Quality supervision on site pays off!

8 September 2021

Research shows that more than half (54%) of defects in construction projects can be attributed to human factors such as unskilled workers or insufficient supervision, and only 12% are due to system failures or defects in materials. Defects can generate very high costs and delays, and in the worst-case scenario, if they are not properly addressed, they can deteriorate the functioning of the finished facility. Hence, especially with large or complex investment projects, it is extremely important to implement a quality management system to ensure that the work is done right the first time and that no major breakdowns occur in the project.

The most important decisions regarding quality assurance of the finished facility are made at the design and planning stage. It is during these initial stages that material specifications and functional parameters are established. Quality control during construction relies heavily on ensuring compliance with the original design and planning decisions, which are reflected in the design documentation and the building permit.

The quality assurance team involved in the project may represent different organizations. Often, investors and developers rely on independent industry inspectors to routinely visit construction sites to ensure compliance with quality standards and regulatory requirements. They report all observed violations to the General Contractor on an ongoing basis and recommend corrective actions.

Quality control should be the main focus of not only external supervisory inspectors exercising formal control, but also of all key participants in the project. Developers who build their reputation based on quality should promote good quality control and look for contractors who maintain similar standards.


The first task of the quality management team is to create a quality assurance plan for the project. The plan has two goals: first, to explain the company’s QA/QC rules, and second, to identify any requirements that are unique to the project.

Although quality assurance plans differ from project to project, there are some common elements:

  1. Quality responsibilities of employees.

In general, everyone in a managerial position involved in a project should know and be responsible in their areas of work for:

  • Maintaining the company’s quality standards,
  • Compliance with the applicable construction law, local regulations and administrative regulations as well as issued approvals and permits for the project,
  • Fulfilling the contractual requirements set out in the contracts,
  • Report any problems identified quickly so that they can be fixed immediately.
  1. Team, contractor and supplier qualifications required.

In addition to the company’s general qualification requirements for personnel, contractors and suppliers, which should be part of the company’s policy, a project may have specific requirements regarding experience, expertise, certifications and licensing that are not necessarily required for other projects. They should be included in the quality assurance plan and strictly enforced. The same standards must also apply to all third parties involved in the project, including contractors, subcontractors, external consultants and other project participants.

  1. Quality training

The quality team should prepare and implement appropriate training plans in order to  adhere to company-wide quality standards and specific project requirements. Quality assurance training should be offered before the commencement and from time to time during project implementation – especially for contractors and new employees. Conducting such trainings on a continuous basis saves time for fixing errors in the future.

  1. Project-specific quality standards

The quality assurance plan for the project should take into account applicable laws and standards, and add project-specific requirements that may be more stringent than the general requirements.

  1. Policies, procedures and specifications to be used in quality control

As work progresses, regular inspections are the main means of achieving quality and ensure that quality goals are being met at every stage of the project. The quality assurance plan should clearly describe when to inspect, what criteria to apply, and what constitutes nonconformities that require correction.

  1. Actions to be taken when faults are found

From time to time, the inspection report may reveal that the work performed, or materials used in the project, do not meet expected standards. The quality assurance plan should state what needs to be done when there is a need for adjustments that are not part of the normal construction process. In addition to correcting any errors in the design itself, the task of the quality team is to help the company learn from errors and prevent similar problems in the future by accurately identifying the causes of the problem and implementing appropriate company procedures.

  1. Documentation and data storage

The quality assurance plan should specify exactly what reports and what documentation should be prepared and kept for future reference not only to improve the quality of the company’s work, but as evidence of adherence to the quality plan and demonstrating due diligence in the event of a possible lawsuit.

  1. Completion of control and post-project evaluation

The final aspect to include in the quality assurance plan is the final inspection procedures and the final correction of any defects found. At this stage it is worth to do a general summary of the quality procedures and how they worked in the project. Quality is a never-ending process of learning and improvement. The quality assurance plan for each project should reflect this knowledge.


  1. Quality responsibilities of employees.
  2. Team, contractor and supplier qualifications required.
  3. Quality training
  4. Project-specific quality standards
  5. Policies, procedures, and specifications to be used in quality control
  6. Actions to be taken when faults are found
  7. Documentation and data storage
  8. Completion of control and post-project evaluation


Quality control issues arise in virtually all functional areas of construction activities. An important aspect of maintaining high quality is ensuring up-to-date and accurate information through the implementation of document control and proper document flow management .

Electronic document flow management systems of the Effective Data Management (EDM) type allow to achieve quality goals expected by the developer.  The platform for collecting, managing and sharing information enables the simultaneous use of data by many users in a properly configured and secure environment. Thanks to such a system, it is much easier to control communication between participants in the construction process, store confidential data and share it with selected people. The solution works well where a large amount of information and large files are involved. The process of transferring them between participants or making them available to external entities is quick, safe, and controlled.