Quality Control And Documentation In Construction Construction Essay

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Quality, Procedures Documentation have been the principle of order in construction but as the years have gone by and with the decline in the economy these principles have been overlooked by the utility team, consulting team and contractor.

The vast technology being used has also come into question but the problem areas that have been highlighted were, Bribery of the consulting team to approve work that is below satisfactory with the specification just to save money and speed up the process. Contractors following the correct procedures for documents needed to verify that the structure is safe for the use of the public. Quality in the Concrete and durability (incidents of structural failure)

The methodology I plan to use in solving this problem is:

Research on the percentage and realism of bribery in construction.

Research on the procedures and documents needed to pronounce a building viable for use or occupation.

I shall collect my information through the internet , through conducting interviews with my mentor and construction companies who have faced such problems , and reading books and articles on past quality problems that come up in the past.

In conclusion I believe the quality and documents issue in construction should be given more attention by the correct authorities to prevent law suits and deaths of innocent lives in the future.


Quality control and safety represent increasingly important concerns for project managers. Defects or failures in constructed facilities can result in very large costs. Even with minor defects, re-construction may be required and facility operations impaired. Increased costs and delays are the result. In the worst case, 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 leaders try to ensure that the job is done right the first time and that no major accidents occur on the project

As with cost control, the most important decisions regarding the quality of a completed facility 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

Quality assurance in construction activities guides the use of correct structural design, specifications and proper materials ensuring that the quality of workmanship by the contractor /sub-contractor is achieved and finally maintaining the structure after construction is complete through periodic assessments maintenance and repairs. Quality control has to be imposed by the

Contractor whereas quality assurance is carried out by separate

third party agency engaged by the owner.


The role of complete and accurate documentation procedures is important in the construction industry as a means of reducing risk. Thorough documentation can be critical when mounting a legal defence against construction defect claims/lawsuits and may limit the extent of liability in the event that a judgment is awarded.

In the event of legal action evidence of the exact circumstances surrounding a dispute as well as conversations that took place may be required. It is advisable to keep concise notes regarding any dispute so that a written record can be drawn upon if needed.

Completing accurate documentation is important in the construction industry as a means of reducing risk. The value of documentation when mounting a legal defence against defect claims and lawsuits is discussed. To limit potential liability, take pictures before, during and after construction to document defects or damage. Important inclusions in the documentation program are explored.

The Inspector's Duties

While on the job, the inspector should keep an eye out for improper procedures and sloppy work.

A few items to look for include:

• Improper thrust blocking (e.g., using unopened bags of mortar or concrete)

• Waterline being bent beyond allowable radius

• Improper or lack of pipe bedding

• Bad alignment between manholes

• Leaking manholes (e.g. no sealant)

• Inappropriate backfill material (e.g. big rocks)

• Inadequate compaction

• Wrong pipe material

• No drainage for fire hydrants

• Inadequate clearances with other utility lines (particularly sewer, but also electric and gas lines)

• Customer lawn restorations

Communication, and Command

Because of so many teams that have a role in a construction project, there could be one inspector representing each of the following:

• Funding Team

• Permit Team

• Project engineer

• Utility team (client)

An inspector should be allocated for each construction crew. In other words, if the contractor has six different project throughout the utility system, it would be to the contractors advantage to have six inspectors, so one inspector does not have to go from project to project and run the risk of missing something. This may seem costly but it will generally pay off in the long run.

Communication is essential for a construction project whether you have one inspector or 10. Good communication has to be coordinated with all those involved in the project including the lead inspector, the project engineer, the utility system, the permit team, and the contractor. Public meetings may also be required or desirable. This is a lot of people and to communicate effectively there needs to be a set chain of command. Establishing a chain of command is easier said than done. The permit agency or utility system (the client) would normally dictate, but the funding agency holds the purse strings. The channels of communication and chain of command should be spelled out at the very first project or pre-bid meeting, and should be in writing. Agreeing on this arrangement before the construction starts will make it much easier once the project gets going.

To be able to have good communication you must assemble everyone in one place, such as weekly construction meetings and monthly

project meetings. The lead inspector may want to updates from the other inspectors and contractor on a daily basis.

Concrete Plant

1. Central Mix

2. Transit Mix

3. Truck Mix

Transporting in a truck mixer at agitating speed of 2-6 rpm

Transporting in a truck mixture

with stationery drum

Construction Site

Truck Inspection


Truck Sticker /

Computer print out

Operating states of gauges

Elapsed Time

For 1 & 2 - 90 minutes max -Structural

- 60 minutes max -Pavement

For 3 - 30 minutes max -Regular

-90 minutes max - Layered


For 1 & 2

30 mixing revolutions

Minimum - 100

Maximum - 160

For 3,

Add design water

Minimum - 100 mixing revolutions

Maximum - 15 minutes

Acceptance Test


Air content (8%)

Temp 12-24d

Pumping or Conveying equipment

Conventional Equipment

Discharge Operation

Cylinder tests sampling

(minimum 2 cylinders per truck

24 hrs air curing

Curing box

Examples of Structural Failure

Picture 1

Picture 2

The Ellis Brown Viaduct Bridge in the M4 highway over the Umgeni River is a typical example of an un-unjustifiable Structural failure in South Africa (Kwazulu-Natal , Durban)

The pedestrian walkway collapsed into the Umgeni River and the city's head Engineer Adrian could only say that the bridge had reached its life cycle and that the sea and the corrosive environment could be one of the reasons.

The Ellis Brown Viaduct bridge was constructed in the 1950's and as per City's engineer was inspected on yearly intervals. The Beams connecting the pedestrian walkway to the main bridge was connected by a mechanical linking system which was made of brass alloy but was later replaced with stainless steel , this could've been another unseen role that affected the Ellis Brown Viaduct Bridge .

4.Case Study

With the help of an anonymous Engineer and interviewing the general workers who were involve in a contraction site in Umtata (Eastern cape )

A concrete slab collapsed on a building site killing a man and injuring 7 ,

It was a suspended concrete (25Mpa) and a different kind of shuttering was used instead of your traditional shuttering and secondly the contractor was said to have used his own concrete, mixed onsite which meant the specified strength wasn't met and cube tests were not done ,and when the shuttering was removed that's when the slab collapsed on top of the workers .

Some causes of the structural defaults according to Dr Roderick Rankine

(South African and Engineer and expert in construction materials )were:

Limited knowledge or experience by the professional team

Contractors wanting to save money

Unskilled labour

4.1Example of a docked screed test that was passed by Engineers due to bribes.

Test Area


Category (refer Table2











































TABLE 2: screed-strength acceptance limits using the "BRE-screed tester"

Maximum permissible depth of indentation after dropping the mass four times (mm)

Strength Category




Areas expected to take relatively heavy traffic and /or where any disruption at a later date would be unacceptable.

Examples are hospital operating suites and corridors; rooms requiring microbe - or dust-free environment



Public areas such as lift lobbies, circulation areas within shops, foyers, canteens and restaurants. Public rooms in residential accommodation.

Hospital wards



Offices, consulting rooms, domestic premises.


A questionnaire was sent out to 5 construction companies and the results below reflect how bribery is becoming a norm to acquire projects in construction.


Still do not

Bribe their

Way into



25% bribe

In the post tender


In the figure above it is shown that :

25% do not give out bribes to acquire work

25% give out bribes in the post tender stage

50% give out bribes in tender stage

As (Mr George R.G Clarke in THE EFFECT OF CORRUPTION ON COMPETITION FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS) Corruption is more of a problem in the construction industry than it is in other industries. One reason for this is that construction firms interact more with government officials than other firms do. The award of government-financed construction contracts in particular gives large opportunities for bribe demands and offers.


Assuring Good Quality Control

The lead inspector for the project needs to have the authority to make some important calls on the job even to shut it down if necessary.

Don't be a passive inspector and just observe make calls and point things

Out and if you have a question about the project, the first thing to refer to are the plans and specifications.

The old adage states that the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, and location. Similarly with quality control, the inspector has to remember three important things: document, document, and document. This is also known as good record keeping. When dealing with a problem, put it in writing (usually addressed to the utility Team) making everyone else a copy of the letter. Some of the best tools that can be used for documentation:


paper and

a daily logbook.

Make sure the inspector has a logbook that is weather resistant.

Another good idea is to note the names of the people involved or those that are on the site each day. Be very specific especially when there is a problem. It is a good idea to take pictures before, during, and after construction to compare.