There is a very famous quote by Lord Kelvin, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” Time, cost, and quality are the key players in managing a project. Time and cost are quantitative in nature, whereas often quality is referred to as a non-measurable parameter. This might not hold entirely true. Read through this to find out, how to measure quality in construction projects.
What gets measured, gets managed. Quality is a subjective matter, but fundamentally it means, customer satisfaction, matching the standards, and fit for use.
One of the ways to improve quality or to demonstrate the efficiency of good quality in the project is to measure it. It sounds simple, but unlike time or cost, there is no single measure of quality in construction projects to compare it with another.
What is quality measure in construction?
Unlike the other two governing factors, i.e. time and cost, measuring quality in construction are a bit tricky.
In simple terms, the quality measurement can be seen as a level achieved after comparing the observed with the required standard. This degree of conformity is a tool that can make quality measurable.
This degree of conformity can be expressed in terms of no. of inspections failing or passing the standard requirements in the project.
In a project, to have a successful implementation and control of quality and to measure quality, a few parameters must be integrated together.
The first parameter is the plan of action which tells about the project and its functions.
The other parameter includes the organizational skills, tools, and practices used in the project.
Third and the last parameter is work ethics and culture which includes norms and the behavioral functions of the individuals involved in the project (Rad & Khosrowshahi, 1998).
When the above parameters are integrated, noticeable improvement will be achieved which can facilitate the measurement of quality.
How to measure quality in construction projects?
In construction, quality can be often subjective and vary from person to person. This very fact makes it difficult to quantify quality. However, there are two fundamental categories of measures that are generally adopted to measure quality. They are, prevention and resultant.
Preventive Quality Metrics
It is also known as the leading metric. In this implementation of preventive activities is done. Preventive activities include applying lessons learned from past experience, project-specific plans, and reviews, aligning with client needs, pre and post-activity meetings, continuous verification and evaluation, and analysis risks.
This will proactively ensure and evaluate quality on site. These metrics basically allow the management to look ahead on an issue before it occurs. The focus of these metrics can be branched into two parts (CQEC, 2015):
- First, in place quality
This metric evaluates the quality of the work being put in place to determine the percent correct. Typical best in class have a first in place quality of around 98%.
- Quality Program Health
The ultimate goal is to use multiple data sources from a project to determine the project's quality program health.
This will require determining baselines and best in class for such items as:
- Creation and upkeep of living quality plans
- Submittal cycle times and number of cycles
- RFI cycle times and number of cycles
- Verification first in place quality
Predictive Quality Metrics/Resultant Quality Metrics
It is also known as lagging metrics. This metrics is developed to capture an issue that occurs on-site because of improper implementation of the underlying quality process.
It considers quality incidents on a site, which is defined as something which should not happen during or after the construction of any project that is of good quality. By this quality incident rate, the number of hours worked on projects can be worked out. This is very similar to the already existing system in the safety program where any injury is unacceptable and indicates the failure of the project safety process.
Traditional methods for measuring quality
Traditional approaches to measuring quality include the use of ‘indicators of quality’. As quality is a relative term, it is measured on the basis of its indicators.
The indicators of quality include punch list items, pre, and post-activity checklists, requests for information, inspection requests, and test reports. These are also known as key quality indicators.
Although these measuring techniques may not be wholesome but have generated thought and a notion that quality can be measured and these measures can be used for performance assessments and comparing different projects.
Towards a digital solution – DigiQC
Roots of traditional techniques give rise to the advanced tools to measure the quality in construction projects. We here at DigiQC have come up with one such digital solution which simplifies this work of quality measurement. It also generates analytical reports to keep a track of the desired quality on site.
DigiQC helps you to track down the inspections and record the number of passing or failing inspections which will become a factor to measure the quality of the project. If you want to know more about this schedule a demo for yourself or contact us.
In this concurrent world where design and construction requirements are growing complex, managing quality becomes important to handle modern-day building challenges. By using the correct tools and digital solutions for measuring the quality construction, the construction industry will bring advancement and better work culture to produce a more efficient process of building contemporary facilities in time, budget and the best quality.
Having reiterated the importance of quality in a construction project, the measurement and quantification of quality becomes important. It is necessary that these new and advanced techniques are applied to measure the quality, and are promoted to get sound results in terms of improved quality standards in the construction projects.
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