How important is quality on your construction project
An important lesson about quality came from a Foreman who was probably one of the best I have worked with. Our client tasked us with placing concrete inside a concrete silo built by another contractor. The concrete had to slope steeply to an opening in the centre of the floor and the silo would be used to store rock from a platinum mine. I’d said to the Foreman that this was a rushed job and the client was only concerned with the structural integrity, not the aesthetics of the work, so he shouldn’t waste time with finishing the concrete too neatly. The Foreman was horrified at this statement, and told me in no uncertain terms that as long as he was constructing something it would be to the best quality possible, and finished off correctly. He would not take short cuts. Even if nobody would see this concrete it would be to the same quality as any other concrete he placed. There was only one way to do a project, he’d said, and that was to do it right.
And, of course, he was absolutely right. This is the way we should all view our work and perform our tasks – with pride!
I’m frequently amazed at how many workers have no pride in the quality of the construction work they produce. Many homes, hotels, apartments and shopping complexes I’ve visited show signs of poor quality constuction. I regularly see examples of poor tiling, walls that are built out of square and doors not fitted correctly.
It’s not only about the paperwork
Unfortunately quality control is often forgotten in the rush to complete construction projects, or sometimes just turns into a paper exercise, and is a task the Project Manager leaves to the Supervisors, or on bigger projects Quality Engineers or Quality Managers. However, it’s the Project Manager’s responsibility to ensure that quality control is treated seriously, is not only about paperwork, and that people are delegated with specific responsibilities to deliver the correct quality, understanding what to look for and what the required quality standards are. This is helped considerably when individual tradespeople have the required skills and take pride in the quality of their work.
All the quality paperwork in the world, with all their signatures, will not turn a poor quality product into a good quality product. However the paperwork trail is important in ensuring that proper quality procedures have been implemented and followed.
The cost of poor quality work
Poor quality construction results in:
- Additional costs and delays to the contractor when work has to be redone or repaired.
- A poor reputation for the construction company.
- Additional costs to clients when defects have to be repaired later, for increased maintenance costs or for disruptions to their operations while defects are repaired.
- Can cause injury and death if the structure fails.
Quality is about:
- Delivering to the client a project that meets and exceeds their standards and specifications.
- Constructing the project in accordance with the construction drawings and design details.
- The project meeting the local bylaws and codes.
- Meeting the code and specification requirements of the state or country (except if the client has particular exemptions allowing deviations from these codes and requirements).
- Meeting the construction company’s standards.
- Meeting your own standards – The question everyone should ask is, ‘Would I pay for and accept this quality?’ If the answer is no, then the product doesn’t meet the required quality standards, nor is it a product you are proud of.
Are you proud of your work?
What does quality construction mean for you?
What lessons have you learned about poor quality in construction?
Paul Netscher is the author of the popular books 'Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide'and 'Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide'. Paul's new book 'Construction Claims: A Short Guide for Contractors' has just been published. These books are available on Amazon and other online book stores. Paul publishes articles regularly on LinkedIn and his website. Visit www.pn-projectmanagement.com to read other similar helpful articles.
Paul writes regular articles for other websites, gives lectures, mentors, and is available for podcasts and interviews.
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