What is a quality system?
When we construct a building – whether it is a semi-detached house or an office tower – we ensure that it is a high-quality structure. We don’t do half work. But how do you measure the quality of what you build and how do you demonstrate this to others? Simple: with a quality system. Every construction company will need such a system.
The Hague still opts for postponement, yet we still see the sails of the Quality Assurance Act (Dutch: WKB) billowing on the horizon. That ship does not sail towards the northern sun, but eventually enters the port of the building Netherlands. That makes practicing with quality registration important. Capturing the quality of your construction projects may not seem that important yet, but it will be. That is why it is wise to orientate yourself now on a quality system. You can practice, experience the benefits and be well equipped when the postponement of the WKB is over. That day will come one day.
The definition of a quality system
All well and good, but what exactly is a quality system? Very briefly: that is a way of recording what you have built, who has done it, with what it has been done and how it has been carried out. If there are questions or complaints after completion of a project, you can find the answers in the quality system. If set up properly, you will not only have access to invoices for the materials and the names and numbers of subcontractors, but also videos of (parts of) the construction process, photos of completed parts of the project and all other relevant documentation that you need. involved in carrying out a construction project.
Example of quality systems
Suppose you have built a block of terraced houses. That project started with the purchase of building land, measurements of that land, construction drawings, consultation with the municipality about the zoning plan and agreements with various other parties for matters such as the supply of electricity, water and so on. Subsequently, a construction plan was drawn up based on the construction drawings, subcontractors were recruited and construction started. For that construction, foundations were poured, walls were erected, the flag was placed on the ridge of the roof and then everything was finished. It sounds so very simple, but it involves many different steps, involving many different parties.
Track what was done, how it was done and who did it
Building is certainly not easy: many people provide many opinions, and therefore the chance of disagreement afterwards is also greater. Not just between chain partners. The customer’s expectations do not always match what has been delivered. The question then is what has been agreed, whether the delivered goods meet these requirements and who is responsible if this is not the case. That’s what the quality system is for. You don’t have to keep every screw and every plank on photo and video, but things like installed kitchens, completed air vents or processes such as pouring the foundation are important. If there are discussions afterwards, you can easily provide evidence with the quality system.
Within the WKB, the emphasis of the burden of proof will soon lie with the contractor.
What are the perks of a quality system?
A quality system is therefore primarily a way of protecting yourself. Within the WKB, the emphasis of the burden of proof will soon lie with the contractor. Customers who have something built can object longer and are more easily proved right. In other words, you need hard evidence to show that you did a good job. This saves costs if objectors come to your company for redress. In addition, a well-designed quality system provides you with valuable information to work more efficiently. You can use the data you collect to build smarter and thus expand your margins.
How can I deploy a quality system?
Successful use of a quality system stands or falls with a smart plan for deploying it. Part of that is in your own hands – make sure you have a good overview of your goals in advance. Your people play the leading role for an equally important part. If keeping up with quality is seen as an extra burden, it is ‘forgotten’ or rushed off. This is at the expense of the quality of your quality system. Therefore, consult with your people early, find out how things can be recorded with minimal effort and when good agreements must be made in advance (you can only record the pouring of a foundation once). The better and sooner you involve your people in the deployment of a quality system, the greater the chance of success.
A quality system is useful and will soon become necessary. Success stands or falls with the support within your organization. Take the time to use this tool properly. Use the advantage that the still lingering postponement of the WKB offers and get to work. Then you can build well prepared for the future.