Construction defects have continued to puzzle the construction industry for years. They are one of the most common causes of disputes in the industry. Construction defects may be as a result of a defect in the workmanship, design materials or system failure. These defects lead to failure in parts of the building or the structure being built. Construction defects are a threat to the building’s safety and can lead to the person or property damage.
To really prevent construction defects from occurring, one must understand the sources of the defects first. The most common examples of quality defects in construction include; roof cracks, leaking basement, faulty electrical systems, and many others. Low-quality materials, lack of auditing, lack of proper supervision, design complexity, design concept among others are some of the common sources of construction defects.
Below is a comprehensive look into some of these sources.
1. Low-quality materials
In order to build a safe and stable structure, the type of materials used should be of high quality. These types of materials last longer and leave no room for any defect. On the other hand, inferior building materials cause problems such as leakages, concrete cracks, sudden dropping of ceilings and inadequately functioning structures. Leaking drainage pipes result to toxic molds on the buildings. There are common manufacture problems that result to inferior materials. Some of these problems are an inferior drywall and deteriorating flashing.
Using low-quality materials in construction guarantees zero durability and improper installations. Take the example of bent window frames. Poor quality window frames may bend while on transit only to cause installation complications.
2. Lack of proper contractor supervision of the work
As a contractor, it is your job to ensure that everything falls into place according to the overall project quality plan. A contractor makes sure that the project is finished on time and that there is no wastage of resources. Through constant supervisions, the contractor secures the project’s quality as well as the safety against any construction defect.
If there is no or lack of proper supervision, chances are that the constructors may come across a sign of awaiting disaster without knowing it. A contractor should be there to detect any future defect. They should know how every material fits into the design.
3. No quality System
The worst source of the defect is sometimes due to “no” quality system governing in a project or even in the corporate organization. The lack of the system can boost to possible losses of financial flow of the project. The example of this is “the delivery of concrete to site” if it is to be checked by a noncompetent personnel of the quality department the concrete might be poured to the foundation while the concrete delivered to the site doesn’t match to the design mix for the foundation. Therefore, there should be a system to countercheck deliveries of concrete to the site and the same with the other construction materials. And this work must be done by a competent quality engineer.
4. Lack of project auditing
Auditing is essential in every project construction work. Performing an audit is what determines the success of the construction work. There are many types of audits some of them include quality audits, pre-selection audits, and project internal audits. Auditing processes help monitor the performance of the project to ensure that it remains within the corporate procedures’ scope.
Quality managers are the ones responsible for holding audits in any construction work. Their job is to foresee the project’s construction according to the set standard and requirements, be it ISO: 9001 standards or contractual standards. Without these types of audits, there is no guarantee that the project will not have construction defects once completed.
5. Poor or lack of quality procedures
For any construction project to function properly, it is required by the ISO: 9001 standards that certain procedures be documented. These procedures provide a way of making sure that all the details of the construction work fall into place. There is a long, never-ending list of the procedures that a construction company should document. Just to mention a few; any construction work should have a procedure of auditing, procurement, material approval, reporting and document control etc. Having quality procedures creates better quality management systems that prevent construction defects.
6. No drawing and specification
A drawing of the expected building helps create the general picture of how the building should be built. Drawing the model of the structure also helps point out the specifications of the construction. It is important to know on which soil should you build on and the type of foundation for the building. Lack of a strong foundation results in cracked foundations and unstable buildings.
The drawing also shows the area to be covered by the building and the measurements. Constructing a building without the correct measurements may leave small room for drainage systems and other installations. Drawings and specifications eliminate technical deficiencies. And this is the scariest one.
7. Design complexity
Architects and designers may come up with a complex design. A complex design takes the time to understand and it is more challenging to construct a building with such designs. In the process of trying to understand the complex nature of the design, one may miss out on the important tiny details such as the buildings support. A building without strong pillars for support may have cracks which may end up causing the building’s collapse.
A complex design may be allocated a certain period for completion only to spend half of it going back to the design for a better understanding. Complex designs add complexity in the construction work to which only the designer can interpret. No matter how complex the design is, it should be easy to understand.
All these sources of defects in construction lead to loss of materials, money, and work hours trying to correct the defects once they occur.
Though it is hard to avoid defects or nonconformance in construction but we can simply minimize those if we try to implement the necessary rules or system that will develop the quality of work and eventually prevent the potential rise of project cost or budget. Base from your experience you can suggest some other source of quality issues, you can share below.