the project or contract.
As part of the QMP, a plan covering quality management of design activities would also be prepared, implemented and updated by the builder for each phase or stage of the design.
Inspection and Test Plan (ITP)
This document sets out all inspection and testing requirements relevant to a specific process. An ITP identifies the items of materials and work to be inspected or tested, by whom and at what stage or frequency, as well as references to relevant standards. When properly implemented an ITP verifies that work has been undertaken to the required standard.
This is an internationally recognised standard for quality management systems. The latest version, ISO 9001:2008, has been developed with eight quality management principles at its core, these include: customer focus, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, system approach to management, continual improvement, factual approach to decision making and mutually beneficial supplier relationships.
One of the essential features of a quality management system is the assurance it gives the customer that appropriate quality management is being implemented. This is where audits and reviews come in. An audit plan would be included in a QMP to cover the arrangements and requirements for a project/contract. Audits can be carried out internally, externally or by a third party.
The module Quality and Scope Management counts towards your CPD points requirement for your builders licence. To find out more, contact CPD Blueprint now.