Successful project delivery is contingent on balancing three fundamental requirements: time, cost, and quality. Any one of these too far out of alignment with the rest can lead to an very frustrated client. Quality is particularly important to deliver on. Poor project quality not only can lead to a damaged reputation but also an unsafe structure and costly litigation.
Buildings stand as a testament to the builder’s workmanship long after the workers have left the jobsite and the new carpet and paint smells have dissipated, serving as a daily reminder to owners and occupants of the quality of the work performed for as long as it’s in use. Completed projects are essentially permanent billboards showcasing a company’s dedication to quality and attention to detail: whether the building meets a client’s expectations long-term will have a direct impact on whether a company gets repeat business or a glowing recommendation.
There are opportunities to improve quality at every step of the construction process, from initial concept through delivery and handover, and every employee of a construction company has a role to play. Here are some simple ways to improve and optimize your quality on every project.
Connecting Quality with Repeat Business
An old industry rule-of-thumb suggests it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. This means a contractor’s profitability hinges directly upon good word of mouth and repeat business from existing clients. The quality of work should stand for itself, but a recommendation from a highly satisfied client, and a long track-record of high-quality work, go a long way to helping companies retain clients and win new business.
Technology’s Role in Quality Management
The construction industry has undergone a widespread digital transformation over the last few decades, integrating technologies like cloud computing, GPS, Building Information Modeling (BIM), drones, virtual and augmented reality, Internet of Things, and data analytics and machine learning. These tools have helped construction companies improve project delivery and maximize quality in every phase of every project, from initial planning and design to specification of materials and products, through delivery and handover.
Leveraging the capabilities offered by construction management software helps nurture a “culture of quality” across an organization, which focuses on maximizing quality from a project’s outset rather than fixing defects after the fact. This results in better outcomes, more satisfied clients, and a reduction in costly rework.
The Essential Elements of Better Quality Control
A collaborative construction management platform helps teams get their arms around a project’s complexities, making it easier to apply a consistent and methodical approach to quality control. One of those ways is by crafting project-specific quality plans covering everything from inspection to verification of approved work to rectification and sign-off. The plan is then shared with every project stakeholder so they better understand the goals of the project and are better able to get it right the first time.
Another vital element mobile- and cloud-based quality management systems help bring to a project is quality reporting, which helps companies manage day-to-day inspection processes and view summary reporting of a project’s overall quality performance. Checklist and defect reports are aggregated in an easy to navigate dashboard view and shared among project participants. This enhanced business intelligence provides actionable insights contractors can use to track performance of work teams or suppliers, identifying areas in need of improvement before they become an issue.