A top-to-bottom commitment is required for quality. A construction project will not achieve the required quality standards if individual workers are not committed to producing a quality product. At the same time, even if the workers are committed and well-trained, the project will not achieve the desired quality if the Supervisors, Quality Engineers and the Project Manager aren’t committed to producing a quality product.
All workers and staff must take responsibility for producing the best quality product possible. Often on projects I see people blaming their tools, materials, equipment, the schedule, the Supervisor, or fellow workers for a poor quality product. Each individual must understand that they are personally responsible for the quality of the product they produce, and they shouldn’t play the ‘blame game’.
In saying this, management must also be mindful of how they influence the quality of the workmanship on the project, and what they can do to improve the quality culture, like sending craftsmen or Supervisors on appropriate training courses. They should also continually look at the construction process with a critical eye, to see if changes would improve the quality of the end product. Maybe the construction materials or equipment are genuinely substandard making it difficult for the workers to achieve the desired quality.
On many construction projects I see completed quality work being damaged by follow-on trades and contractors. All workers on the project should not only take pride in their work, but also in the work done by the others, and they should respect each other’s work. Taking a little extra care while working around completed work, and protecting it, will ensure it’s not damaged.
There should be a clear delegation of the ultimate responsibility for the quality of a task. Often I’ve had Engineers, or Supervisors, tell me that they weren’t responsible for the poor quality of their section of works and that it was the Quality Manager who was responsible. Obviously this is rubbish! Each construction Supervisor is responsible for everything within their section of works, including the quality of work and the materials used. Every section Engineer should be responsible for the quality of their section of the works. The Quality Engineer, or Quality Manager, is appointed to assist the Supervisors and section Engineers to monitor and record the quality, and to ensure the required quality systems are implemented and followed.
Poor quality construction work should not be accepted, and construction Project Managers must not pass by substandard work without taking action. This action may be to simply chide the responsible party for minor defects, but with serious breaches of quality, consideration should be given to implementing disciplinary procedures against the parties responsible.
(From the book 'Successful Construction Project Management; The Practical Guide' by Paul Netscher)