Construction Quality Management in 2023

By Jim Stephen | BIM

For construction projects to be successful, they need appropriate quality management controls from start to finish. This improves business relationships, minimizes costs and mistakes, and prevents project rework or late delivery. It’s always good to know the general construction industry overview, but it’s also very useful to know what quality management is, why it’s important, and how you can improve it in your own projects.

What Is Construction Quality Management?

Construction quality management is a management system intended to serve as quality control throughout a construction process. Successful project management has to ensure quality assurance so that everyone from leadership to subcontractors adheres to the applicable quality standards involved with the project. Inspections that verify all of this should happen internally and externally.


Specific tests might happen for things ranging from concrete stiffness and weld quality to soil compaction and more. These tests might happen during work, but they might also happen after work is complete. Exceptions are made for particular materials.


Some testing and quality management have to happen before construction even begins. It’s necessary to check out the building materials in advance to prevent unnecessary incidents. Likewise, final project inspections ascertain whether the finished work is both compliant and cost-effective.

Why Is Quality Management Important in Construction?

The right quality control plan is crucial in the construction industry because it’s a basis for your project to be successful in the end. By stating your specific quality requirements, following a quality management system, and doing the proper auditing, you can put your organization in the same place as the best construction companies who know that a quality management plan is always important. Failing to have one can result in problems you don’t want or need, including builds that don’t stand the test of time, defects in workmanship, numerous construction changes, and confusion or lack of communication between parties.


Quality control aligns strongly with cost control, and both are things that the right construction industry software can help you with. Using technological and software solutions makes advanced planning easier to accomplish but also makes it more likely to implement those early quality standard decisions as the project carries on. If you’re not sure what kind of software to look at, then Autodesk Build is a good place to start.


Quality control is also important in terms of project safety. Failures and defects can be expensive, but they can also turn into potential safety hazards where trade partners handle redoing work in conditions that are not ideal. Accidents are always a risk, but proper quality control can help minimize and manage them.


The final benefit of quality control in any construction effort is simply getting the best possible outcome. No one wants to go through a laborious project only to get mediocre results. Not only will you risk making your current client unsatisfied, but you might also risk your reputation and ability to generate business in the future.

What Is the Difference Between Quality Management and Quality Assurance?

Everyone from on-site superintendents to stakeholders should want quality work to be a crucial element in every stage of the project life cycle. Management software should always generate a punch list of the remaining tasks, but nonconformance shouldn’t be tolerated in any task, finished, in progress, or yet to be started.

Quality assurance and quality management are both crucial to accomplishing all of this, but they’re not entirely identical. Many professionals use these two terms interchangeably. In many cases, that might be okay. There is certainly a lot of overlap between the two concepts. However, they’re not totally synonymous.

Quality assurance is also known as QA. These responsibilities and activities correspond to the entire system or project. They are intertwined with every single aspect of your construction.


On the other hand, quality control is known as QC. The overwhelming majority of QC activities are more of a subset of what’s involved with quality assurance. These are still important, but they are more likely to focus on specific construction elements or tasks.


Quality assurance focuses on instilling confidence in stakeholders that listed quality requirements are going to be met, and this applies internally to managers and externally to clients, certifiers, regulators, government personnel, and other relevant third parties. Meanwhile, quality control emphasizes the specific steps that fulfill the designated quality requirements, such as how a product is made. In short, quality assurance is more about communication while quality control is more about the inspection.

What Are the 3 Phases of Quality Control?

Your job site is no different from other construction sites that need to stick to ISO standards and quality control procedures. Your specific benchmarks and quality issues might vary from the assessments that others do, but everyone needs to make sure their work is cost-effective so it’s profitable and acceptable to clients. In general, you should always follow a three-phase system of quality control.

The three phases of construction project quality control include the preparatory phase, the initial phase, and the follow-up phase. These should happen in order, as they rely on each other in proper sequence. Each has definable features that contribute to the comprehensive quality control of the overall project.


In the preparatory phase, the quality control team needs to review all the tasks at hand. Testing and inspection requirements are stipulated during this time. Workers need to learn all safety precautions and undergo appropriate training if need be.


The initial phase is when you should verify that personnel meets the necessary requirements for the work that they are specifically assigned. Also, verify that your job site is safe for all planned work. Once you have the first representative work sample when work commences, be sure that contract requirements are being adhered to.


The final phase is the follow-up phase. This actually starts while work is still in progress, despite its name. Be sure all requirements are consistently met, and continue verifying work is successful until project completion.

What Are the 4 Main Stages of Project Quality Management?

Construction quality management processes that most construction firms use can typically be broken down into four main stages that team members can follow. Whether it’s the first time you use them or you’re looking for continuous improvement, these can help you avoid needless follow-up if you have finished work already.

The four main stages of project quality management include initiating, planning, execution and implementation, and closure.

The initiation phase is when you define the project in terms of resources, goals, and scope. Clarify the budget, and determine goals using the SMART method of specificity, measurements, achievability, relevance, and timeline. Decide what team size you need, and assign roles to various professionals involved.


During your planning phase, you’ll move from your overall roadmap to deciding concrete details, and they might be as specific as deciding who will lay concrete and when. Start doing risk calculations, and establish change processes you might need when things go awry. You should have assembled some or all of your team during the initiation phase, but the planning phase is when you decide what they will all do and what quality standards they need to adhere to.


Most of the physical labor and actual work will happen during the phase of executing and completing tasks. Project quality management will happen at three different levels here. Training and resource quality should be verified before certain tasks start, audits ensure ongoing tasks are happening properly, and follow-up inspections make sure finished tasks were done right.


The closing phase concludes all your project activities. As you turn your finished product over to its owners, assess how things went. Quality management that went right is something to celebrate with them, but anything that didn’t go well needs to be addressed for both the client and future projects.

Tips to Improve Quality in Construction Projects

One of the hardest parts of construction project management can be decision-making about improving your quality objectives. The quality of the project should be evident long before project delivery, and construction quality control needs to work down from project managers to individual subs and their workmanship. Fortunately, you can do several things to improve the quality of any construction project.

First of all, define the quality requirements. Know the standards you should expect and apply to each project step. Documentation helps everyone get on the same page, so assemble and distribute relevant materials for clarification among all stakeholders and professionals.

Make sure that all training requirements are fulfilled. Identify the professionals responsible for each step, and be sure they know the procedures, requirements, and standards to follow. It’s on them to keep their own subordinates informed about all applicable standards.


Project quality assessments should happen on an ongoing basis. Appoint one person to oversee plan compliance, ranging from materials and work practices to the actual finished work. Quality control procedures shouldn’t just make sure a project meets standards but hopefully exceeds them.

INDUSTRIES: Construction

Published on January 13, 2023 in .

About the Author

Jim Stephen is the Construction Industry, Account Executive at Microsol Resources. He supports construction professionals across the U.S. He focuses on solutions that improve workflow, enhance margins, and reduce risks through software adoption.