Quality During Construction

Construction Quality Assurance

Hello good people of the world! This blog post covers Construction Quality Assurance, based on an article that appeared in the Nov/Dec 2012 edition of Pharmaceutical Engineering titled “Assured Construction Quality Saves Time and Money.” All credit goes to the authors: Jay Lad of Skanska Pharmaceutical Group and Bruce Beck of Eli Lilly.

I’ve a scanned copy of the article Assured Construction Quality Saves Time and Money, but will have to remove it if anyone asks.

It is obvious that the earlier you find a quality issue, the easier, and less-costly, it will be to fix. That has been the impetus for a push towards more rigorous commissioning and qualification, and even the tracking of quality issues during construction, prior to turnover/transfer. Based on the project cost and and risk (a combination of project complexity and contractor quality experience), you may want to employ a Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) program.

Project complexity may be ranked by (1 is least complex, 5 is most):

  1. Parking lot, landscaping
  2. Minimal construction, installing equipment
  3. Warehouse, laboratory, office-space
  4. Medium-sized process or packaging space
  5. Large-scale, complex, regulated facility

Contractor quality experience may be ranked by (1 is most experienced, 5 is least):

  1. Industry Leader / ISO 9000 certified
  2. Projects with alliance contractors
  3. Projects without alliance contractors
  4. Projects with limited owner experienced contractors
  5. Projects with no previous owner experience

In document issues in the field, it is recommended that a web-based software solution is used, running on tablet PCs with built-in cameras to recorded issues digitally. Issues can be tracked with the following attributes:

  1. Description of Issue
  2. Picture of issue, if applicable
  3. FSE (facility, system, or equipment) the issue belongs to
  4. Responsible party (contractor or subcontractor)
  5. Date identified
  6. Target date for resolution or next step
  7. Priority of issue
  8. Commissioning/Qualification impact potential
  9. Root cause
  10. Severity

Severity could be calculated from the impact to commissioning/qualification (has/does not have impact) and the following categories:

  1. Category 1: Severe issues requires immediate attention
  2. Category 2: Significant issues needs attention before proceeding
  3. Category 3: Incomplete or minor repairs/adjustments needed
  4. Category 4: Change in design required. Evaluate change

Based on data collected, CQA could be managed by looking at such factors as:

  1. Time to resolve issues (by severity, responsible party, etc.)
  2. Number of open issues over time
  3. Issues identified prior to turnover/transfer vs. after
  4. Root cause patterns

Of course to be successful a CQA program should be introduced early in the project, and all team members should have buy-in. The issues, resolutions, and metrics should be reviewed regularly.

In choosing a software solution, consider the following:

  1. Solution should be user-friendly for a construction environment (e.g. web-based, running on tablets, with integrated camera, etc.)
  2. Solution should allow links or embedding to external documentation (e.g. drawings, specifications)
  3. Solution should allow flexible and robust reporting of metrics
  4. Solution should allow data export in various standard formats (e.g. CSV)

What is your experience with a Construction Quality Assurance Program? Any applications you would recommend?

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