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Quality management in construction needs proactive approach


INDIANAPOLIS — Applying safety management techniques to quality management programs can enhance quality and mitigate construction defect losses, according to experts speaking Wednesday at the 2017 IRMI Construction Risk Conference in Indianapolis.

“We have heard the notion that if safety is managed well on a project, quality will follow along. We don’t necessarily believe in that concept. There may be some truth to that, but if safety is managed well you will get good results in safety, but you will also have to manage quality well to get good results from quality,” said Bruce Wiesner, Mason, Ohio-based senior risk engineering construction consultant at Zurich North America, speaking at a session of the annual gathering sponsored by the International Risk Management Institute Inc.

The challenge with quality management is that is that there is no industry statistical data for construction defects, according to Mr. Wiesner. “Contractors have relied on themselves to track their own statistics, we have to rely on it as carriers, you as brokers and insurers. There is nothing out there to help us really understand where the whole industry is at,” he said.

The construction industry is reactive when it comes to quality versus being proactive when it comes to safety. Experts say that the industry needs to adopt the same proactive approach when it comes to safety.

When it comes to safety, financial support from organization is important, as well as support from the CEO, rewarding and recognizing the staff, and upper management leading by example. This is also applicable to the quality side, according to experts.

“It so important to have upper management involved in the development of the program, the implementation of the program, and quality has to brought to the forefront. When you sit in your monthly forecast reviews … quality should be on that list. It should be tracked, the data should be analyzed at same level as we do for safety,” said Bill Bennington, Denver-based national quality manager for PCL Construction Enterprises Inc.