Every project will have a set of standards and personnel to ensure those standards are met. Not only are their legal obligations that the project parameters will complete, but contractors also have means of being held accountable for the quality of their work. In the second part of our installation best practices, we are going to cover quality assurance, quality control, safety and compliance, and substantial acceptance.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Before you begin installation you probably will already have a Quality Assurance Plan set in place. Although often confused, quality assurance and quality control are two very different things. Quality assurance is essentially a predetermined set of steps laid out to ensure the work is done to the best of its ability. Quality control is actually carrying out those steps and implementing the plan properly.
Most of the work for quality assurance takes place in the pre-design phase, where managers can research all requirements for the building. Not only is this important for a successful project, but for code compliance and safety as well. Often contractors will have a Quality Assurance Manager and a Quality Control Officer that will handle everything from planning to implementation, but sometimes third-party teams are used on large or complex projects.
Quality control protocols may vary for each trade or sub-contractor that is involved. This is why it is considered a best practice to have a construction quality assurance plan in place. Quality control officers and inspectors tend to visit and test on a set schedule, but often it is the superintendent that is responsible for ensuring that the work is done properly. One way of managing quality control is by offering training and refresher courses. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of work that has to be redone in order to keep your timeline efficient and stay on budget.
Safety and Compliance
Through the installation phase, the owner and contractor will need to comply with a Safety Officer to make sure that all OSHA regulations are being met. Your contractors will appoint this person, and you may be required to follow instructions. Many tasks such as crane operations, working on a roof or sloped surface, and operating specialized equipment requires certified individuals who have been trained on proper use and safety procedures. If you are onsite during the installation or construction, make sure you wear safety gear and report any regulations you feel are not being met.
Substantial acceptance is when the owner agrees that the project is complete enough to meet its intended use. This is when you address any issues and confirm that everything was done within the timelines agreed upon. A good contractor will provide a punch list that you can go through in order to double check that everything is up to snuff. What qualifies as substantial acceptance varies by project, and is outlined in the contract under a substantial completion clause. Your contractor will prepare necessary paperwork to close out the project.
Once the project has been completed and inspected for quality, you will now move forward to the post-installation phase.