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Quality control and safety represent increasingly important concerns for project managers. This is because defects or failures in constructed facilities can result in the loss of very large costs. Even with minor defects, re-construction may be required and facility operations impaired. As a result, not only does it lead to increase costs but also delays the completion of the project.
Sometimes, failures may cause personal injuries or fatalities. Accidents during the construction process can similarly result in personal injuries and large costs. Indirect costs of insurance, inspection and regulation are increasing rapidly due to these increased direct costs. Good project managers try to ensure that the job is done right the first time and that no major accidents occur on the project.
Quality Concern in Building Constructions
The majority of crucial decisions regarding the quality of a completed building are made during the design and planning stages rather than during construction.
It is during these preliminary stages that component configurations, material specifications and functional performance are decided. Quality control during construction consists largely of insuring conformance to these original design and planning decisions.
Despite the fact that conformance to existing design decisions is the primary focus of quality control, there are certain factors that cause amendments in these decisions. For instance, unforeseen circumstances, incorrect design decisions or changes desired by an owner in the building function may require re-evaluation of design decisions during the course of construction.
Moreover, there are designs that rely upon informed and appropriate decision making during the construction process itself. Since such decisions are based on better information concerning actual site conditions, the structural design may be more cost effective as a result. Any special case of re-design during construction requires the various considerations.
With the attention to conformance as the measure of quality during the construction process, the specification of quality requirements in the design and contract documentation becomes extremely important. Quality requirements should be clear and verifiable, so that all parties in the project can understand the requirements for conformance.
Safety Concern in Building Constructions
Safety during the construction project is also influenced in large part by decisions made during the planning and design process. Some designs or construction plans are inherently difficult and dangerous to implement, whereas other, comparable plans may considerably reduce the possibility of accidents.
Beyond these design decisions, safety largely depends upon education, vigilance and cooperation during the construction process. Workers should be constantly alert to the possibilities of accidents and avoid taken unnecessary risks.
Construction is a relatively hazardous undertaking. There are significantly more injuries and lost workdays due to injuries or illnesses in construction than in virtually any other industry. These work-related injuries and illnesses are exceedingly costly.
Causes of Injuries in Construction
- Transportation incidents
- Exposure to harmful substances and environments
- Falls from a height
- Struck by a moving vehicle
- Struck by moving/falling object
- Trapped by something overturning/collapsing
Measures to Improve Safety in Construction Site
- Changing facility designs, particular structures can be safer or more hazardous to construct. For example, parapets can be designed to appropriate heights for construction worker safety, rather than the minimum height required by building codes.
- Choice of technology can also be critical in determining the safety of a jobsite. Safeguards built into machinery can notify operators of problems or prevent injuries.
- Materials and work process choices also influence the safety of construction. For example, substitution of alternative materials for asbestos can reduce or eliminate the prospects of long-term illnesses such as asbestiosis.
- Educating workers and managers in proper procedures and hazards can have a direct impact on jobsite safety.
- Regular safety inspections and safety meetings have become standard practices on most job sites.
- Pre-qualification of contractors and sub-contractors with regard to safety is another important avenue for safety improvement.
- During the construction process itself, the most important safety related measures are to insure vigilance and cooperation on the part of managers, inspectors and workers.
- Vigilance involves considering the risks of different working practices. In also involves maintaining temporary physical safeguards such as barricades, braces, guylines, railings, toeboards and the like.
- Sets of standard practices are also important for instance hard hats, eye protection, hearing protection near loud equipment, ensuring safety shoes for workers, and providing first-aid supplies and trained personnel on site.