What to Look For in Construction Quality Assurance Software
Have the traditional methods you’ve been using to track and store construction quality assurance (QA) documentation become too time-consuming and unreliable, with too much costly rework cutting into your ROI? Or perhaps you just want to bring more order to the complex QA process of your equally complex, large-scale projects?
These are needs that can shine a light on the significant role quality assurance plays in construction, and the direct impact it has on your schedule, budget and efficiency metrics. It all comes down to how it is managed. Adopting construction quality assurance software to streamline the entire process, from planning to commissioning, can up the quality factor considerably. Finding the right solution for your company will depend on what your unique needs are. To get you started, let’s take a look at some must-have capabilities.
A single source of truth
Construction quality assurance is all about procedures and documentation – a lot of documentation. This includes quality control procedures; inspection, compliance and quality control testing checklists; closeout requirements; change orders; turnover packages; vendor information; site crew qualifications and a host of other supporting documents. Trying to find or access those documents when you need them can eat up precious time and risk project delays if they’re not easily located. So, your software should be able to house all documentation in one place that serves as a reliable single source of truth, where all the latest data and project files are stored. Having one platform for everything offers some key benefits. It reduces the time it takes to search for needed documents. Streamlines capturing and updating checklist items without risk of data entry errors. Prevents a lengthy defect liability phase resulting from incomplete or missing documentation. And provides a reliable, organised digital ‘paper trail’ in the event of an audit.
All that documentation won’t mean much if it isn’t, or can’t be, shared with team members and other stakeholders, right? It needs a way to make it to those who need it, when they need it. Skip the inefficient, disconnected emailing, texting and faxing. Your construction quality assurance software – the centralised platform that stores and processes your documentation – should also act as a communication and collaboration hub to share urgent quality control issues, hazardous site conditions, change orders and inspection reports in real-time. Think of what that means to productivity and error reduction. For example, someone notices a site hazard and records it in the platform right away, so there’s less chance of potential injury occurring that could result in an OSHA violation or insurance claim. A regular QA walk-through reveals a minor flaw and the appropriate craftspeople are notified for a quick fix. An urgent change has to be made and can now be ‘pushed’ out via a notification system to the site crew to adjust their plans accordingly. Or, a critical defect is discovered during an inspection, but immediately looping in the impacted parties via the software allows everyone to decide together on a remedy – before it has a chance to create a bigger delay or evolve into a costlier problem that threatens the project’s overall completion date.
The online form builder
It’s one thing to store and share that documentation, but what about actively tracking all the QA activities? Standard forms in the construction quality assurance software help ensure all internal tests, audits and inspections are conducted the same way, collecting the same kind of data. Nothing gets forgotten. But what about those unique or particularly complex projects that come your way? This is where online form builder functionality can give you a huge advantage. Those projects may benefit from regular quality checks using customised forms to verify that progress is aligning with the design, building codes, compliance and owner requirements. You can even create your own safety and maintenance checklists for projects requiring speciality construction equipment. Customisable templates make the QC process – as outlined in your QA plan – a much more streamlined, predictable process.
24/7 accessibility in the Cloud
To get the most out of the above must-haves, there’s one more thing your construction quality assurance software needs: make sure it’s based on Cloud technology that makes everything accessible 24/7 to anyone on your team, from anywhere they have an internet connection, from any mobile or desktop device. Just think of how this would streamline the typically arduous quality, inspection and commissioning processes. Using a smartphone or tablet, an inspector or QA team member can note defects and anything out of compliance on a customised form, upload a photograph for reference, then alert the contractor and/or site crew right away for faster resolution before it becomes a larger, last-minute-scramble issue. Not only that, but as your project progresses, the amount of proliferating data and documentation – especially for capital projects and other substantial builds – will have a safe, secure place to live in the Cloud. No need to worry about file sizes the way you would if those items were stored on your company’s server or individual computer.
Whatever the solution you choose, without a plan on which to base it, you won’t experience its full power. Because QA is all about managing risk, you’ll need to create a solid construction QA plan to follow throughout the project if you haven’t already done so. That plan outlines the procedures necessary for preventing issues and defects and informs the schedule of activities for all teams, so they know what they’re working toward.
When you’ve narrowed down your list of solutions to explore, take the time to demo each one to see if it will work for you. InEight would be happy to take you through our construction quality assurance software, Compliance, which also handles commissioning and turnover processes. We understand the importance of a solid QA process and its impact on the rest of your project. That’s why our solutions are created by construction professionals, for construction professionals like you.
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