ArticleThis presentation, developed by civil engineer, Gregory Pestine, P.E. discusses the importance of deploying a well-defined quality control program on construction projects of all sizes. Greg provides specific examples of construction defects along with information on why the defects developed and insight on what should have been done to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place.
Gregory originally presented this information to the Litchfield Cavo firm in December of 2014. If you are interested in having a similar presentation delivered to your firm or legal organization, please contact us for details. Greg, or another of our construction experts, can often accommodate speaking requests from law firms or legal organizations that are interested in the content.
PREVENTING CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS THROUGH EFFECTIVE QUALITY CONTROL
Well-administered quality control programs on construction projects can mitigate the incidence and severity of construction defects. These defects are costly to repair, interrupt the flow on a project, and lower jobsite morale. Defects that are detected after project completion can result in costly personal injuries and property damage as well as expensive litigation. Project owners would be wise to include rigid contractor quality control requirements in their construction contracts.
Quality control specifications on construction projects, commonly found in section 01400, are usually vague and ineffective. They put the burden of meeting the contract requirements on the Contractor but don’t specify a plan or an aggregate of activities that would ensure an adequately constructed project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy have required contractor quality control (CQC) programs for over four decades. These programs have specific requirements and have been adopted by many federal, state and municipal agencies. In CQC, the Contractor maintains responsibility for contract compliance. The Owner provides overall QA or quality assurance to verify the CQC program is effective and enforces the Contractor’s CQC responsibilities.
The components of a CQC program include many of the controls that are normally present on a construction project but include additional specific inspection and documentation requirements:
- Quality Control Plan - List of Definable Features of Work For each definable feature of the work, specific inspection and testing requirements are determined including specific milestone events, frequency of testing, responsible parties, etc.
- CQC Organization - Responsibilities and Qualifications The CQC organization may be a team of individuals with specific responsibilities and qualifications. This includes the CQC Manager, the testing laboratories, and any other personnel needed to effectively carry out the Quality Control Plan.
- Preconstruction Conference - The Quality Control Plan is to be discussed with project stakeholders prior to construction so that there is a consensus on specific requirements and responsibilities.
- Preconstruction Safety Conference - Safety and Quality go hand in hand in construction. For instance, the requirement to test the strength of concrete piers prior to erecting steel to verify the anchoring capacity of the anchor bolts is important both in preventing injuries caused by bolt pullout and in preventing concrete cracking and replacement of the deficient anchor bolts.
- Three Phase Inspection System
- Preparatory Phase - A preparatory phase meeting is held before the start of a definable feature of the work. It is attended by the QC Manager, other QC staff as required, the project superintendent, and the appropriate personnel of the contractor performing the work. It includes a review of the drawings and specifications, calling out any unusual requirements, as well as a review of the shop drawings and other submittals to make sure they are complete and approved for construction. A site walk-thru is performed to verify the work in place is ready to accept the next feature of the work and that jobsite conditions, weather, and site access are appropriate for this new work to begin.
- Initial Phase - The initial phase inspection is a review of the materials delivered to verify they conform to the approved submittals, that they are delivered in good condition and are properly stored. Also, the initial workmanship is inspected to verify conformance with specifications, industry standards, and manufacturer requirements.
- Follow-up Phase - Follow-up inspections are performed on a daily basis to make sure work is continuing in conformance with project requirements, and that day-to-day issues are being addressed.
Deficiency Log - Work which does not conform to project requirements is identified as a deficiency and responsible parties are notified. A log is maintained to track the non-compliance item, the proposed remedy, and the completion of the remedy. Also, means of preventing recurrence of each deficiency are discussed, documented, and made part of the quality control plan.
RFIs - RFIs or Requests for Information are generated when questions arise in the performance of the work. They may include clarification of contract documents, changes required due to unavailability of material, or contractor proposed modifications. Typically, the designer of record responds to RFIs and frequently these responses generate a contract change order.
CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS INVESTIGATIONS
There is nearly infinite diversity to the scope of our construction claims investigations. At Robson Forensic, we meet our clients’ needs through continuous recruiting and professional development. For almost any issue we can assemble a tailored team of construction professionals to provide a thorough and efficient investigation. Our ability to analyze construction documents and evaluate the performance of construction parties allows our experts to identify liability, quantify damages, and assist in resolving disputes in a timely and cost effective manner.
For more information, visit our Construction practice page.
Gregory H. Pestine, P.E.
Civil Engineer & Construction Expert
This presentation was developed by civil engineer, Gregory Pestine. With over 30 years of experience in the construction industry, Greg has worked on a wide variety of projects, in many different roles. As a superintendent, quality control manager, and resident engineer he has been responsible for site safety, quality, and budget. He has conducted inspections, performed and coordinated field testing, evaluated fabricated products in the shop, and monitored blast vibrations. Greg has additional expertise in scheduling and schedule assessment, construction cost estimating, review of pay applications, and evaluation of claims and contract modifications, as well as site specific safety and quality control plans.
If you are interested in discussing an ongoing case or having a similar presentation delivered to your firm or legal organization, please contact us for details. We have construction experts located across the country who can assist in a variety of capacities.