How To Control Quality At Construction?

There was a question “How to control quality at construction?” Well basically that question is easy to answer but only if the one who will answer has quality engineering work experience or  has handled key positions in a construction such as site engineer or project engineer, well that’s for sure!

I will show here a few samples in building construction on how to control quality. I won’t mention the full story on how to control quality in all areas in one project. I just want to give insight to our fellow engineer. And every new engineer must know the basics how to control quality. I prefer to start from ground works up to the superstructure.

1. Earthworks and backfilling. Some prefer to write excavation work but in general I used earthworks. To control the quality of excavation works first we requires approved drawing, this is the first thing to make sure before we proceed with excavation. Because it will then be used by a land surveyor to mark or stake the coordinates, the positions of foundation and make an allowable offset for starting point of excavation. Sometimes the consultant requires to submit an excavation plan in order to determine the access point and to secure the safety as well.

Excavator Machine

Image courtesy of Naypong/

 And apart from drawing, we will require a method statement for the excavation and backfilling works that is the first hold point there. Once a method statement is approved you can then start the excavation and eventually backfilling works.

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2. Construction column prior to pour concrete. Again you need an approved drawing like Column layout, Column details and Sections. And ensure that the drawing is controlled or it is the latest revision so that potential error or non-conformance could be avoided.

The surveyor must conduct a survey for setting out to locate the corners of the column as per the design coordinates. An inspection is necessary in this activity, it should be submitted to the consultant for checking and obtain approval prior to proceed on all other succeeding fixes such as reinforcements (vertical bar and lateral ties or links), MEP rough-ins if it showing in the drawing. The shutter would be inspected by consultants prior to pour concrete. The verticality of column shall be checked prior to final tightening of supports.

The concrete to be poured shall be as per approved design mix before concrete is poured it shall be checked via slump test and temperature. Concrete cubes shall be made from the delivered concrete in order to verify the strength and final acceptance of the poured concrete.

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3. Block laying for external wall and internal partitions. If the wall and partition are consists of CHB, it is to be tested for compression test. Compression test shall be of interval required by the specification.

Setting out would be necessary to be done by a surveyor, to mark the corners, openings and thickness of the wall prior to proceeding laying of block. Method Statement again would be needed for this activity and be submitted for approval.

Inspections would be drawn from approved ITP. The description of inspection will be generated from specification and drawing.

From surveyors mark, the installer then can lay the blocks but before laying makes sure the preliminary works shall be done like chipping the floor surface, placing DPC when needed and mortars. And while block laying progresses make sure that the hold fast and horizontal reinforcement is placed as per specification. There would be five layers of block in one lift, once soffit of the slab is reached make sure that there would be gaps for fire proofing or Rockwool insertions(if indicated in the drawing). The verticality of the block wall shall be checked randomly by quality engineers during the progress of the work via plumb bob or spirit level. Curing shall not be disregarded; curing shall be 3 to 5 days as per specification.

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In summary, to control quality on one activity, there would be approved Method Statement, Inspection and Test Plan and Checklist but in the first place, the approval of drawings are ought to be obtained.

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