With every project comes the potential exposure to construction defect losses. Having a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program, however, can help reduce this exposure. Three program elements to consider are: program administration and documentation, a subcontractor selection process and contractual risk transfer (CRT).
A number of factors comprise program administration and documentation, such as management commitment and responsibility, design and codes, and documentation, to name a few.
Management Commitment and Responsibility
Your program should begin with management commitment and include responsibility for program administration and enforcement. A few considerations include:
Material selection, storage and handling should include inspection, evaluation and documentation/retention confirming that materials comply with building codes, design specifications and national standards. This should be done both before and after installation. A few additional considerations include:
Design and Codes
A complete and final approved set of current contract drawings and specifications, including design changes, should be in hand before work begins. Be sure to include building codes for your jurisdiction and accepted engineering best practices.
Installations should be reviewed, tested, approved and documented. The person inspecting (you, the subcontractor or a third-party inspector) must be qualified to make the inspection and should do so at several phases, including:
Following the latest approved design documents, product/manufacturer directions and using specified and approved materials can help the quality of the workmanship. Do not substitute materials unless the substitutions are approved by the design team in writing.
Documentation and Retention of Documentation
Many types of documents are created in the course of a project. Thorough documentation, including of verbal changes and retention of the documents, can play an important role in the event of a construction defect loss, which may occur years later. A common mistake is not fully documenting verbal changes made in the field. Consult legal counsel for state retention requirements where your project exists.
Subcontractors play a significant role in the workmanship and quality outcome of your project. To help select quality workers for your project, start by having a subcontractor evaluation and selection process and program in place. Such a program could include:
Contractual risk transfer (CRT) is a program designed to help protect you against potential liability for the actions, services or products of other companies/persons associated with your project. Consult with your insurance agent and legal counsel for recommendations and review. A few considerations include:
While many companies have a QA/QC program in place, it is only good if it is used. Keeping it updated and documented, selecting the right subcontractors, having contractual risk transfer in place and enforcing accountability for utilization of the program can help make the difference between a quality project and one that has issues, potentially damaging your hard-earned reputation.
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