Quality control and safety are increasingly important concerns for project managers. Defects or failures in constructed facilities can result in very high costs. Even minor defects may require reconstruction and affect plant operations.
In a worst-case scenario, defects can result in personal injury or death. Accidents during the construction process can also result in personal injury and high costs. Indirect costs for insurance, inspection, and regulation increase rapidly due to these increased direct costs.
Good project managers try to ensure that the job is done right the first time and that there are no serious accidents on the project.
As with cost control, the most important decisions about the quality of a completed facility are made during the design and planning phases, not during construction. During these preliminary phases, component configuration, material specifications, and functional performance are determined.
Quality control during the construction phase consists largely of ensuring consistency with these initial design and planning decisions.
Although conformance to existing design decisions is the primary focus of quality control, there are exceptions to this rule.
First, unforeseen circumstances, incorrect design decisions, or owner-requested changes in facility function may require reevaluation of design decisions during construction. While these changes may be motivated by a concern for quality, they represent opportunities for redesign with all the associated goals and constraints.
Inspectors and quality assurance personnel are involved in a project and represent a variety of different organisations. Each of the parties directly involved in the project may have their own quality and safety inspectors, including the owner, the engineer or architect, and the various construction contractors.
These inspectors may be contractors from specialised quality assurance organisations. In addition to on-site inspections, material samples are typically tested by specialised laboratories to ensure compliance.
Inspectors who verify regulatory compliance are also involved. Common examples include inspectors from the local building inspectorate, environmental authorities, and occupational health and safety authorities.
Construction is a relatively hazardous endeavour. There are substantially more lost work days due to injuries or illnesses in construction than in virtually any other industry. Also, these work-related injuries and illnesses are extremely costly.
Unlike most industrial accidents, construction accidents can also injure uninvolved persons. Several crane collapses of high-rise buildings under construction have resulted in the deaths of passersby. Prudent project managers and builders want to reduce accidents, injuries and illnesses as much as possible.
Safety practices for the Project Management offices should consider insurance premiums costs for individuals. Additionally, they should also have safety and health teams doing audits and inspections at regular intervals during the construction phase.
Delays caused by injuries and illnesses can be a significant opportunity cost for owners. As we see with modern-day construction planning, inspection activities are included in the schedule.
Each of these activities have owners and health and safety report templates are an important part of the documentation. PMO sets baselines and acceptable limits for safety issues.
At every phase gate, these parameters are re-checked and discussed with primary stakeholders. It is important that the construction crew knows about these parameters and there is regular safety training conducted to keep them informed. These affect the risk management strategies directly. Most construction companies also publish these reports to the public for awareness and we have seen a significant reduction in accidents and cost overruns in the past decade.
Never ignore quality control and safety practices
Quality control and safety are crucial aspects of project management in the construction industry. They affect the costs, performance, and reputation of the constructed facilities. Quality control and safety require careful planning and design, as well as consistent implementation and monitoring during the construction phase.
These practices are the responsibilities of all project participants and should be prioritised throughout the project lifecycle.