By Karen Lopez
When undertaking any project every commercial contractor intends to deliver top-notch quality. However, projects of such magnitude and complexity often pose various unexpected challenges that interfere with the outcomes.
A single error can set the project in a downward spiral, involving expensive rework. In fact, research shows that more than half of the construction project mishaps are attributed to human factors like insufficient supervision, unskilled labor, and others.
Hence, it’s critical to proactively prioritize quality and safety at each stage of the project. In this post, you will find straightforward tips to ensure quality on your next construction project.
Planning well is the ultimate requirement for any commercial construction project. However, planning is not just for the initial stages when contractors and subcontractors review the site location, finalize design measurements, discuss the scope of the project, and set goals. Planning should be done at each stage, reviewed, and revised before moving to implementation. Here are a few pointers to consider:
Every Stage Should Be Pre-Planned. Engineers and contractors should plan and design each stage of the project before the procurement. Use 3D technology or building information modeling software that allows you to foresee the project outcomes before lifting a finger. Such pre-planning is critical for preventing mistakes that waste time and resources.
Practice Continuous Auditing and Testing: During the planning stage, you and your team may have agreed upon various processes, the type of material to be used, and the construction budget. It’s critical to review the progress of these plans over time. For instance, contractors need to check for flawed designs and quality issues. Assign a team to assess the audit and test reports and make recommendations for rework/repairs. This will ensure that no quality concern is overlooked.
Keep a Check on Last Minute Changes: Though the construction team aims at sticking to the plan, changes at later stages can seriously affect the quality of the project outcomes and endanger their safety. Set clear deadlines for design alterations if any and set enough time for verifying and testing the changes suggested.
Document Changes in the Process: Many quality issues are directly related to the lack of adequate documentation of any change in the process. For instance, if a specific material is replaced with another that needs a completely different kind of maintenance, the change has to be documented. Failing to do so will lead to improper handling by the maintenance team. Make sure you work on a digital file management system where the team can update such changes.
Beware of Scope Creep. Unplanned expansions or scope creep can quickly snowball and negatively affect project delivery timelines and budget. It’s natural for contractors and architects to discover new facts on the go and propose changes. However, such unplanned changes can force the team to cut corners and compromise on the project quality. Hence, it’s wise to stick to the scope of the project.
Construction is a high-risk industry that exposes on-site workers to serious hazards, such as falls, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, and more. Hence, OSHA guidelines clearly emphasize creating a safe work environment for construction workers.
For instance, to ensure that the lighting on a job site is adequate, OSHA has outlined specific standards. The standard 29 CFR 1926.56 for commercial construction areas sets minimum requirements measured in foot candles. This allows workers to easily navigate the area while avoiding hazards.
So, if you install 300-Watt LED high bay lights, they will offer 50 foot candle illumination which is enough to cover walkways, general underground work areas, and other high-traffic zones of a construction site.
Secondly, it is critical to follow safety and compliance policies to avoid inadequate work or improper work. For instance, an overworked employee is likely to take shortcuts at work. Train your team to plan their work and take the required breaks to avoid such non-compliance.
Lack of communication is one of the top reasons why commercial construction firms aren’t able to deliver quality work. Miscommunication often precedes misapplication of techniques, use of mismatched materials, and failure to spot small issues before they turn big.
Before starting the project it’s critical to establish a clear communication flow between all the team members involved. Specific team members like foremen, labor, suppliers, and project managers should know what’s happening and pass out crucial information in time.
Further, contractors outside the project like manufacturers, electricians, HVAC experts, and carpenters should be involved in the planning phase.
For large commercial construction projects, keeping open lines of communication can be challenging. Hence, it’s wise to hire a professional project manager or a construction site manager who oversees each step of the process, relay messages to different teams, and fix problems on the go.
Once your plans are in place, it’s time to choose a skilled crew for the job. From selecting experience workers to reliable construction suppliers, you need to make sure that you have the right people on board.
This will save you a lot of heartburn in the future. For instance, failing to get reliable suppliers can land you with materials that are of cheap quality, compromising the quality of the project outcomes.
Also, it’s important to assign the relevant tasks to people with supervisors or foremen setting clear quality expectations.
KPMG recently surveyed 223 professionals from engineering and construction companies and project owners. The results showed that technology adoption will be key to making commercial construction firms future-ready and delivering quality.
When we talk about investing in technology, we do not mean a complete overhaul of processes. Technology should be leveraged to simplify processes and make them more efficient.
For instance, using time-tracking software to simplify scheduling and payroll system. This can be gradually scaled to include job management and GPS tracking.
Similarly, the construction domain is beginning to tap AI through robots, drones, cameras, and sensors. These technologically advanced tools are automating several tasks. For instance, enterprise and industry drones are making jobsites more efficient from pre-planning to final inspections.
There’s a lot that goes into delivering high-quality construction projects. Every person in the construction project team intends to offer top-notch quality services. Yet, large and complex commercial projects are often faced with obstacles that impact their quality. Follow the best practices shared in this post to deliver high-quality projects in the future.
Karen Lopez is a freelance content writer at marketing digest. With her keen interest in home decor and remodeling, she loves contributing insightful articles about the latest renovation trends in residential and commercial spaces. In her free time, she enjoys listening to jazz music and watching Netflix. Connect with her on LinkedIn.