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2 DEFINITION OF TERMS There is considerable disagreement and in some cases confusion about terms used in connection with quality control. In hopes of eliminating some of the disagree- ment, the committee asked the agencies to define the terms they use. Following are the responses. CORPS OF ENGINEERS The Corps of Engineers provided definitions of four terms: â¢ Quality Management--All control and assurance activities instituted to achieve the product quality established by the contract requirements. â¢ Contractor Quality Control (CQC)--The construction contractor's system to manage and control and document its own, its supplier's and its subcontractor's activi- ties to comply with contract requirements. â¢ Quality Assurance--The procedures by which the Government fulfills its responsibility to be certain the CQC is functioning and the specified end product is realized. â¢ Inspection--The process by which ongoing and completed work is examined. NAVAL FACILITIES ENGINEERING COMMAND The Naval Facilities Engineering Command submitted definitions of three terms:
â¢ Contractor Quality Control (CQC)--The quality control and inspection system established and maintained by the contractor that assures compliance with the con- tract drawings and specifications. â¢ Quality Assurance--The surveillance and inspection system by which the government assures that the CQC system is functioning properly and that construction is in accordance with contract requirements. â¢ Inspection--Actual observation, testing, and review of materials and work. VETERANS ADMINISTRATION The Veterans Administration (VA) submitted definitions of three terms; however, the VA emphasized that the definitions were not official: â¢ Quality--In the Office of Construction, quality is defined by our published documents such as construction standards, design criteria, and standard specifications. These documents reflect the latest safety codes, recent technology developments, and the VAs past experience in hospital construction and operation. â¢ Quality Assurance--The VA visually verifies the contractor's conformance with the specified construction contract documents, while simultaneously being alert for conditions which may warrant a change to ensure the quality, quantity, and propriety of the final product. â¢ Inspection--Inspection is an activity of the VAs quality control program that is concerned with checking on the conformance of a product to the established stan- dards. It can be defined further as a visual examination of products, materials, methods and workmanship suffi- cient to develop a knowledgeable evaluation of the adequacies or deficiencies of the item being examined. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION The General Services Administration submitted defi- nitions of three terms:
â¢ Quality Control--Those actions taken at the operational or regional level to obtain quality; i.e., inspections and other contract administration activities. â¢ Quality Assurance--Those actions taken at the headquarters level to ensure quality on construction, such as establishing guidelines and quality programs. â¢ Inspection--The physical act of inspecting construction in progress to monitor compliance with contract requirements. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE The Public Health Service (PHS) reported that it has not formally defined the terms quality control and quality assurance as they pertain to construction. However, PHS has defined the term construction sur- veillance as follows in terms of the objectives of surveillance and the techniques used: Objectives--to assure that all construction projects proceed on the approved schedule and any variations in either time, design or cost are monitored and appropriate changes are approved according to HHS/PHS policy. Techniques--all construction projects are monitored by designated facilities personnel and all changes in work progress or design are reviewed and approved only by designated HHS/PHS approval authorities. Spot checks are made of work order changes, periodic progress reports, and similar documentation to assure that monitoring has been in effect. The PHS Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that although it (like PHS) has not formally defined the terms inspection, quality control, and quality assurance, most FDA personnel would concur with the following informal definitions: â¢ Quality Control--As the term is used by FDA it means the internal inspection and testing which is the responsibility of the contractor necessary to eliminate defects in the construction. â¢ Quality Assurance--As the term is used by FDA it means the process, including inspection and testing by agency personnel, by which the Government satisfies
itself that the contractor is complying with the minimum requirements of the contract documents. â¢ Inspection--It is the right of the Government, as set forth in the contract, to observe the contractor's work (at reasonable times and places). Note here that inspection is for the sole benefit of the Government and does not relieve the contractor of the responsibility for supervision of the work, quality control, or compliance with the contract requirements. The government has the obligation to communicate to the contractor the findings of the inspection but has no duty to search out and find all defects and deficiencies. INFORMATION FROM OTHER SOURCES The members of the Business Roundtable study team that investigated quality assurance (Business Roundtable, 1983) were sufficiently disturbed about the lack of agree- ment on the meanings of the terms quality assurance and quality control that they felt obliged to define the terms themselves, as follows: â¢ Quality Assurance--a planned and systematic pattern of all actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product will conform to established requirements. â¢ Quality Control--implements the quality plan by actions necessary for conformance to established require- ments . Although the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) does not define the terms quality control or quality assurance per se, the FAR does define various other terms related to quality assurance, including the following: â¢ Contract quality requirements--means the technical requirements in the contract relating to the quality of the product or service and those contract clauses describing inspection, and other quality controls incumbent on the contractor, to assure that the product or service conforms to the contractual requirements. â¢ Government contract quality assurance--means the various functions, including inspection, performed by the government to determine whether a contractor has ful- filled the contract obligations pertaining to quality and quantity.
â¢ Inspection--means examining and testing supplies or services (including, when appropriate, raw materials, components, and intermediate assemblies) to determine whether they conform to contract requirements.