2
QUALITY AND PRACTICES FOR ITS ASSURANCE

The term quality, particularly when applied to facilities, has no single generally accepted meaning. For many people, it is a characteristic of an object. For others, it has something to do with actions taken to achieve an object with certain characteristics. Quality is a value-laden term that depends on one's point of view.

According to the dictionary, quality means "a degree of excellence . . . superiority in kind."9 The authors of ASCE's manual defined quality as "the totality of features, attributes, and characteristics . . . that bear on . . . ability to satisfy a given need: fitness for purpose . . . meeting the requirements."10 The American Society for Quality Control termed quality "a

9  

Mish, Frederick C., ed. 1985. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA. A glossary of terms is presented in Appendix B.

10  

ASCE, op. cit., p. 17.



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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction 2 QUALITY AND PRACTICES FOR ITS ASSURANCE The term quality, particularly when applied to facilities, has no single generally accepted meaning. For many people, it is a characteristic of an object. For others, it has something to do with actions taken to achieve an object with certain characteristics. Quality is a value-laden term that depends on one's point of view. According to the dictionary, quality means "a degree of excellence . . . superiority in kind."9 The authors of ASCE's manual defined quality as "the totality of features, attributes, and characteristics . . . that bear on . . . ability to satisfy a given need: fitness for purpose . . . meeting the requirements."10 The American Society for Quality Control termed quality "a 9   Mish, Frederick C., ed. 1985. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA. A glossary of terms is presented in Appendix B. 10   ASCE, op. cit., p. 17.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction systematic approach to the search for excellence." Another committee of the BRB found it impossible to devise a concise, complete, and generally acceptable definition of design quality and for working purposes referred to quality buildings as those "whose characteristics create an environment where the occupant or user can accomplish his purpose effectively, efficiently, and comfortably."11 DEFINING CONSTRUCTION QUALITY, ASSURANCE, AND CONTROL12 Within the limited context of the design and construction stage of a facility, quality can be more readily defined, and the committee accepted a definition that quality is conformance to adequately developed requirements. This definition indicates that a quality constructed facility will result provided that several conditions are met: The contract documents comprise a clear, complete, and accurate description of the facility to be constructed, correctly conveying the intent of the owner regarding the characteristics of a facility needed to serve his or her purposes. The contract documents define a constructed facility considered acceptable under applicable regulatory codes and standards of professional practice, in terms of its reliability, the ease with which maintenance and repairs can be performed, the durability of its materials and operating systems, and the life safety afforded its users. The facility is constructed in accordance with those documents. 11   Building Research Board, 1989. Improving the Design Quality of Federal Buildings, National Academy Press, Washington, DC. 12   Refer to Appendix B for definition of terms.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction In other words, quality in construction dictates both that the requirements are met and that the requirements be right. The committee's deliberations focused on the first aspect of quality—meeting the requirements—but unavoidably addressed some of the concerns for getting the requirements right in the planning and design that precede construction. Purchasers of construction—building owners, developers, and their representatives—use a variety of methods to assure that the construction and resulting facility meet their requirements. Planned and systematically organized, these methods comprise a quality assurance (QA) program. Providers of construction services and manufacturers of construction products and building systems also use a variety of methods to make sure that their products—including entire facilities—meet the requirements. Quality control (QC) is accomplished through these various methods, which may be formally organized into a control system or informally undertaken by managers and workers. One other term is important: quality management. Quality management is the process of optimization of quality activities, and includes problem prevention and quality appraisal activities. As such, it involves both quality assurance and quality control. There are no generally accepted definitions of the terms quality assurance and quality control, and the two are used interchangeably by many people. The committee adopted a distinction that quality control is what a construction contractor does to determine that the products of his or her work—the completed facility—conform to the requirements stated in contract documents. Quality assurance is what the purchaser of construction does to determine that contractor's quality control system is functioning adequately and that the product consequently will meet the purchaser's needs.13 13   This statement presumes that the requirements given to the constructor are an adequate statement of the purchaser's needs. When this is not true, quality assurance efforts may involve reprogramming and redesign, and loss of quality.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction Just as there are no generally accepted definitions for quality assurance and control, there is no general understanding of what the costs of these activities are or should be. Elements of QA and QC are performed as part of planning and design, and even in the construction stage are not all clearly distinguished in the cost accounting. Even when QA and QC activities are explicitly identified, practices vary so much among projects and contexts that no reliable base of information exists for making general judgments about costs in general construction. INSPECTION FOR QUALITY CONTROL AND ASSURANCE QA and QC systems include management reviews, on-site surveillance, and tests. Inspection—specific examination, testing, and overall appraisal of a process, product or service to ascertain if it conforms to established requirements—is standard practice for quality assurance and control in all major construction. However, the degree to which inspection can be successful as an assurance and control method is limited by the established requirements. If the established requirements are not right, inspection cannot make them right. Most construction contracts—particularly those issued by public agencies—specify that all work is subject to inspection by the owner or the engineer or architect representing the owner. The contract specifications may then enumerate a list of specific inspections that will be required during construction. These inspections are called controlled inspections . Contractors offering to construct facilities know what inspections will be required, before they enter into a contract agreement, because they are listed in the specifications. Controlled inspections include examination and approval of products prior to their installation (for instance precast concrete structural members) and activities incident to the construction (such as dewatering and wastewater discharge). The contract documents may authorize the architect or engineer to review and approve the

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction contractor's methods and require the contractor to provide certifications from an approved testing laboratory that materials meet specified standards. Inspection and in-place testing of completed work on critical components (such as chilled or hot water lines, or welds on jet fuel lines) are usually included among specified controlled inspections. The owner may elect to conduct additional inspections, termed discretionary inspections, to further enhance quality assurance. The owner or the owner's representative may choose to conduct these discretionary inspections depending on the circumstances of the construction project. The location, complexity and criticality of the project, the availability of trained inspectors, the background and experience of the owner's representative, and the tradition in an agency or geographic area influence the degree to which discretionary inspections are performed. Inspection is generally given more emphasis as a quality assurance tool when there has been a demonstrated deficiency in a contractor's performance. Federal agencies cannot depend only on the reputation of the contractor as a basis for disqualification or for scheduling inspections, but may adjust their quality assurance activities in response to demonstrated performance. (This "reputation" factor is utilized routinely in the private sector.) However, unwarranted emphasis on inspection—particularly when on-site representatives of the owner are responsible, as is frequently the case in government construction—tends to foster unproductive adversarial relationships between the contractor and the owner. The appropriate level of inspection must be adequate to assure quality but not so much as to reduce productivity. THE FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATIONS Review of each agency's method of obtaining conformance with the design documents by the construction contractor reveals differences in the organization for and practice of

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction inspection among these agencies. In large measure, the variations are the result of or are driven by such factors as an agency's historical experience, institutional priorities for use of manpower and dollars, types of project, and sources of funds. In spite of these variations there remains a thread of consistency generated by the need to conform to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) establishes the core procedures used by the FCC sponsors and other federal Executive-branch agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with Congressionally appropriated funds. The FAR system, developed in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Procurement Policy Act of 1974 and subsequent amendments, is issued under the joint authorities of the Administrator of General Services, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under the broad policy guidelines of the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy. The FAR replaced and consolidated the older Federal Procurement Regulation (FPR) and Armed Services Procurement Regulation (ASPR). However, supplemental regulations conforming to the FAR are issued by the individual agencies. The FAR precludes agency acquisition regulations that unnecessarily repeat, paraphrase, or otherwise restate the FAR and it limits agency acquisition regulations to those necessary to implement FAR policies and procedures within an agency. However, individual agencies determine what repetition and restatement are necessary to the agency's mission. Appendix C lists those portions of the FAR that most affect construction projects and construction contract administration. The FAR does not specifically define the terms quality, quality control, or quality assurance, but does include definitions and guidance relevant to construction quality. Contract quality requirements are those technical statements in the construction contract that relate to the quality of the product or service and the inspection or other quality controls required of the contractor to assure conformance to contract requirements.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction Government contract quality assurance is the various functions, including inspection, that the government performs to determine that the contractor has fulfilled contract obligations of quality and quantity. Inspection means examining and testing supplies or services, possibly including raw materials, components, and intermediate assemblies—as well as work-in-place—to determine their conformance to contract requirements. Part 52 of the FAR, ''Contract Clauses,'' requires agencies to include in their fixed-price14 construction contracts a standard clause requiring contractors to "maintain an adequate inspection system and perform such inspections as will ensure that the work called for by this contract conforms to contract requirements" and to "maintain complete inspection records and make them available to the government." Contracts with a value below a defined small purchase amount15 are exempted from the requirement, but agencies may still choose to include the clause. Most agencies have adopted much more elaborate sets of regulations and requirements for quality assurance. AGENCY QUALITY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Within the common framework established by the FAR, individual federal agency QA and QC practices vary substantially as to where responsibilities are assigned and the formal components of the QA/QC program. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for example, holds the general contractor responsible for quality control and VA resident engineers—assisted by the design firm and a government-hired testing laboratory—monitor and inspect to ensure contractor 14   Most governmental construction in the United States is purchased under fixed-price arrangements, in which contractor and owner agree to a definite total amount to be paid for satisfactory completion of construction of a facility described by previously prepared drawings, specifications, and related contract documents. 15   A small purchase is defined in the FAR as amounting to $25,000 or less.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction compliance. The Army Corps of Engineers and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) also leave QC generally to the contractor, but often require that the contractor perform specified inspections, and sometimes supplement their staff QA personnel with third party professionals to verify contractor compliance. The Office of Foreign Buildings Operations of the U.S. Department of State (DoS), responsible for overseas embassy construction, has adopted an approach to quality management similar to the Corps. The construction contractor is required to provide an inspection system, and certain tests, inspections, and reports are specified. The DoS places on each project a staff project director to administer a program of testing and inspections for quality assurance. This program may often be quite stringent because of the unique problems associated with embassy security requirements and design standards and the challenges of construction in overseas locations. The General Services Administration (GSA) assumes primary responsibility for quality assurance and control during the construction phase of its projects, while recognizing that its construction contractors support the QA/QC effort with their own internal quality control systems. To perform on-site quality control functions, GSA uses in-house staff, personnel provided by construction management or the design A/E consultants, or various combinations of these. Some agencies supplement the FAR with additional regulations intended to respond to specific characteristics of their missions. The Army Corps of Engineers, for example, is regulated by the Department of Defense's FAR Supplement (DFARS), the Army FAR Supplement (AFARS) and the Engineer FAR Supplement (EFARS), in descending order of hierarchy. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command supplements the FAR and DFARS with the Navy Acquisition Procedure Supplement (NAPS). The Department of Veterans Affairs adds the Veterans Administration Acquisition Regulations (VAAR). These lower level regulations usually add more specific and

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction restrictive language to the basic FAR requirements and must be read in conjunction with all higher level regulations. The Department of Energy (DoE), whose construction of research, nuclear, and other unique facilities demands specialized oversight and regulatory controls, has developed its own detailed quality assurance requirements 16. In most cases, DoE personnel are directly involved with QA activities. On small projects, inspection may be carried out by A/E personnel. On large projects, construction management contractors may perform inspections as part of the QA function. Because its construction is administered primarily by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Air Force does not maintain its own construction inspection staff. The Air Force nevertheless deserves mention: leadership of the Air Force has asserted strongly its commitment to the quality of its facilities and staff professionals work with their designers and construction agency counterparts to assure that this quality is delivered. The ability of construction agencies to assure quality facilities is greatly enhanced by such strong user commitment. In spite of the current variations in inspection practice by government agencies, there seems to be a consistent trend within the engineering and construction profession which leads the public agencies toward smaller and smaller forces to provide inspection oversight. This movement can progress only so far in public contracting because present laws preclude rewarding good performance by new, non-competitive construction contracts as is the case in private industry. This constraint may reduce the contractor's incentive for excellence because he or she must compete regardless of past quality or level of performance, but it should not reduce the contractor's pride in work well done or the need to build and retain a reputation for excellence. The federal agencies should foster and assist the growth of this professional attitude in those contractors that serve public programs. 16   These are contained in DOE Orders 5700.6B, "Quality Assurance," 4700.1, "Project Management," and 6430.1A, "General Design Criteria."

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE AGENCY PRACTICES Agency liaison representatives to the committee suggested that the variations among QA practices of individual agencies are traceable to a number of factors that fall broadly into four categories: (1) budgetary, (2) agency programs, (3) project-specific, and (4) personnel-related factors. Budgetary factors include both the amount of funding available for construction control as well as the allocation of construction funding to inspection and other functions. Recurring budget cutbacks tend to place particular pressures on quality management because the loss of quality is often difficult for the untrained eye to observe. Restrictions on funds use (i.e., ear-marking), imposed in the authorization and appropriation process or in top-level agency management decisions, may limit an agency's ability to pay for QA. Construction cost increases associated with changes in the requirements, termed "upgrading," is rarely matched by adequately increased allocations to QA activities needed to maintain quality oversight of the expanded project. The particular types of facilities an agency develops and the criticality of these facilities to the agency's mission will influence the agency's inspection practices. When the risk of loss from non-conformance to the requirements is high, as in an embassy built by the Department of State or a strategic defense facility built by the Corps or NAVFAC, greater effort is devoted to insuring the requirements are met. Agencies that build for other agencies, such as the Corps working for the Air Force, must use inspection strategies that meet customer expectations, in a manner similar to the private sector. Projects of large scale or complexity always require greater attention, and agencies that build such projects frequently are inclined to be more stringent in all of their QA activities. (This is true of non-federal agencies as well. See box.) Issues of national security, social sensitivity, and environmental impact contribute to complexity of certain projects, as will remote or inhospitable geographic locations.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction QA and QC at Kennedy Airport's Renewal The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANY/NJ) in its JFK2000 Redevelopment Program for Kennedy International Airport in New York City has adopted a policy that QC--the process of ensuring that proper materials and equipment are furnished and used, competent workmanship is provided, and timely services are performed in accordance with the contract requirement--is the contractual responsibility of the contractor. This responsibility includes providing inspection and inspection reporting, systems testing as required by the contract, providing survey control, preparing as-built drawings, maintaining inspection and systems testing documentation, including off-site quality control records such as manufacturer's certificates of compliance, and submitting copies of all contract documentation to the construction resident engineer. The contractor must submit a proposed QC program to the construction manager for review and approval prior to the start of work in the field. The construction manager (CM) is responsible for quality assurance. The program manager is responsible for auditing the CM's administration of the QA/QC program. The Engineer of Record has some specific inspection requirements such as test pile measurements and inspections of each pile prior to concrete placement. The PANY/NJ requires the CM to assign inspectors who have the primary day-to-day responsibility for confirming that the contractor's work is in accordance with the specifications, the approved QC program, and all applicable codes. Documentation that work has been performed satisfactorily includes laboratory and test results and inspection reporting. The inspector is responsible for a number of specified tasks: Confirming when and where routine testing will be required and arranging with the laboratory to have tests performed; Providing lab personnel with needed information; Witnessing all testing and verifying that requirements were followed; Arranging for specialist assistance for witnessing testing, as required; Recording all testing on a Daily Construction Report; Documenting all areas of nonconformance; Maintaining copies of test results, inspection reports, certification papers and permits; Verifying that testing devices are calibrated; Coordinating site activity; Visual inspection of all items not requiring laboratory testing; Preparing and maintaining inspection checklists.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction On the other hand, repetitive facilities such as military barracks can involve substantial off-site fabrication that reduces on-site inspection requirements. Some agencies, such as the Department of State, are able to develop longer term relationships with contractors, such that these contractors become thoroughly familiar with agency requirements and the agency may, with confidence, reduce the level of effort in its QA program. The continuity of progress of a particular project through design and construction influences the need for inspection as well. Delays and interruptions on a project can result in changed specifications and changed requirements that then necessitate greater QA effort. The urgency of completing construction leads too easily to neglect of QA activities that might otherwise have been undertaken. Personnel-related factors may be the most significant determinants of agency QA practices. Agency personnel often believe that staffing levels are insufficient for the range of administrative responsibilities they face, and that quality assurance activities are frequently sacrificed. Because of budget cutbacks, low pay, normal retirements, and a general shortage of trained professionals, many government agencies have suffered losses of experienced staff to execute or supervise QA activities. Personnel regulations, compensation, and mobility requirements make it difficult for these agencies to attract and retain qualified professionals, which both increases training costs and reduces effectiveness of their QA activities. The task of inspection, in particular, is in some agencies viewed as unlikely to contribute to career advancement. 17 17   These various factors have led to increased use of consultants when budgets have permitted (Newman, 1989).

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction PERSPECTIVES FROM PRIVATE SECTOR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES The committee recognized that federal agencies face a number of unique conditions and responsibilities that shape their methods of quality assurance and quality control. The committee made a number of general observations on private sector practice that provide perspective for assessing federal agencies' inspection and other quality management activities. One important difference between federal and private sector construction is that virtually all private design and construction is negotiated in some fashion, and repeat business with major clients depends on (1) cost management, (2) schedule management, and (3) quality management. Since repeat business is very important to contractors engaging in private sector work, contractors have a high stake in providing a quality product. Negotiation is used by government also, but competitive bidding is by far the more common practice. A second important difference is that most private sector construction involves contractor pre-qualification. In the public sector, if a bidder can obtain a performance bond, he or she normally is entitled to bid.18 The contracting officer determines that a low post-bidder is responsible before the contract is awarded. On private work, the owner often selects a single contractor, or a small group of contractors deemed to be qualified. A third important difference is that the private sector is subject to legal regulation by local building codes. Most cities and municipalities require an inspection by local government personnel to assure conformance to code requirements. Designers and constructors for the private sector often rely on these codes and municipal inspection, especially with respect to electrical and plumbing systems, to assure the quality required. Upon a building's completion, most responsible local authorities issue an occupancy permit that certifies that a building permit 18   The bond is furnished after acceptance of the bid.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction was obtained at the start of construction, that electrical and plumbing inspections were made, and that the fire department has also inspected and approved the building. Federal agencies are not subject to local codes and municipal inspection. The agencies use their own design criteria and must assure for themselves that these criteria are followed in design and construction. In contrast to the federal government, the private sector encompasses organizations with a broad range of size and only the largest firms have building professionals on staff. Even these large firms, unless they maintain steady building programs, are unlikely to have sufficient staff capability to undertake substantial in-house quality management activities. Most private sector owners depend primarily on A/Es and other consultants to act as their QA agents and pay these agents for the service. Very active builders, such as real estate developers and certain large manufacturers, might be more likely to undertake extensive QA programs but this is not often the case. Real estate developers, in particular, rarely are willing to pay the A/E firm additional fees (typically 3 to 4 percent of construction) for full field inspection, and quality assurance inspections during construction will be casual and infrequent. The QA tasks are often tailored to whether the items in question are exposed or hidden from view in the completed project. Items hidden from view include structural concrete and steel, underground utility lines, foundations, pilings, caissons, service lines inside walls or above ceilings, water lines, gas lines, telephone lines, electrical conduits, sprinkler systems, HVAC duct work, and plumbing. On the private sector construction site, these hidden items may receive less inspection attention than on public works. On the other hand, many owners who are going to occupy as well as operate their buildings seek to assure the quality of the finished building by hiring an A/E firm or other qualified individuals to act as the owner's representative to supervise the construction. Independent testing laboratories will be used to

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction perform the actual tests. The amount of testing ordered is usually determined by the level of in-house expertise and the owner's relationship with the contractor. The quality management philosophy of much private commercial work is expressed in the common phrase "If it don't fit, make it." When errors or other problems occur, alterations are made until there is a workable fit. Rarely is work scrapped or demolished and then re-executed as shown on the drawings and specifications. Because time delays are costly to private sector builders and owners, there is great pressure for the work to proceed uninterrupted on the construction site. Government agencies are seldom charged interest costs and so are not exposed directly to the strictly financial costs of delay. (However, contractors may charge the government for government-caused delays.) The A/E firm's role in private work inspection is similar to public sector work, except that procedures are generally less formal and there tends to be more practical interaction between the contractor staff and the owner's representatives.19 A/E firms that work primarily for distinct groups or types of private clients (e.g., retail or office commercial, large residential, or light industrial) often must adjust their staffing and management practices to accommodate the particular style of QA that project type entails. The size of the A/E firm, often closely correlated with the scale of projects the firm designs, also influences how the QA function is carried out. For example, low overhead is essential to the success of a small A/E office. Generally, there is no dedicated staff to handle quality management activities, such as quality assurance and inspection for quality control on projects. These tasks are performed by the same professional staff members that design, draft, and manage projects. Small, private clients question the value of the added expense of quality assurance, often assuming 19   One sharp difference is that the A/E may be authorized to act as the owner's agent, a practice virtually unknown in federal agency construction.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction that the contractor's quality control program is sufficient to assure conformance with construction documents. Small A/E firms that are sometimes employed for quality assurance have the advantage that the design architect or engineer is also the inspector, assuring knowledge of contractual requirements. The designer is in a good position to check conformance, review changes, and establish acceptable alternates. A disadvantage from an owner's point of view is the potential conflict of interest of the designer approving his or her own work, which may lead to omissions and errors. However, the owner's design budgets for small projects will seldom accommodate independent third-party inspection services. For mid-size commercial buildings—those in the $5–10 million dollar range, which constitute a substantial proportion of the private sector office and retail market—budgets are sufficiently large to accommodate special QA/QC personnel. The owner will often assign one or two staff members as the quality assurance observers. In some instances, such an observer is designated the "clerk of the works."20 As scale increases, large A/E, engineer-construction (E-C) and construction firms that work on large projects often have separate in-house QA/QC groups with independent reporting procedures and authority. The A/E, E-C and the constructor often designate a field quality assurance coordinator, and reporting to the coordinator may be one or more inspectors and a testing organization. The field coordinator reports to the home office on site problems such as owner changes, design changes or errors, construction errors, vendor changes or errors, and shipping damages. The home office audits the project for compliance with project procedures and checks that the field 20   Clerk of the works is a British term for one who supervises the construction and keeps records of materials used. The clerk of the works may also be responsible for recording workmen's time. While the term is understood by the American building industry, Americans usually use the term project supervisor or representative. (Greater Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction, 1973. Construction Dictionary.)

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction quality assurance coordinator's records are clear and current. On projects with stringent time constraints, efforts will be made to assure that equipment is in compliance with specifications before it leaves the vendor's shop so that delays correcting problems in the field are avoided. Vendor pre-qualification is becoming more widespread. LEGAL DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN FEDERAL AND PRIVATE PRACTICES In addition to the applicability of local codes and municipal regulatory practices, other legal distinctions between public and private work influence quality management practices. The terms and conditions of the American Institute of Architects General Conditions of the Contract for Construction (AIA Document A201, 1987 Edition) illustrate typical industry practices in the private sector. The AIA also publishes related contract documents that define the architect's (Document B141) and the subcontractors' (Document A401) roles on the project. 21 The important legal feature of these documents is the formal assignment of responsibilities for QA activities to the design professional. The term used in the AIA documents to describe the process during construction whereby the owner's interests are protected is ''administration of the contract.''22 The architect oversees this process. The owner retains the architect to design the 21   Published and copyrighted by the American Institute of Architects, these documents receive widespread use throughout the construction industry and are approved by the Associated General Contractors of America. 22   In the AIA Contract Documents, "supervision" is a term used to describe the contractor's responsibilities on the construction project. Supervision connotes the contractor's management, direction, and control of the construction process; this is in contrast to the architect's visits to the site to observe the progress of construction and to evaluate the contractor's compliance with contract requirements.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction project and to prepare the working drawings and specifications. After the contractor is hired, the architect "administers" the construction contract on behalf of the owner to determine if the contractor is fulfilling contract requirements and to advise the owner whether the contractor is performing the work properly. The AIA contract requires the architect to visit the site "to become generally familiar with the progress and the quality of the completed work and to determine in general if the work is being performed in a manner indicating that (it) will be in accordance with the contract documents." The AIA General Conditions, however, make a clear distinction between the roles of the architect and contractor, and there is well-recognized language that states that the architect "is not responsible for construction means, methods, techniques, sequences or procedures, or for safety precautions and programs in connection with the work, since these are solely the contractor's responsibility . . . ." By maintaining this distinction in the contract between the roles of the architect and the contractor, the architect is able to concentrate on protecting the owner's interest. Other major areas of responsibility for the architect spelled out in the AIA documents involve evaluating the contractor's applications for payment; rejecting work that does not conform to the contract requirements; taking appropriate action on shop drawings, samples and product data; preparing change orders; conducting inspections to determine the dates of substantial completion and final completion; and making the initial determination on claims by either the owner or the contractor. In the AIA documents, the word "inspection" is used to describe the architect's services only in the context of determining substantial completion and final completion. At those two points in the construction process, the architect is contractually obligated to "inspect" (i.e., look very closely at) the work to determine compliance with contract requirements. The word "inspect" is used to connote the higher degree of care expected of the design professional at those two points in the process, in contrast to the more cursory evaluation that takes place during the site visits prior to the date of substantial completion.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction COMMITTEE ASSESSMENT OF AGENCY PRACTICES Overall the committee is impressed with the quality, dedication and success of every Federal Agency in performing its mission. Nevertheless the committee notes that there is room for improvement and is encouraged by the fact that the agencies are seeking ways to continually improve. Agency quality management activities have been strongly questioned in some quarters. Evidence cited involves observed costs for correcting construction deficiencies. For example, one audit of selected DoD projects found that 82 percent of those projects contained . . . "defects that the construction contractors should have been required to fix either during construction or when it later became evident that the contractors had deviated from the plans and specifications." 23 Some critics argue that agencies depend too heavily on contractors' quality control systems for quality assurance on federal projects. These critics often call for increased inspection by agency staff or third-party contractors. While the committee does not share this view, we are convinced that agency practices can and should be improved, particularly with respect to the following observations: Agency quality management practices vary too widely, especially when comparing DoD and DoE practices. Contractors performing work for more than one agency find themselves having to perform differently in different situations. This causes confusion, loss of efficiency, and an adverse effect on quality. One small, but important, improvement that should be made is to develop consistent definitions for quality and quality-related actions among all agencies. Of all the agency practices reviewed, the committee considered the Corps of Engineers quality practices to be the most 23   Department of Defense, December 31, 1984. Inspection Procedures and Value Engineering Design in the Real Property Construction Program, Report No 85-055, Audit Report of the Office of the Inspector General.

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Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction fully developed and effective, primarily because of the Corps' Construction Contractor Appraisal Support System (discussed in Chapter 3).24 Other agencies would do well to emulate these practices. The FAR and its amplifications by specific agencies are not as restrictive to improvements as the agencies believe. On the whole, the FAR is an excellent guide, and agencies can work effectively within its guidelines to take more innovative approaches than they are now executing. Some of these innovative approaches are discussed in the next chapter. References Building Research Board, Committee on Construction Change Orders, 1986. Construction Contract Modifications: Comparing the Experiences of Federal Agencies and Other Owners, National Academy Press, Washington, DC. Office of the Federal Register, 1985. Federal Acquisition Regulations System, Chapter 1, Parts 1 to 99, Code of Federal Regulations, 48CFR 1.000, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. Newman, Robert B., June 1989. Use of Consultants for Construction Engineering and Inspection, NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice 146, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. 24   Otherwise, the Corps and NAVFAC follow similar procedures. See, for example, Contractor Quality Control (CQC) System, NFGS-01400 (February 1991), Department of the Navy; Contractor Inspection System, NFGS-01401 (February 1991), Department of the Navy; and Contractor Quality Control, CEGS 01440 (January 1991), Department of the Army.