Task 3.2.1 Assessing Quality
Outline the system of inspection that should be used by an organisation and state how the outcome is recorded.
3.2.2 Quality Management Systems (QMS)
The Objectives of a Quality Management System is to organise a business so all the factors affecting the quality of the product or service produce are under control. The QMS defines the quality environment within a business. Every business is different and so each QMS will be unique. The system must:
The system embraces all areas of the organisation: marketing, contract acceptance, tendering, product design, production, delivery, service, finance and administration. The object is to ensure that only products or services that conform to the quality standards reach the customer.
Customers are increasingly expecting that their suppliers operate a QMS to provide assurance that they will only receive products or services that conform. The independent approval of a company's QMS to an internationally recognised standard such as ISO9000 demonstrates provides evidence of this.
An effective Quality Management System will improve business performance because you will:
Quality is defined by the customer, therefore, you need to:
Quality is not only concerned with whether a product or service meets the claims for it but also the customers’ perception of the business. This is based on the product or service and on the day-to-day contact he has with your staff. Quality concerns how you meet all your customers requirements including how they are greeted on the telephone or office, the speed in which they receive a reply and in ensuring that letters or invoices are correct. Everyone must be involved.
Quality not only concerns the costs related to product or services failure, which involves rework and indemnity or warranty claims, but also administration, excessive debtor days or when customer requirements haven't been fully determined.
An investment in prevention activities such as planning, effective procedures, training or equipment maintenance can reduce the cost of failure and appraisal costs.
The benefits of implementing a successful Quality Management System (QMS) are:
Benefits of a QMS
An approved QMS demonstrates that the company is committed to quality and that it is able to:
The standards only define what must be controlled, not how control is to be achieved.
The following are typical of the benefits of a well planned QMS:
Benefits of External Assessment and Registration
You do not need external assessment though it does have a number of benefits:
Managers must ensure:
Quality standards do not specify any technical requirements for a product or service. They only cover the requirements of the management system. They are therefore complimentary to any technical standards which may apply.
A company is successful because it understands the marketplace and customer requirements. They succeed because they are able to provide products or services which meet their customers’ requirements and make a profit.
Care must be taken to ensure that the company doesn't implement a QMS just to gain ISO9000 registration as this will not benefit them but will just introduce bureaucracy which will develop into a liability.
The task of a manager is to ensure processes are controlled so they produce outputs which are within the acceptable limits in order that the customer requirements are met.
Task 3.2.2 Quality Management Systems
Explain why a Quality Management System would be used by a construction company.
3.2.3 Quality Plans
A quality plan can be produced to define:
The plan is used to improve and assure the quality of the project and will involve the following:
Management must give a clear lead on setting standards and in ensuring that they are attained. This is particularly important when incentive schemes, based on output, are employed.
Details and guidance on Quality Plans can be found on the web.
Task 3.2.3 Quality Plans
Produce a quality management plan for an activity or operation on a contract.
In order to ensure that aspects of the work conforms to specification and that the quality meets the required standard a number of on and off site test can be carried out.
All the materials used in today’s construction projects have to meet exacting specifications and standards. Testing these materials and demonstrating compliance with these standards is a generally a mandatory requirement and is designed to:
There are many different tests which can be performed on Construction materials and those which are required will depend upon:
Materials testing can be on site (in-situ) or samples taken and sent to a materials testing laboratory, dependent upon the type of testing being undertaken.
On Site Testing
Testing can be performed in-situ by competent personnel.
Nuclear Density Meter Testing (NDM)
The NDM can be used on newly laid bituminous materials to control compaction. It can also be used to control the placement and compaction of earthworks e.g for landfill sites
Evaluation of bearing capacity and compaction of laid materials
This is carried out by:
Testing of Fresh Concrete
Laboratory Testing (off site)
Samples are taken from the site and returned to the laboratory for analysis. It is essential that samples taken from site for testing are sampled in accordance with standard procedures to ensure a representative sample is taken and that they are transported, stored and labelled correctly to minimise the possibility incorrect or erroneous results. It is particularly important to note the location where the sample was taken as areas of non-compliance or contamination can be easily identified.
Testing may include
Evaluation of Results
Following testing, the client receives informative reports to assist and support engineering, design and construction decisions relating to such items as:
Where areas of non-compliance to required standards are found, dependant on the significance of the non-compliance, remedial measures may be taken or further investigation may be required to establish the extent of the failure.
In the case of any ground contamination, this will have to be made safe before work can commence on the site.
Learning outcome: On completion the learner will: Know how to establish methods of work that will ensure sustainable quality in the project.
3.3.1 Sustainability Issues on site
3.3.2 Protecting the Environment
3.3.3 Maintaining Environmental Records
3.3.1 Sustainability Issues on site
Sustainable means “maintaining something’s viability by using techniques that allow continual reuse”. So if we are looking at the methods of work that will ensure sustainable quality on site we need to look at the following:
The way that this is done is through the following:
In order for these factors to be effective all personnel need to be aware of the effect that each of the points listed above will affect the project. This will involve the training of personnel in the methods of work to be used so that the environment is considered.
It is important that systems are in place to ensure that work carried out is consistent with the factors to reduce the negative effects and promote the positive ones. In many companies the requirements will be specified in the Environmental Policy which the site manager must be familiar with and incorporate into the methods of work for each project. In order to ensure that personnel conform to the requirements specific individuals will need to be made responsible for adhering and confirming that the work is carried out in a manner that is sympathetic to the requirements. Although as a site manager you would be responsible to ensure that all aspects relating to sustainability during the construction phase are considered, actioned, monitored and enforced and that any appropriate records are maintained.
The failure to consider these can have an adverse affect on the quality of the work produced, the perception of the company by the public and, if a breach of any legislation results, in the imposing of a fine. Consequently the site manager will need to ensure that any breaches are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and is a widely recognised measure of a building's environmental performance. Carried out by external licensed assessors it addresses wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues and enables developers and designers to prove the environmental credentials of their buildings to planners and clients.
The site manager must be aware that materials which appear green or environmentally friendly do not necessarily produce the best quality of construction and may well result in additional maintenance and repair throughout the life span of the structure. Similarly, materials which are of composite construction may use vapour barriers and other materials which must be incorporated into the structure in a defined and certainly careful manner if the integrity of the units are to be preserved.
Quality means setting a standard and monitoring that standard to ensure that the work incorporated into the structure meets a predetermined specification. Where substandard materials are accepted or specified materials incorporated into the structure in a manner which does not comply with specified standards of workmanship, the object of the use and incorporation of sustainable materials may be defeated.
Sustainability is also about minimising waste; construction design should take into account standard panel sizes produced by the manufacturer ensuring that these fit into an integrated system without undue waste. Minimising waste would be enhanced by the use of Integrated Modular Design Systems of construction whereby all components are prefabricated to be fitted together on site.
Any waste should be collected and recycled as far as possible to recover materials or seek an alternative use, as an example: whilst short ends of timber cannot generally be used they can be used in chipboard production or similar and as a last and final result clean timber can be used to produce energy. Quality monitoring and effective Site Management will ensure that waste is minimised and recycling is a factor which everyone to must promote.
In many respects the key to quality on site is good leadership and management by education of the workforce; most operatives know and understand what quality is and how sustainability can be enhanced by maintaining a positive response; the trick is to ensure that all are pro-active and never complacent.
It also must be appreciated that sustainability is not just about materials and workmanship, other factors which all form part of sustainability are the responsibility of the Site manager all result in improved quality of site presentation, workmanship and reputation of the company.
Task 3.3.1 Sustainability on Site
Discuss the ways in which Site Managers can monitor the quality of materials and workmanship on site in a manner which maintains sustainability and maximises the opportunity to Recycle and Recover Material.
3.3.2. Protecting the Environment
The way that the company will protect the environment is set out in the Environment Policy.
This is a statement of a company's stance towards the environment in which it operates. It is a commitment to implement and enforce the measures within the company organisation and method of work to protect the environment.
All environmental commitments should be an integral part of the day to day activities, clearly communicated to all employees and may form part of application for ISO 14001 certification or registration under the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) which is a voluntary scheme which allows all types of organizations to improve their environmental performance and achieve recognition.
Contents of a Policy
Although there is no legal requirement or standard structure for an environmental policy there are key aspects that it should contain. It should state what the key objectives of the company is; who is accountable and how these are going to be achieved and by whom.
In addition, the policy should contain brief statements on the following:
It may also include additional issues relevant to your business that you may wish to address in your environmental policy, these could include:
There is no standard content for an environmental policy, although policies normally contain similar themes. Your policy should be personal to your business, so it should reflect the business' main activities, priorities and concerns.
Before you write your policy you should assess which aspects of your business affect the environment and what the potential impacts are. The content of the policy should be based on the results of the assessment, which should have identified the key environmental issues that apply to the business.
Senior management must be involved in the production of the policy and must understand the principles and be committed to it. It's not compulsory to have an environmental policy but an increasing number of businesses are choosing to have one and one will be needed the company wishes to obtain an environmental management standard, such as the European Union Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), BS 8555 or ISO 14001. It's also vital if you currently work or intend to work with large organisations, or if you need to demonstrate to customers and other stakeholders that you are committed to managing your environmental impacts in a responsible way.
Task 3.3.2 Environment Policy
Produce an Environmental Policy for your site.
3.3.3 Maintaining Environmental Records
The retention of records is essential to prove that your company complies with legislation and government regulations and proves you have fulfilled your environmental responsibilities: The regulations that apply include:
In addition to showing compliance to the regulations it also enables the monitoring and improvement of the measures used.
The records will include:
Ensure that training induction records prove that all employees are assessed for their competence regarding their proper use of Occupational Health & Safety and Environmental issues.
All unusual environmental events should be recorded in the site diary.
Records will also be kept regarding the following:
Environmental records should be kept for at least 3 years, which means having the system in place to store and locate documents. One way of doing this is to record them in an index as shown below in Figure 3.3.1
Figure 3.3.1 Record Index
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