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In the contemporary, China has embarked upon ever-accelerated economic era, accompany with which there are mass of infrastructure constructions have been being built. In fact, the most of constructions on the world are built in China every year. More than 2 billion squares area is built annually, which means China exhausts nearly 40% of concrete and steel all over the world (Duxiao, 2010). Under this consequence, the construction industry in China has played an increasing role in both improving people's life and enhancing the competitiveness of China.
However, with the advent of lots of construction projects, there are more and more events about low quality constructions happened nowadays in China. On the sixth conference of international environmental protection recently, the vice minister of ministry of housing and town construction, Qiu, said that, which has been thrown into sharp focus, the actual use age of most constructions in China is only 25-30 years, rather than 50 years as they are designed (Duxiao, 2010). That is to say, huge as the amount of projects in China, a great deal of them should be repaired or demolished roughly 20 years before the year they designed to be out of service, which would not only give rise to the waste of construction resources, but also infringe upon the rights of the dwellers.
In addition, as what is reported, the villas in Yiwu of china , which cost million Yuan, were found that the steels used in the balconies have been replaced by bamboo. It is more noticeable that all of these villas have passed the final completion inspection and been sold as commercial residential buildings.
From what is concerned above, it shows that the further the construction industry in china develops, more serious problems turn out. It is a matter of great urgency to create a more efficient quality control system. My research contributes to knowledge about controlling the quality in construction in China, and specifically the methods to improve the low qualified situation in construction through an in-depth analysis.
1.2 classifications and importance in quality control of construction
The quality control systems could be classified into 2 categories according to 2 stages: design stage and construction stage. Initially, designers should calculate exactly every step of the construction, which include designing the whole construction with considering the situation which could affect the quality of the constructions, such as water, wind, soil, weather¼›Arranging the coordination schedule for construction execution plan. On the other hand, when it comes to construction stage, there are also several electors which could make both positive and negative influence on construction quality. For instance, site layout-reasonable layout would guarantee the coordination and ensure the supply for constructing, and avoid delay of some work stage, which might reduce the use age of constructions.
A construction is involved with variety of aspects, which is a complicated progress. If just one stage doesn't meet the requirement and standard, there is possibility that a potential problem that might suffer serious consequences in the future would exist. Further more, construction projects, which vary from project to project, are unlike the other industry produce with regular equipments, stable conditions for producing and standardized stages and detection technology. On the contrary, differences in material, time control or weather condition would lower the quality of the construction. To make the matters worse, if some problems are found when the construction has been built, most of them are impossible to be pulled down and rebuilt. Lots of them will be put into use with those hidden dangers. Therefore, the quality control plays an important part in constructing and should be paid more attention.
2. 1. Types of organization in quality control management
As the development of construction area and the fierce competition form international construction industries, the construction industry in china is confronted with challenges. The reasonable type of quality control organization will become a crucial subject in future.
Actually, there are mainly four types of organization on the world.
It means clients or the client employee manage the projects. When the clients have sufficient quality management experience, knowledge and professional engineers, this type will take advantages. Initially, they will prevent the benefit of clients to most extent. However, most of clients or Clients Companies don't have those capacities to control the quality by themselves. Thus, this type isn't the usual method for quality control over the world nowadays.
In some countries, the quality management is taken charge of by architects and engineers from design companies. They can monitor the construction progress according the design exactly, due to the fact that they are familiar with the whole project and details. However, when the projects become more and more complicated, the design companies are incapable to manage the quality of projects.
Client chooses a management contractor from construction organizations to take responsibility for the project. In the design stage, they are the consultants of the clients, holding abundant experience and knowledge. Therefore, they assist client to avoid delay of construction progress and reduce the construction schedule .In the construction stage, they monitor the progress and connect the clients to construction organizations. What's more, management contractors take charge of control the whole project, including quality control, investment calculation and so on.
Supervision company management
They are independent and professional companies for project quality management, supplying clients with management service from project assumption, feasibility research, geo-tech survey, invitation of tender to final completion inspection. But they just supervise the quality of constructing instead of the total project from design stage to construction stage. Provided that some quality problems are on account of designing, it would be hard to find them and change the design when constructing.
In fact, the quality control system in China belongs to the 4th method- supervision company management. Although it is the 3rd part which doesn't have relationship with either the client or the construction company, there are still lots of venality events happened. Under the consequence, supervision part getting fixed superintendence fee from the client accept bribes from construction part. They admit that the quality of some parts of construction fail standards, if the problems are not serious to lead to a disaster.
2.2 main factors that affect the quality in projects
The construction industry in China is advancing at an amazing rate. A host of infrastructures and commercial dwellings are and will be planed to be built. Moreover, the estate market in China is experiencing an increase, still hasn't hit the peak. But accompany with the increasing demand have come some sufferings, Which very prominent among them is that business objects tend to pursue the greatest benefit, which sometimes is at the cost of the quality of construction, rather than consider for clients' benefit. Besides the uncompleted quality monitoring system, professistruction management, there are also other factors affecting the construction quality.
2.2.1 Method of tender
Actually, most promoters of projects in China choose the construction part by means of tender. They usually draft a base price limit on bids, and compare the price with the ones from the tender construction companies. At the most time, they prefer the construction company with the lowest price within the limits of regulations and laws. As a consequence, the construction companies have no alternative but to cut down the tender price, even sometimes lower than the actual price needed, in order to have an advantage over the other competitors. When they success to get the right of constructing, they have to use inferior materials and turn out sub-standard products to retrieve the profit.
2.2.2 Uncompleted regulations and laws for punishments
In the quality control of construction, there have been lots of regulations and laws to regular every stage of constructing, which actually don't work. That is because the construction organization won't obtain profit, or only gain a low profit if every step meets the requirement of variety of regulations and laws. It is worth mentioning that there are not completed laws and regulations impose heavy fine and crack down on illegal constructing actions. The government just focus on the constructions disasters have occurred on and ignore the projects with little quality problems. The construction organizations aren't punished for those low- quality projects, and even they usually delay the rework, shielded by authority. Therefore, supervisors taking a chance of the projects allow construction organizations to use low quality material or pass some unqualified inspections.
2.2.3 Uncompleted and low- tech quality test
The quality tests nowadays couldn't prove the quality fact of constructions. A case in point is that supervisors just drill the samples from reinforced concrete columns by means of random inspection instead of testing every and each part of the columns, which is also possible to be forged, owing to the lack of high technology for test the total construction with a low cost.
And meanwhile, the quality test system for forecasting quality problems on constructions is uncompleted as well. Initially, it is reported that there is a dwelling in Zhejiang Province with the thinnest floor slabs, which are just 7.8 cm, 4 cm thinner than its design. This problem is found after they are handed over to clients and will cost both money and time to demolish the floor slabs, impacting the benefit of the construction company. As a result, the construction part that is winked at and shielded by quality monitoring authority just indemnify clients limited money without rework.
Apart from that, the quality of constructions in China is afflicted with several other elements, such as the inexperienced supervisors, unreasonable schedule arrangement and so on. As the arrival of global economic, Chinese construction industry will suffer from those drawbacks, if they don't take efficient measures to improve the condition.
Nowadays, there are millions of people engaged in the construction industry, houses accounting for several billions square meters area completed, and more than thousands of billions Yuan invested in and operated as fixed assets every year in China. What's more, the construction market of China is being flooded with more complicated projects, more challenges, and also more competitive multinational construction companies. As the construction business turns out globalized, domestic constructions industry will be confronted with fierce competitions if they can't take a firm hand to restrain the increase of vicious quality accidents. Therefore, it is of great significance to improve the quality control system in China.
3.1. Analysis of reasonable quality control system for construction industry in China
As what is concerned in the second chapter, client management, designer management, management contractor and supervision company management are the main methods for quality control management over the world.
3.1.1. Client management and designer management
Actually, at some extent, client management and designer management are efficient methods for quality control. For the first one, clients take responsibility for themselves directly, which exclude the fact that the quality control part take bribery and conceal the truth that some part of project is unqualified. But there are also some drawbacks. Most of clients in China have no capacity or experience to monitor the quality of the constructions by themselves, especially for the clients of economic dwellings-the most common mode for Chinese dwellings.
When it comes to the 2nd method, comparing with the former, designer management takes disadvantage in sense of responsibility and initiative. However it is noticeable that designing institutes taking charge of quality control of a project do great job in progress of constructing, achievement of the original plan and quality control. Under this consequence, only design engineers who are familiar with the whole projects are up to the standard to take control the quality of projects. Meanwhile there are few design engineers in china could take into account both designing and quality monitoring. It makes no sense if the design institutes send their supervision departments instead of the design engineers.
In fact, these two systems don't match the construction situation in china, although they are efficient systems for quality control under the special conditions.
3.1.2. Management contractor and supervision company management
Management contractor and supervision company management have some common connections essentially. The system of management contractor includes both design stage and construction stage, on the other side; the supervision company management mainly takes part in quality control in construction stage. Actually, at the beginning, the system of supervision company management in China is enacted with the aim of overall stages in projects, including material purchase, financing, drawing up construction plans, quality control of constructing, and property management after constructing. But the difference is that both of the private and state- owned developers in China refuse to pass all the power to supervision companies, which lead to the division in rights of quality control and responsibility.
A comparison in point is that the use ago of houses in UK is mostly higher than the one in China, due to the fact that the system of quality control is management contractor. Initially, the contractor should take responsibility for the whole life of the constructions, not only in their construction stages, but also in their use stage. Put it into other word, if there is any quality problem for the constructions in the future, the contractor should mend or even rebuild the project, which would give rise to a huge loss in both frame and finance. On the contrary, the supervision company management which is common in China now usually treats the quality found before the constructing or after completion negatively. As a consequence, the model of contractors benefits to build high-quality project.
When it comes to the situation in China, it will become a tendency to import the management model of contractors, which would gradually take place of the management model of supervision companies nowadays. It demonstrates the great progress in construction industry in China and does great job in connecting with the international construction industry. Whereas, changing the quality management system is a long-time project. It isn't time to transform the supervision company system completely, instead of which, we should search for methods to improve the system we have adopt.
3.2. Other measures
As the increasing improvement of housing conditions and construction of infrastructure, state-owned and private developers flood into the Chinese construction industry. Therefore, under the complicated environment in quality management, some quality problems are aggravated. Besides the change in quality management system, whether there are other measures has been come into notice.
3.2.1Functions of government
The government of china should complete the monitoring and estimate regulations, change the main monitor quality method with random test, and impose rigid censorship.
First and foremost, government should enhance overall awareness of members in authority department towards fairness and transparency in construction quality tests by means of instruction and publicity.
Secondly, quality monitoring department of the government should enact itineration and random tests in constructions. It is important that the test should be transparent to the public, and both of the tests and the inspectors should be monitored by the public and national agency.
In addition, to some construction invested by the government, relative leaders should take responsibility to the quality problems in constructions. Whenever quality problems happen, the relative leader in the government should be investigated in venality problem and invention decision failure.
Finally, enacting laws and regulations to impose heavy fine on design companies or construction companies, which depends on the fault leading to low-quality constructions. Especially when the quality problems are found after the completion of projects, government needs to make laws to supervise the maintain responsibility.
Put all into a nut, the government plays a crucial role in quality control in constructions. Efficient monitoring and supervision from authority could retrain the causes of quality problems in constructions in the whole country, which will benefit to reduce of social resources waste.
3.2.2 Strengthen the quality education and qualification assess of employers in construction industry
Most of supervisors in china are retired civil engineers and graduators from universities. To the formers, they are full of experience in constructing, but lack of the passion and ability to learn new knowledge. To the later, they have professional knowledge without experience and ability of coordinating the quality control in constructions. Furthermore, both of them lack of risk awareness in quality management ignore the quality test in constructing. In detail, there is an overall awareness that constructions are designed with extended quotients, and there are no problems if the quality of constructions doesn't match the standards of the government. Therefore, they begin to indulge some actions that pose potential threats to the quality of constructions.
Although most of supervisors should be trained before a project begins, they are still lack of reeducation when a project is being constructed. There could be specialized assess system to examine them upon their quality management knowledge. At the same time, they also should take lessons about professional ethics and sense of career responsibility. If the supervisors have overall quality managing capacity, it won't take long time to carry out the management contractor system.
Taking the material buyer as an example, they should be trained to master the techniques in refine suitable construction material from low-quality one, take responsibility to their career, and have ability of distinguish credible suppliers. Needless to say that the builders, who know a little about quality control in construction, should be trained during the part time in constructing.
The combination of education, spiritual incentives and material incentives should play a partial role in culturing excellent construction members. Cultivating construction talents is a sustainable method to protect projects from low quality. As a consequence, rational, qualified and purposeful workers could contribute to building high-quality projects, which would step into a virtuous cycle.
From the above discussion on quality control of construction in China, it rapidly becomes clear that the study should be paid more attentions. Quality control in construction is a complicated and permanent subject. Here I have discussed this subject from problems and reasons to advice and solutions. Accompanying all the boons brought about by the profound social changes have come variety of sufferings; and the serious quality problems in construction is very prominent among them. What's more, with the incidence of collapse of low qualified buildings hovering at high levels, many have become disturbed and alarm, it admits no delay to analyze the causes and find solutions for the problems.