By Randall Curtis, Corporate EVP and COO and Pape Fall, Quality Director
We know some clients think of quality as table stakes — something they expect from everyone and think they are getting from everyone. But the truth is, not every contractor is performing to the same level of detail when it comes to quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC).
The thing with quality is, when done right, you probably won’t notice. We’ve done our job if your building performs exactly how you’d expect. But an inferior quality project? That will grab your attention. You could be dealing with the fallout from substandard quality for the life of the building.
To protect yourself and your project, here are five key questions you should ask when choosing a contractor and why you should ask them.
When do you use your Quality Assurance Program (QAP)?
The answer should be every day. There isn’t a task or phase during a project that a good QAP shouldn’t be consulted and followed; that includes preconstruction activities.
Is your QAP job specific or general?
Many companies have a QAP binder that sits on a shelf collecting dust. They can check the box, “Yes,” I have a quality program. But a truly effective QAP has to be a document specific to the project.
What do your quality preconstruction activities consist of?
If your contractor’s quality program doesn’t begin in preconstruction, your project is already suffering. There are many decisions related to quality that need to be made on the front end of a project, so that’s where a QAP needs to start.
How do you monitor your QC activities?
A strong quality program should be rooted in the idea, “trust but verify.” You, the owner, should be able to review your contractor’s well-documented QC activities.
Do you do QC audits? When and how?
Quality audits, both internal and external, are a critical part of an effective quality control plan. An audit allows contractors to check their QC plan and ensure it’s working as it’s supposed to.
These five questions will help you start a conversation with your contractor about quality and help you determine if they’re truly committed to quality, or if they’re more interested in checking a box. We know a good quality control plan works when it’s tailored for specific jobs, used every day throughout the project, and consistently updated and checked to ensure it’s working properly. Click here to watch a short video about an instance when our QC plan, and our team’s commitment to using it, created significant value for our client.