Non-conformance reports should be taken lightly by any party as a quality engineer person who issued the notice has the ability to actually pull-out any supplier or subcontractor or even a construction team representative if found and proved to be non-performing and refusing to maintain and follow instructions.
I have witnessed several engineers from the contractor side who learned their lessons the hard way. They just deliberately not followed an instruction from the quality engineer. The day, he got a memo from their human and resource department that he only got one month to work for their company.
Quality concerns are actually like a bible and one of the ultimate goal for every construction industry aside from being profitable because it is directly related to the project’s integrity and durability.
Any loophole or once perceived to be just a small mistake may breed problems causing several more problems like a domino falling. So, here are the important questions that you should know further about nonconformance.
What is Nonconformance
Non-conformance report or commonly known as NCR are used and issued by the QA/QC engineers on site to a concerned party who deviated a plan and/or a specification of the construction project.
Non-conformance report is important as there will always be construction team or subcontractor who, say, deliberately or unknowingly went off-plan due to the tight time schedule and or restrictions. Also, this report has to be issued as soon as possible, even suggested on the same day for faster circulation of the document, thus, lesser time consumed for rectification.
Non-conformance reports are also issued to a contractor who, unknowingly or deliberately used materials not approved by the client, a failure in the design and strength, construction methodology as per clients’ choice is not followed, any deviation to the client’s instruction with respect to installation sequence of works and several other reasons.
Why is Non-conformance Report Necessary on Site?
It is necessary to issue a Non-conformnce Report in order to eliminate the mistake or error created and at the same time to record the corrective action and preventive action. This is to resolve issues on site and alarming us not to recur the same mistake. It will serve as an alarm bell.
In which Situation the NCR is Issued?
There are several types of situations that can be considered as NCRable. You should always remember the conditions, “nonconformance means the completed work is not as per the approved plan or drawing, not as per specification and not as per the requirement of Client and Designs.” Then it would be easy to identify the Nonconformance.
A good example of this is in the specification it is mentioned “membrane waterproofing to be applied on the balcony” but the actual application is “rubberized waterproofing” then it is obvious that application is a mismatch.
Another example is the height of the false ceiling in the approved drawing is 2.5 meters but in the actual installations is 2.45 then obviously it is noncompliant to the requirement. And there several situations that you will encounter during the progress of the project.
What is the format of NCR?
Format or template of Nonconformance Report (NCR) can vary depending on your consultant. Not all the consultant or Project Management Consultant uses similar NCR template. The 10 Project Forms Must A QA/QC Engineer Must Have you will see the NCR template we’ve used in our previous projects.
What is the Purpose of Issuing Nonconformance?
The main purpose of issuing Nonconformance Report is to correct the mistake made at site. The other purpose is to ensure that the project is following Quality Management System. The company you are connected with must be accredited by International Organization for Standardization or ISO which ISO 9001:2015: Quality Management Requirements. It is stipulated there that NCR is to be documented and recorded. A corrective action and preventive action must be established.
An NCR is also used to withhold money from the contractors billing but that is not the main purpose. The reason why the Client is withholding money they want to make sure that their project is made as per their requirement. Like for example the color of the tiles at the entrance lounge, from their requirement is green color tiles but the contractor installed is blue color then there that is NCR. If the contractor doesn’t want to change to what Client is wanted to be then they will withhold money from contractor and then the Client will find another contractor to do the rectifications.
Any non-conformance should always be prevented on-site as is truly harming the construction timeline. Non-conformance freezes any ongoing work and would normally take up to 2 weeks for the construction work to come back to normal. Several persons are involved for it to be closed out. Thus, it should and always be prevented when it can be prevented by any contractors.
Several techniques and methodology are conducted for non-conformance to be averted. A step-by-step guide is presented herein.
• Study plan and specification ahead of time.
• Check materials and dimension as per plan.
• Check materials and dimension as per specification.
• Check other trades for probable clashing, deviations or irregularities (similarity between the structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, and sanitary plans).
• Verify that the plan and specification are doable on-site.
• Pro-actively inspecting that the manpower is doing the right thing and rectify whatever deviation before final inspection care of client engineers.
Quality Engineer Tips
• Make sure to close the NCR immediately after issuance.
• Make sure to use the templates for NCR and RFI
• Don’t let the NCR freeze at your hands for 30 days, after 30days if the NCR is not closed then the Client will start deducting that from the contract.
• Read “How To Close a Non-conformance” this will give you insight how to manage the closure of NCR.
• I recommend reading the “5 Tips To Minimize The Occurrence of Non-conformance” to at least reduce the numbers of NCRs.
If any of these steps are not met, it is advisable for the quality engineers to do a heads-up request for information (a.k.a RFIs) to consultants and suggest any applicable solutions ready for consultant’s approval. Plan review should be part of the weekly activity of any quality engineers as this is where they know that they are on track, what else needs to be added or deducted proving it is not necessary, and check any loophole from the plans that is compromising any emergency exits. This has to be checked ahead of time.