In the construction industry, there are fundamental differences between quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC), and this knowledge must be imbibed by stakeholders, whether as the proprietor or contractor of an infrastructure project. It is likewise advantageous for people not technically involved in the construction industry, especially those newly embarking on establishing their own housing units, to understand and differentiate the two concepts to place in proper perspectives plans and expectations.
Basically, QA and QC have diverse objectives and purposes in the various phases of a construction project. During the design phase, the quality assurance team monitors the procedures that the construction firm has executed and guarantees that the design meets quality standards. Likewise, the QA group exacts parameters, rules in drawing preparation, revision, and approval, as well as criteria and specifications for the proposed materials in the drawings. On the other hand, quality control examines the qualifications of the technical experts designated to handle whether these match the specific skills required. QC team likewise ensures that the drawings bear the proper identification and signatures and that the materials for procurement have the accurate specifications.
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In the materials procurement phase, QA establishes a system of evaluation to discern who among the supplier-applicants have the means and the capability as well as the integrity to produce the specified quality. QA recommends whether personal calls to the potential supplier’s facilities are necessary, whether it has to establish a QA program or whether supplied materials have to put to the test. All of these recommendations have to be implemented by QC which likewise has to implement corrective actions if the quality of the delivered materials veers from the quality standards.
During the construction period, QA sets the initiative in setting the appropriate construction parameters. It installs a process of evaluating construction specifications or project descriptions to set up standards that will match the quality preferences of the client, as well as compliance with legal requirements and building permits. Quality control, meanwhile, is in charge of confirming that the materials used, and the corresponding output are all up to the design framework and standards ruled by the QA team. The QA may further require certain tests, for some construction processes and the materials, for which the QC bears the accountability to undertake.
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Hence, the application of QA systems and procedures provides the characteristics and quality standards of the completed infrastructure, while QC confirms, in a report, the compliance to the specified quality and standards.
Having obtained his degree in civil engineering from the Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and his master’s in civil engineering from Texas Tech University at Lubbock, Reddy Kancharla also logged more than 25 years of experience in projects involving civil construction, geotechnical consultation, construction QA/QC, including ten years of senior management experience. For more reads on civil engineering, click here.