Here’s How to Reduce Rework with Quality Control

April 28, 2020 Matt DePaolis

If you’re not managing it effectively, you can bet that rework is costing you big time. Industry research indicates that construction rework accounts for between 2% and 20% of the average construction job cost.

You definitely want to be on the low end of that range.

Because on days when you hit the high end? You’re toast.

You’re wasting all your time, energy, and $$ running around fixing problems instead of making something beautiful happen.

The key to making more days hit the 2% end instead of the 20% end? Your long-term construction quality control plan.


How a Reactive Construction Quality Control Plan Makes Your Life Miserable

Reactive quality control is a leading cause of excessive rework. It increases costs, decreases quality, and makes every day a crazy day.

Consider this sequence of events:

Proactive vs Reactive - Construction Quality Control Plan

When quality control is reactive, stakes are identified and addressed after other work has been done, exponentially increasing the amount of rework and costs required.


How a Proactive Quality Control Plan Makes Your Life Better

First, a definition. A proactive quality control plan is a formal system designed to identify non-conformance and defects early in the project, while they are easily addressed.

A proactive quality control plan makes your life easier in a lot of ways, but these two are key:

  1. You identify potential trouble spots ahead of time
  2. You have a process to check those spots before moving to the next step

You know that expression, “hindsight is 20/20”? Proactive quality control gives you 20/20 foresight–it’s like predicting the future so you can change it.

Instead of costly, cascading problems, you control every step of the plan and fix problems before they become bottom-line-devouring monsters. 


Proactive Construction Quality Control Plan


How to Develop a Proactive Construction Quality Control Plan

A successful proactive construction quality control plan involves a structured schedule of inspections that ensure each dependency is quality checked - before the next dependency begins. Two key tools of the proactive construction quality control plan are:

  1. Checklist Inspection Forms
  2. Inspections, test plans and completion tracking 

1. Checklist Inspection Forms

✔️  Push ownership and responsibility for quality assurance out to the folks on the site

✔️  Serve as a helpful guide, and hold everyone accountable to consistent standards

✔️  Drive conformance within and across projects, regardless of who performs the inspection

✔️ Create the opportunity for reporting and analytics to identify patterns and opportunities for improvement

2. Inspections, test plans and completion tracking

A proactive quality management plan includes a schedule of inspections with built-in completion tracking. Completion tracking should be documented and made available to the whole project team, and ensures:

✔️  Everyone knows which inspections need to happen when, and what work has been completed

✔️  The team shows up to work only when materials and schedule are ready for them

✔️  Everyone can see immediately when the project falls behind, why, and what has to happen to get it back on schedule 

They say prevention is the best medicine. Identifying quality issues – made easier and faster by using the proper construction apps on your project – before starting work or moving on to the next phase, can significantly reduce the amount of rework needed later on. This can have a major impact on overall project costs, streamline schedules, and increase your profitability.


Challenges to Proactive Quality Control Planning

The biggest challenge to proactive quality control planning is managing all the paperwork.

All those checklists. All those plans. All those forms. All those emails and trips back and forth to the trailer.

To be successful with QC planning, it’s critical that you choose a digital platform to allow you to manage your documents and share them effectively with the right people at the right times. Even better if your documents are searchable.

Moving to digital and instituting a proactive quality control plan can be a big initiative. But it doesn’t have to be painful, and it’s better than staying stuck in a cycle of constant, unpredictable rework.

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