As many construction projects include the use of company staff and outside contractors, maintaining a standard of quality across all work requires clear objectives for everyone involved. A comprehensive quality control and quality assurance plan -- often abbreviated "QC/QA" -- provides these objectives and may be part of contracts and agreements involving job performance standards for a construction project.
Introducing the Plan
The QC/QA plan requires a context, which an introduction provides. Providing the scope of the project, including its phases, gives a level of coordination to those involved with the project. Responsibilities and chains of command are defined for both QC and QA functions, with broad duties spelled out. Depending on your target audience, defining the differences between QC and QA may be warranted; if so, spell out how QC procedures are performed under the management system that QA provides. Though it might be the first section of your plan, it might be the last section you write so you encompass the complete plan.
Quality Assurance Aspects
Since QA defines the management system scope of the project, aspects of your plan that encompass why, when and how quality is monitored are expanded and defined. This may include detailed organizational charts with key personnel identified and specific standards for the project overall or to specific contractor roles, if different standards apply. The standards section might include specifications; references to applicable International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, standards; or best practices references. QA addresses the administrative aspects of quality oversight, setting the framework for QC.
Quality Control Functions
QC items in your plan are the operational heart of the plan, describing what tests must be performed, including schedules and sign-off procedures. These items may be as general or specific as needed, though usually testing is matched to individual trades or job elements. For example, a general plan for a wood-frame construction project may reference local building code requirements, while an environmental impact project includes specific chemical tests for water and soil impact.
Inspection and Verification
A plan is only effective when it is implemented. Inspection and verification assure that controls are performed and meet or exceed standards. Sections addressing inspection and verification may include not only what acceptable test result values are but how these results are reported and shared. You may include audit provisions, such as spot checks on QC testing. Records of building and service inspections may be included as well. When your project includes controlled materials, handling and identification protocols are also monitored.
Project Nonconformance and Contingency Plans
A full-featured plan should anticipate the unexpected. For a project that includes the likelihood of specific problems, such as outdoor construction and bad weather, provisions for how to handle these occurrences can be provided in advance. When QC tests don't meet standards, procedures and reporting chains are spelled out in the QC/QA plan, including guidelines about what constitutes minor and major deficiencies and when and how work stoppages occur.
- Academia: Quality Assurance Plan for Bridge Work
- Environmental Protection Agency: Construction Quality Control/Quality Assurance Plan Phase 1 Facility Site Work Construction
- Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training: Construction Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plan -- Groundwater Source Control Measure
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