Chapter 13. Construction Quality Management – Construction Project Management: Theory and Practice


Construction Quality Management

Introduction, construction quality, inspection, quality control and quality assurance in projects, total quality management, quality gurus and their teachings, cost of quality, ISO standards, CONQUAS—construction quality assessment system, audit, construction productivity


The quality of construction is one of the matters of great concern with most civil engineering constructions. Collins (1996) while describing quality as the world’s oldest documented profession reports that poor quality can have far-reaching consequences. The following statement recorded during the reign of a Babylonian king is worth mentioning:

If a builder constructed a house but did not make his work strong with the result that the house which he built collapsed and so caused the death of the owner of the house, the builder shall be put to death.

Existing laws might prevent such harsh penalties in the present scenario, but the consequences may rather be in terms of loss in productivity, additional expenditures by way of rework and repair, re-inspection and retest in the short term. In the long term, poor quality can hurt reputation, and if the company continues in the same way it might have to close its shop for want of new projects. If a number of construction companies of a country start neglecting the quality aspects in their projects, this also starts reflecting on the reputation of the country.

There is a great difference between the quality of constructed facility and the samples that are submitted for testing. For example, quality of concrete is checked from the cube that is cured very well, but the actual constructed facility might not have received adequate curing. Similarly, there may be defects like faulty slopes in any flooring and roofing works, leading water to stagnate; there could be dampness on walls due to some bad brick used or bad workmanship; or there may be deliberate saving on material quality.

According to a conservative estimate, the cost of poor quality could be as high as 200 per cent to 300 per cent of the cost of construction in the early ages of works in some of the cases, which is a severe drain on our precious resources. Contractors are asked to rectify the defects, but many times they are irreparable and users are forced to take over the facility even with a long list of defects, as fait accompli. The user then suffers throughout the life of the structure by way of attending to recurring defects from time to time, or he sacrifices his comforts and keeps quiet and ends up paying much more cost than what contractor would have paid to do the right quality of work.

Construction quality has not got enough attention also due to the policy of awarding the project on bid price alone (lowest bidder system). The inherent assumption in adopting such a policy is that given the same set of drawings and specifications, all contractors including the contractor with the lowest bid price will produce similar construction quality. Unfortunately, this is not often the case. The lowest bidder reeling under cutthroat price tries to cut corners and starts compromising on quality. The majority among such contractors tend to neglect the complaints of the customer and produce bad quality of work. In the short run, such contractors do rise very fast, but in the long run they ultimately fail. On the other hand, there are some contractors who consistently make attempts to produce good-quality work. In the short run such contractors may seem to be on the losing side; in the long run, however, they prove to be quite successful and, in fact, some customers engage them even by paying extra price (premium).

Quality has widely been recognized as a distinctive competency that can be used by business to increase profitability and market share. The recognized success of Japanese firms with low cost, high quality, reliable and innovative products has had considerable impact on the western attitude to quality, particularly in forcing them to rethink their belief that quality is expensive (Love et al. 1995). While this concept is well understood in the manufacturing industry, the same cannot be claimed for the construction industry.

Customer satisfaction, which is of paramount importance in quality management, deals with life-cycle cost, that is, after-sales service or the cost to users. Incidentally, in the construction industry, while the supplier (constructor) is responsible for any defects up to defect liability period or six months to one year from the date of completion, there is no provision that can hold the supplier responsible for defects. Many times, the customer (user) takes possession of the constructed facility much after the defect liability period is over and spends a huge sum of money in rectification, which may at times be irreparable too. Also, most customers are not so demanding with regard to the supplier (constructor/developer) because of their ignorance of their rights.


13.2.1 Definition of Quality

The term ‘quality’ has many connotations when used by different stakeholders. Some of the ways in which ‘quality’ has been defined are given in Box 13.1:

Box 13.1 Quality definitions

It is the fitness for purpose.

It is conformance to specification.

It is about meeting or exceeding the needs of the customer.

It is value for money.

It is customer satisfaction/customer delight.

It is doing it right the first time and every time.

It is reduction of variability.

No matter what definition we follow for quality, it becomes very complex when we try to put it into actual practice. For a user, quality is nothing but satisfaction with the appearance, performance and reliability of the project for a given price range.

The term ‘quality’ is often associated with products that are costly; however, it does not mean that products of low price cannot be of good quality. If the product meets the stated and unstated (intended) requirement of the customer, it can still be called a quality product. Most of the works in ‘quality’ are reported from the manufacturing industry, while very few are reported in the context of construction quality.

In the context of construction, suppose the contractor provides (i) a 110 mm thick RCC slab or (ii) a 95 mm thick RCC slab, against the customer’s requirement of 100 mm thick RCC slab. Can these be considered quality products? Suppose the owner has desired that M25 grade of concrete be used in the slab, and the contractor has provided M25 grade concrete but the concrete that was supposed to have been received by the customer on Monday reached him on Tuesday. Has the contractor done a quality job?

How do we define construction quality? Is it the quality of materials being used in construction, the quality of workmanship, or the fulfilment of the end user’s ultimate requirements? Schexnayder and Mayo (2004) extend the definition of construction quality beyond just ‘supplying the right materials’ and add that construction quality is also about finishing the project safely, on time, within budget, and without claims and litigation.

Suppose a contractor has not used the specified material in the specified quantity and he is still able to achieve the strength and serviceability requirement. Can this product be called a quality product? In another example, suppose the materials specified have been followed properly for the construction of a roof slab, but the slope that should have been provided as per the requirement is not provided. Can this qualify as a quality product? As a final example, suppose that out of 100 components in a construction project, about 10 components are not as per the requirement. Can this be called a quality project?

Most of the questions posed above can be addressed reasonably well if quality is assumed to be ‘sticking to specification’—in other words, fulfilling the promises (contractual obligation) or delivering what has been promised. In construction, the promises are made by agreeing to ‘do something’ or ‘not do something’ in the form of signing the contract document.

Specifications, bill of quantities, general and special conditions of contract, drawings, etc., are part of the contract document. In the context of quality, specifications and contract drawing play the most important role. It would be virtually impossible to achieve the desired quality if the specifications and drawings for a project are unclear and confusing. Thus, specifications and drawings should try to capture the requirement or need of the customer in clear terms. These two documents should spell out clearly the materials to be used, the manufacturers, the guidelines for ensuring quality of materials at the time of purchase, the work method, the sequence to be followed, the tools and equipment to be used, the information on line and levels, and so on.

The relevant standards governing material and workmanship must be clearly specified. More importantly, qualitative terms describing the material-selection process or workmanship should be avoided as far as possible because this may bring in subjectivity and make the predefined quality a debatable issue. In summary, the objective of construction quality is to ensure that the constructed facility will perform its intended function.

According to International Organization for Standardization (ISO), quality is an inherent characteristic (distinguishing feature). Some of these characteristics are obtained from the stated, implied, or obligatory needs. Let us assume that the need of a particular concrete slab is to attain 20 N/mm2 strength at 28 days of casting, in which case ‘strength’ becomes one of the quality characteristics for the concrete slab. The quality characteristic is not restricted to products such as concrete slab, but can be extended to include the process of construction, person, machine, the company as a whole, and so on. Each of the entity can have different quality characteristics.

Total quality in the construction industry can be defined as a measurable process of continuous improvement that is focused on the needs and expectations of the customer. Success requires a partnership characterized by input, involvement, commitment and action from owners, contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors and suppliers (Deffenbaugh 1993).

13.2.2 Evolution of Quality

Modern quality control techniques were developed in the United States in the 1920s. In 1924, Shewart applied statistical quality control (SQC) in manufacturing in which statistical techniques are combined with conventional quality control methods. In 1928, H.F. Dodge and H.G. Roming published a theoretical consideration of stochastic statistics applied to sampling inspections.

In the early 1940s, a number of developments took place in the use of sampling tables for acceptance inspection. During World War II, the need for strict quality control became a necessity due to increased production of war materials. The quality control techniques used by Department of Defense (DOD) propelled their suppliers also to adopt such techniques. Quality control techniques and statistical analysis techniques in particular have advanced greatly since that time. After World War II, the emphasis was on promotion of quality control techniques on the part of suppliers and quality assurance on the part of inspection agencies of DOD.

In 1969, Feigenbaum used the term ‘total quality’ for the first time and it referred to wider issues such as planning, organization and management responsibility. Feigenbaum applied the statistical quality control techniques of Shewart to cover the whole company and not just one operation of a company. During this period itself, Ishikawa explained the term ‘total quality control’ and interpreted it to be ‘company-wide quality control’. He emphasised the need for all employees, from top management to workers, to study and participate in quality control. Thus, in the 1960s and the early part of 1970s, the keywords in quality were ‘zero defect’ and ‘total quality control’, or TQC.

The TQC route was religiously followed in Japanese industries including in construction. TQC was not only applied to ensure the product quality but was also used to ensure management effectiveness. This saw a rise in the operation of Japanese companies worldwide. Japanese products were synonymous with the term ‘quality’. The Japanese concept of TQC has come to be known as total quality management (TQM) in modern quality parlance (Burati, Jr, et al. 1991).

The 1980s were a time of intense global competition and a country’s economic performance and reputation for quality was made up of the reputations and performances of its individual companies and products/services. Countries were striving to take lead in producing quality products at cheaper price. Quality management got a major thrust and it was now regarded as a key variable in the competitive positioning of firms and in ensuring market share. Quality gurus such as Deming, Crosby and Juran contributed a lot in the development of the quality field. The emphasis now shifted from the traditional approach of making the product—tracking the mistake by inspection and correcting it—to ‘making it right the first time’ and ‘zero defect’.

During the 1990s, ISO 9000 became the internationally recognized standard for quality management systems. ISO standards specify the requirements for documentation, implementation and maintenance of a quality system. TQM became part of a much wider concept that addresses overall organizational performance and recognizes the importance of processes. People started realizing the benefits of total quality management.

In the 21st century, TQM has developed in many countries and it has helped organizations in achieving excellent performance, particularly in customer and business results. The quality movement is now gradually moving towards the much wider ‘business excellence’ or ‘Excellence’ model.


Quality standards obtained from modern construction projects have not kept pace with developments in technology and management in construction industry. Recurring incidents of faulty design and construction have caused untold damage and loss of life and property. Economic and legal implications of construction failures are nothing compared to the human lives that are lost and the permanent or temporary physical, mental and psychological suffering. Construction quality can be affected by:

  • Whether a clear set of design and drawings is available—sometimes the confusion in design and drawings may show up in poor quality of construction
  • Whether a clear, well-laid-out and unambiguous set of specifications is available
  • Whether a clearly defined quality-control methodology exists
  • Whether there has been usage of proper materials, workers and equipments during the construction processes

A major cause of controversy in quality control is delegation of responsibility and authority pertaining to quality assurance. Traditionally, designers as the agents of the owner are responsible for ensuring compliance as per specifications (design specifications). The responsibility of supervising the contractor’s performance can be delegated to the designer’s field staff—the clerk of works. He is responsible for seeing that the work is performed according to specifications, but he has no power to enforce compliance.

To alleviate (overcome) the problem of responsibility and authority in quality control, a linear responsibility chart (LRC) that describes all the persons within the quality control programme, their responsibilities, authority and interrelationships relative to quality control tasks is proposed. LRC is facilitated by the quality control matrix, which clearly defines the quality control requirements and the quality control methods. The two charts form the basis for developing the quality control programme.

A well-defined quality control programme should be established for each project and the organization structure of the programme should be very explicit. For an efficient quality control system, it is essential to develop and encourage cooperation among the participants so as to minimize the adversary relationships the traditional contract methods tend to generate. Designers should work closely with contractors to meet project quality objectives. Situations in which the designers ‘police’ the contractor’s performance do alienate them from the latter.

Quality control is the responsibility of the entire project team (including owner). Quality control inspections should be done with the motive of encouraging and ensuring good workmanship rather than to catch culprits. Specifications should be realistic and these must consider natural variations in workmanship. In spite of the diverse factors influencing construction quality control, it remains a possible goal.

The process entails a system approach that makes participants in the construction process work together as a team. By taking better care and offering incentives for good workmanship, quality construction can be obtained. Legislation and regulations can ensure and safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public by securing better construction quality.

13.3.1 Inspection

Inspection usually entails checking the physical appearance of an item against what is required. Activities such as measuring, examining, testing and gauging one or more characteristics of a product or service and comparing this with specified requirements are part of inspection.

It is generally a non-destructive qualitative observation such as checking performance against descriptive specifications and, thus, it could be subjective in nature. In some cases, gauges or machines may be required to do some simple measurements or examinations. Collecting concrete cube samples and testing them for quality interpretation is one of the most common examples of inspection in concrete construction operation. The three common levels of inspection are—(1) at the time of receiving the raw materials, parts, assemblies and other purchased items; (2) at the time of processing; and (3) final inspection prior to acceptance of product. The process of inspection is undertaken in a structured way using checklists. One such sample checklist is shown in Figure 13.1. Needless to say, the checklist helps to compare the characteristics required out of a product vis-à-vis what is inbuilt in the product.

13.3.2 Quality Control (QC)

Oakland (1995) defines ‘quality control’ as essentially the activities and techniques employed to achieve and maintain the quality of a product, process, or service. It involves a monitoring activity, but also concerns finding and eliminating causes of quality problems so that the requirements of the customer are continuously met. According to ISO, quality control is defined as a set of activities or techniques whose purpose is to ensure that all quality requirements are being met. In order to achieve this purpose, processes are monitored and performance problems are solved. Thus, quality control describes those actions that provide the means to control and measure the characteristics of an item, process, or facility against the established requirements. Quality control is basically the responsibility of the production personnel. A typical quality control programme would consist of defining quality standard, defining procedures for the measurement of attainment of that standard, execution of the procedures to determine probable attainment or non-attainment of the standard, and the power to enforce and maintain the defined standard as measured according to the defined procedure.

Figure 13.1 A sample checklist for formwork inspection

In the context of construction, quality control is administered by the contractors or by the specialist consultants such as consulting engineers or testing laboratories. Construction quality control entails performing inspection, test, measurement and documentation necessary to check, verify and correct the quality of construction materials and methods. Primary objectives of construction quality control are to produce a safe, reliable and durable structure so that the owner gets the best value for his investment.

The construction industry does not abide by a formal quality control programme as do the construction-related industries. Quality control on some projects could be haphazard and inconsistent. Because of heterogeneity, it is impossible to employ a uniform approach to check quality standards of construction work. Three major quality control methods commonly used on construction projects are:

  • Inspection
  • Testing
  • Sampling

Techniques used vary from subjective evaluation to objective assessment of quality attained. The type adopted depends on the characteristics of construction activities or systems being examined and the degree of certainty desired. While all the methods may be feasible, not all of them are applicable on a particular activity. It is necessary that the methods to be used are as defined in the contract documents, to eliminate any confusion. Because of the nature of construction work, absolute compliance with specifications is impractical. The objective of quality assurance examination is to determine the degree of compliance with contract quality standards. A realistic approach is to first establish a minimum quality standard that will be the basics of acceptance or rejection. Appropriate quality control methods can thereafter be used to judge if variations are within the acceptable tolerances. Best results are obtained if quality control is consistent and the techniques used are appropriate.

13.3.3 Quality Assurance (QA)

According to Oakland (1995), quality assurance is broadly the prevention of quality problems through planned and systematic activities (including documentation). These will include the establishment of a good quality management system, the assessment of its adequacy, the audit of the operation of the system, and the review of the system itself. According to ISO, quality assurance is defined as a set of activities whose purpose is to demonstrate that an entity (such as product, processes, person, department and organization) meets all quality requirements. QA activities are carried out in order to inspire the confidence of both customers and managers, that all quality requirements are being met.

In the context of construction, quality assurance activities include all those planned and systematic administrative and surveillance functions initiated by project owner or regulatory agents to enforce and certify, with adequate confidence, compliance with established project quality standards to ensure that the completed structure and/or its components will fulfil the desired purposes efficiently, effectively and economically. The increase in complexity in a project has further increased the need for more efficient QA measures to ensure compliance with contract specifications.

Quality assurance programmes encompass the following:

  • Establishing the procedure for defining, developing and establishing quality standards in design, construction and sometimes the operational stages of the structure and/or its components
  • Establishing the procedure to be used to monitor, test, inspect, measure and perform current and review activities to assure compliance with established quality standards, with regard to construction materials, methods and personnel
  • Defining the administrative procedure and requirements, organizational relationships and responsibilities, communications and information patterns, and other management activities required to execute, document and assure attainment of the established quality standards

It can be commonly observed that engineers/contractors use the term QA and QC interchangeably, which is not correct. While QA is a construction management process, QC is a sampling or inspection process. The focus in quality assurance is on defect prevention, while the focus in quality control is on defect detection once the item is constructed. In fact, it can be said that quality control is an element of a quality assurance programme.


According to Oakland (1995), TQM is a way of planning, organizing and understanding each activity that depends on each individual at each level. Ideas of continuous learning allied to concepts such as empowerment and partnership, which are facets of TQM, also imply that a change in behaviour and culture is required if construction firms are to become learning organizations.

This is a complete management philosophy that permeates every aspect of a company and places quality as a strategic issue. Total quality management is accomplished through an integrated effort among all levels in a company to increase customer satisfaction by continuously improving current performance. TQM is a management-led approach applicable in all the operations of a company and the responsibility of ensuring quality is collective. The philosophy of TQM is one of prevention rather than defect detection. According to Pheng and Teo (2004), TQM is a way of thinking about goals, organizations, processes and people to ensure that the right things are done right the first time. It is an approach to improving the competitiveness and effectiveness, and flexibility of the whole organization. The essential elements of TQM are:

  • Management commitment and leadership
  • Training
  • Teamwork
  • Statistical methods
  • Cost of quality
  • Supplier involvement

It is believed that adoption of TQM by construction companies will result in higher customer satisfaction, better quality products and higher market share. However, adoption of TQM requires a complete turnaround in the corporate culture and management approach, as compared to the traditional way of top management giving orders and employees merely obeying those.

Construction, being different from manufacturing and other industries, has many unique problems that cause hindrances in adoption of TQM. Some of the major problems identified are:

  1. lack of teamwork
  2. poor communication
  3. inadequate planning and scheduling

The causes identified for the above problems are:

  1. no team-building exercises at the inception of projects
  2. lack of understanding of team members’ expectations
  3. little or no team-oriented planning and scheduling

Deming, Juran and Crosby are some of the world-famous quality gurus. All of them have come out with their own ideas and concepts on quality. These are briefly discussed below.

13.5.1 Deming

Deming modified the ‘plan, do, check, act’ (PDCA) cycle originated by Shewart. He named this as PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycle. Conceptually, PDSA cycle, now also known as Deming cycle, is one of the problem-solving methods. The cycle is shown in Figure 13.2.

As the name suggests, PDSA cycle suggests preparation of a plan of things to be done as a first step, followed by its execution (doing whatever has been planned) as a second step. In the third step, results of the plan during execution are studied. Issues regarding the execution exactly as per plan and any variations are studied during this step. Finally, in the fourth step, the results are checked by actually identifying what went according to plan and what did not follow the plan. Using this insight, a revised and improved plan is worked out and the entire process is repeated.

Figure 13.2 The PDSA cycle

Deming’s fourteen points provide a theory for management to improve quality, productivity and competitive positions. These points were first presented in his book Out of the Crisis and are briefly presented below:

  1. The management should create and publish a statement of the aims and purposes toward improvement of product and service of the company (for example, to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs). It should be accessible to all employees. The management must constantly demonstrate their commitment to the statement.
  2. Top management and employees must learn and adopt the new philosophy. In a new economic age, management must awaken to the challenges and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease cost.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Teach and institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as is supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear, and create trust so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. Optimize the aims and purposes of the company, and the efforts of teams, groups and staff areas. People in research, design, sales and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or the service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and, thus, lie beyond the power of the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for production. Instead, learn and institute methods for improvement. Learn the capabilities of processes, and how to improve them.
  12. (a) Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from looking at sheer numbers to quality. (b) Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
  13. Institute a vigorous programme of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everyone in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everyone’s work.

13.5.2 Juran

Joseph Juran developed the idea of the quality trilogy—quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. Juran emphasised the necessity for management at all levels to be committed to the quality effort with hands-on involvement. Juran recommended project improvements based on return on investment to achieve breakthrough results. He concentrated not only on the end customer, but identified other external and internal customers as well. According to him, quality is ‘fitness of use’.

Figure 13.3 Juran’s quality trilogy

Juran suggested his trilogy (see Figure 13.3) for process improvement. The trilogy has three components—planning, control and improvement. The planning part consists of:

  • establishing the goals and identification of both external and internal customers
  • identification of needs of both external and internal customers, and translating these into deliverables that are understandable by the organization and its suppliers
  • developing the product and/or service according to the needs of the customer, at an optimum cost
  • developing the processes capable of producing the product and/or service
  • putting plans into operation

The control part consists of:

  • determining the variables to be controlled and the means to measure these variables
  • setting goals for the control
  • measuring actual performance
  • comparing the actual performance with the goals set during planning
  • acting on the difference between actual performance and performance goals

The improvement part consists of:

  • attaining a performance level that is higher that the current level of performance
  • identifying the different improvement measures and adopting an effective problem-solving method
  • implementing the solution of the problem found during this stage to the quality planning process

The process thus adopted is repeated starting from setting a fresh goal.

Juran is also known for his ‘triple-role concept’ (see Figure 13.4) of quality involving customer, processor and supplier. In the context of construction, according to the ‘triple-role concept’ it can be said that each stakeholder at every level (for example, corporate level, region or branch level, department level, section level and individual level) has three roles to play—that of supplier, processor and customer. It may be recalled that some of the stakeholders in a construction project are architect/engineer, owner and contractor. The construction process works when the owner communicates his requirement to the architect/engineer, a step that converts the requirement into the form of plan and specifications, which when provided to the contractor are realized in the form of a constructed facility.

Figure 13.4 ‘Triple role’ concept as applied in construction

Now, according to the ‘triple role’ concept, the architect/engineer plays the role of a customer to the owner when he receives the requirement from the owner, that of a processor when he processes the design for the proposed facility, and that of a supplier when he supplies the plan and specifications to the contractor to convert these into reality. The contractor plays the customer to the architect/engineer when he receives the plan and specifications from him (architect/engineer), the processor when he processes the actual construction, and the supplier when he hands over the constructed facility to the owner. The higher the satisfaction of each of the stakeholders in the construction process, the better the project quality.

13.5.3 Philip Crosby

Philip Crosby is known for his concepts of ‘do it right first time’ and ‘zero defects’. He believed that doing it right the first time is less expensive than the cost of detecting and correcting the non-conformities. He defined quality as conformance with requirements that the company itself has established for its products, based directly on customer needs. He emphasised prevention management in every area. The four absolutes of quality management according to Philip Crosby are:

  • Quality is conformance with requirements.
  • Prevention of non-conformance is the objective, not appraisal.
  • The performance standard is ‘zero defects’, not ‘that’s close enough’.
  • Measurement of quality is the cost of non-conformance.

Construction projects are capital-intensive and cost of quality acquires a great significance. According to Juran, the cost of quality can be considered in terms of economics of the conformance quality. The quality cost breakdown shown in Figure 13.5 is based on the work of Feigenbaum (1983), who first described the concept in 1956.

From Figure 13.5, it is clear that

                    Quality costs = Quality control costs + Failure costs  (13.1)

Where,  Quality control costs = Prevention costs + Appraisal costs  (13.2)

and    Failure costs = Internal failure costs + External failure costs  (13.3)

The prevention costs used in the above equation refer to the cost of quality control activities undertaken before and during production. In other words, prevention cost is the cost of efforts undertaken to prevent failures. The appraisal cost is given by the costs incurred for quality control or quality assurance after production—for example, the costs of inspection, testing and examination to assess that the specified quality is being maintained.

Figure 13.5 Quality cost breakdown

The internal failure cost is the cost resulting from a product or a service failing to meet the quality requirements—for example, warranties and return, liability costs, product recall cost, and direct cost or allowances.

The external assurance costs include:

  • Costs relating to the demonstration and proof/objective evidence to customers
  • Cost of testing by recognized, independent testing bodies for quality assurance provisions, demonstration and assessments
  • Cost of independent assessment/third-party agency performing a detailed and in-depth study of company’s QA activities

The prevention and appraisal costs being optional, they have also been referred to as discretionary (Blank and Solarzano 1978) or controllable costs (Besterfield 1979). A failure refers to the non-achievement of requirements. The relationship between cost and quality level is also shown pictorially in Figure 13.6 and is self-explanatory.

Figure 13.6 Cost versus quality level — classic view (adapted from Brown and Kane 1984)

For illustration, let us take an example of a leaking roof. The costs associated with this will be as described below.

Conformance Cost

Prevention cost:   This includes costs of various components that help to prevent the defect, such as preparation of specification and work procedure for construction joint preparation, stripping time of formwork, and training of staff and workmen.

Appraisal cost:   This includes costs of all such activities that result in the cost of checking whether it is right. In this case, it will include checking the concrete-making materials against agreed specification, inspection before placing concrete, the calibration and maintenance of equipment used for testing of concrete, and the assessment and approval of all suppliers.

Non-conformance Cost

This has two main components: internal failure cost and external failure cost. Together, they indicate the cost of getting it wrong.

Internal failure cost:   This includes cost due to wastage of materials, grouting the roof slab by waterproofing compounds, and re-examination of works that have been rectified.

External failure cost:   This includes repairing and servicing the defective parts, replacement of flooring components including transportation cost, cost associated with handling and servicing of customer complaints, and the impact on reputation and image which impinges directly on future prospects of sale.

Organizations in the construction industry spend money for prevention and appraisal, but the magnitude of these costs is very less when compared to the total cost of the project. It is widely believed that if the prevention and appraisal costs are more—that is, the cost of conformance is more—the failure or the non-conformance cost will be less. Typically, while the conformance costs are controllable variables, the non-conformance costs are the resultant variable.

The cost of quality includes direct and indirect costs associated with labour, materials and equipment used in quality management activities and for correcting deviations (Davies et al. 1989). Joseph Juran is widely credited with making the earliest references to losses due to poor quality of products and services. His broad-based, general application of a ‘cost of quality’ philosophy represented a considerable expansion of the existing body of knowledge when he first introduced it in 1951. Since that time, many significant contributions have been made by a number of prominent authors. Juran, along with Armand Feigenbaum, was primarily responsible for the writings that led to the development of current ‘cost of quality’ concepts (Feigenbaum 1961, Juran and Gryna 1988, Bajpai and Willey 1989, and Companella 1990).

Many quality experts, including W. Edwards Deming, Philip Crosby and Genachi Taguchi, have put forth numerous ideas and principles related to cost of quality (Logothetis 1999). Juran refers to two types of quality costs—control costs, which include the prevention and appraisal categories, and failure costs, which include both internal and external failure categories (Juran and Gryna 1988). American quality consultant Philip Crosby stresses the price of conformance and the price of non-conformance classifications. These translate into the prevention/appraisal and internal/external failure categories, respectively, and the ‘cost of quality’ information is used as a managerial tool in assessing cost-related expenditures, for tracking costs, and to augment other forms of information on the operational and strategic decision-making process (Shank and Govindarajan 1994). Crosby’s approach begins with discrediting the assumption that there is a correlation between quality and cost. He maintains that doing a job right the first time is more cost-effective than making mistakes, tracking them, and correcting them. Companies without the benefit of this wisdom probably spend more doing inferior work than they would if they adopted a clear, uncompromising and high-quality standard of zero defects (Burati et al. 1991). While there are some differences in the approaches and philosophies pertaining to cost of quality, there is much consensus regarding the broader nature of what constitutes a continuous improvement process and how customer satisfaction may be achieved.

The concept of cost of quality has been developed and used in manufacturing industries (Feigenbaum 1983). As for the application of the concept in construction industry, some research work has been reported in the United States. Construction Industry Institute’s (CII) preliminary analysis of nine industrial-type projects indicates that the cost of ‘failing to meet the quality standards’ is in the range of 12 per cent to 15 per cent of the total project cost (Needs and Ledbetter 1991). At a national conference on quality assurance in the building community (USA), it was suggested that the cost of poor quality was at least 7.5 per cent of the value of new non-residential work (Shilstone 1983). In another study, the causes of quality deviations in the design and construction were investigated in nine fast-track industrial construction projects. Analysis of the data showed that deviations on the projects accounted for an average of 12.4 per cent of the total project cost (Arditi and Gunaydin 1998).

Use of quality concepts did not start in Japanese construction companies until the mid-Seventies. People in construction industry were sceptical about ‘quality control’ success in construction due to the above-named differences between the construction and manufacturing industries. The 1973 oil embargo and the steep increase in oil prices adversely affected the prospects of future construction contracts in Japan. Construction companies started thinking about methods for reducing the cost of operations. In other words, the decrease of potential work quantity stimulated a drive to decrease the cost while keeping the quality levels as high as possible (Gilly et al. 1988).

In India, a large number of workshops have been organized by Consultancy Development Centre, Indian Oil Corporation and other private and multinational construction organizations to educate their staffs on the concept of ISO 9000 certification and type of documents. However, very little research work has been reported in the area of evaluating cost of quality. Rao (2000) has emphasised the achievement of quality and performance through training of workmen, proper contract clauses and certification.


The growing need for common quality standards throughout the world in manufacturing, inspection and test specification, and the need for standardization led to the formation of an international committee with the objective of producing an international quality standard. The committee considered many national inputs, especially the stringent quality requirements for defence contractors, and in 1987 produced a series of standards. These standards were called ISO 9000. These are a set of guidelines to effectively manage the important activities in an organization which affect quality. These standards only specify generic guidelines—applicable to any industry/service organization. These are system standards and not product standards, and are generally considered as a milestone on the path to total quality management (TQM). These establish a metric to evaluate continuous improvement. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) located at Geneva, Switzerland, is the approved body for issue and guidance of international standards today.

13.7.1 Benefits of ISO 9000

The ISO standards are advisory in nature and have worldwide acceptance under two-party (for example, client–contractor) contractual situations. There are agencies that certify that a particular company is following ISO standards. ISO 9000 is more than a certificate hanging on the wall of an organization. Some of the benefits of implementing ISO standards are listed below:

  • It is increasingly becoming the requirement for global export/tender and increases access to global supply to large indigenous companies.
  • It is increasingly becoming an effective marketing strategy and provides decisive edge over competition. It also helps in acquiring new customers.
  • It ensures consistently dependable processes, less field failures, less wasted time, materials, and efforts, and reduction in scrap and rework. Thus, it helps in improving overall productivity and profit.

Some documented case histories of ISO 9000 benefits ( for different categories of business include:

  • Ten per cent sales increase directly attributable to ISO and a reduction in costs yielding $300,000 per year in case of a wholesale distributor
  • Return on investment being achieved in less than two years for a manufacturing-assembly shop
  • Savings of $250,000 in the first year following registration in case of a service and repair shop
  • Eighteen per cent reduction in customer focus and 25 per cent increase in production backlog in case of hardware manufacturers
  • In case of process-control systems and instrumentation manufacturer, inventory reduction of 50 per cent; product-cost reduction of 5 per cent; decrease in lost workdays of 80 per cent; increase in on-time deliveries of 12 per cent; reduction in credit memos of 70 per cent; increase in market share of 15 per cent
  • Two per cent increase in overall margin in case of a keypad manufacturer

A company following the ISO standards provision may wish to get certified by an assessment agency and thereby get ISO registration. Of course, these registrations are audited at certain specified intervals by both external and internal auditors.

13.7.2 Principles of Quality Management Systems

The ISO 9000 series of standards, being generic in nature, can easily be tailored to fit the needs of a construction organization. The crux of these standards is to say what it is doing to ensure quality, to do what it says, and to document what it has done is in accordance with what it has said. The quality management systems adopted by ISO 9000 ( is based on the following broad principles:

  1. Customer focus: This involves understanding current and future customer needs and meeting or exceeding the same.
  2. Leadership: Organizations rely on leaders and, therefore, the leaders should create and maintain an internal environment wherein people are involved completely, trying to achieve the organization’s objectives in a collective manner.
  3. Involvement of people: Organizations must encourage people’s full involvement so that their abilities are used for the benefit of the organization.
  4. Process approach: This involves managing activities and related resources as a process to achieve the desired results efficiently. Organizations are most efficient when they use a process approach.
  5. Systems approach to management: Organizations must achieve effectiveness and efficiency by identifying interrelated processes and treating them as a system. Organizations must use a systems approach to manage the interrelated processes.
  6. Continual improvement: Organizations must improve their overall performance on a continual basis and this should be one of the permanent objectives.
  7. Factual approach to decision-making: In order to make an effective decision, organizations must make their decisions based on an analysis of factual data and information.
  8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationship: Organizations and their suppliers are interdependent and, thus, a cordial relation benefits both parties.

13.7.3 ISO 9001–2000 Family of Standards

ISO 9001 standard has eight sections. Out of the eight sections, the first three are provided for information and the remaining five lay down the requirements to be followed by the organization that is implementing the standard. The International Organization for Standardization developed a series of international standards for quality systems (ISO 9000, 9001 and 9004).

  1. ISO 9000 describes the fundamentals of quality management systems and specifies the terminology for quality management system and that used in the other two standards.
  2. ISO 9001 specifies requirements for a QMS wherein an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to provide products that fulfil customer and applicable regulatory requirements, and aim to enhance customer satisfaction.
  3. ISO 9004 provides guidelines that consider both the effectiveness and efficiency of the QMS.
  4. ISO 19011 provides guidance on auditing quality and environmental management system.

The outline of different sections of ISO 9001–2000 is given in Table 13.1. The main sections deal with scope, normative reference, terms and definitions, quality management system, management responsibility, resource management, product realization, and measurement analysis and improvement.


Table 13.1 Sections and subsections—ISO 9001–2000

1. Scope


Scope specifies the purpose of the standard. For example, for a construction company the contents of the scope could be—procurement, construction, inspection, testing and commissioning.

2. Normative reference


The section provides the reference to all the concepts, definitions and applicable documents.

3. Terms and definitions


The section deals with the definition of key terms such as client, supplier, third-party inspection, authorized inspection agency, quality assurance and control, quality plan, inspection, calibration, test certificates, and so on. The section also explains the meaning of abbreviations used anywhere in the document.

4. Quality management system

4.1 General requirements

It deals with identification of processes for product realization, determination of sequence involved with the processes, ensuring resources required for the processes, monitoring, measuring and analysing the processes, and finally, the implementation part.


4.2 Documentation requirements

It deals with establishing and maintaining quality manual, and control of documents and records.

5. Management responsibility

5.1 Management commitment

It deals with the commitment of management to the development, implementation and continual improvement of the quality management system.

5.2 Customer focus

The section seeks to ensure that customer requirements are determined and met to the complete satisfaction of the customer.


5.3 Quality policy

It deals with the quality policy of the company in line with the company’s mission.


5.4 Planning

The section deals with the objectives, planning for quality management system, project quality plan and the details of procedures for maintaining and controlling the quality records.


5.5 Responsibility, authority and communication

It contains the organization chart specifying the responsibility and authority for the key positions marked for implementing/managing the quality system at project level.


5.6 Management review

This relates to review of the quality system at specified intervals for the stated objectives, with reference to quality, cost, timely completion, safety, etc.

6. Resource management

6.1 Provision of resources

The objective and scope of resource management are specified. For example, for a construction company the objective could be to establish and maintain a procedure for resources in construction activities at site, and the scope could be describing the methods adopted for the administration of resources to the satisfaction of the customers.


6.2 Human resources

It deals with personnel executing the work, their competence, their awareness towards achieving quality objectives, and the training details of personnel.


6.3 Infrastructure

It deals with the requirement and maintenance of infrastructure to achieve the desired quality level.


6.4 Work environment

It deals with the provision of a suitable work environment that can influence positively the motivation and performance of personnel involved with the processes.

7. Product realization

7.1 Planning of product realization

In the context of a construction organization, it could be establishing and maintaining the planning and control manual for construction activities, establishing work methods, and the contract administration procedures. The details of activities and the persons responsible for executing these are also defined.


7.2 Customer-related process

It deals with the requirements specified by the product, and these could even be the ones not stated by the customer but essential for proper functioning of the product. It also deals with the communication arrangement to be followed by the organization for communicating with the customer.


7.3 Design and development

This section deals with the planning aspect for product design and development, the determination of inputs for design and development, the description of outputs resulting from the design and development, and the review process for the design and development.


7.4 Purchasing

This section deals with the purchasing processes such as defining who is responsible for purchasing, what process is adopted for the purchasing, the inspection process of the purchased product, and so on.

7.5 Production and service provision

This section deals with establishing, implementing, maintaining and validating the procedures for control of production and service provision. The process of treating and storing the client-supplied materials (customer property) is also provided. The process of informing the customer of any loss, damage, incompleteness, or other discrepancy regarding any products supplied by them is also mentioned.


7.6 Control of monitoring and measuring devices

The section deals with establishing and maintaining the procedure to calibrate and maintain the inspection and test equipment, to ensure that the equipment are capable of performing to required accuracy.

8. Measurement analysis and improvement

8.1 General

It deals with establishment of procedures for implementing, monitoring, measurement, analysis and improvement process in all activities to achieve customer satisfaction, product quality and QMS effectiveness.


8.2 Monitoring and measurement

It deals with monitoring the information relating to customer’s perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirement. The details on internal audit process are also specified.


8.3 Control of non-conforming products

It describes the responsibilities and methods used by the management for control of non-conforming product/system/process and to ensure that the defective processes and products are prevented from use.


8.4 Analysis of data

It deals with establishing and maintaining a system for application of statistical techniques that will enable decision-making and demonstrate the suitability and effectiveness of QMS.


8.5 Improvement

It deals with establishing, implementing and maintaining a procedure for continual improvement and for elimination of potential non-conformities.


Construction Quality Assessment System, also known as CONQUAS, is a standard quality assessment system introduced by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore. The system objectively measures constructed works against workmanship standards and specifications. In order to measure the project quality, the system uses a sampling approach to represent the whole project. The samples are distributed as uniformly as possible throughout the project, and the number of samples is dependent on the size of the building. The emphasis in this system is on ‘doing it right the first time’. Once a project has been evaluated and a score assigned, there is no re-scoring in the CONQUAS—that is, rectification and correction made after the assessment is not taken into consideration. Over the years, the CONQUAS system has gained acceptability as a benchmarking tool across several countries including India. Some Indian companies have also got their projects evaluated under CONQUAS.

BCA conducts evaluation of all types of buildings, viz. commercial and industrial, institutional, public housing and landed housing. The assessment is conducted at the invitation of developer/contractor for private sector projects, while it is a must for all public sector projects. For the scoring, the project is divided in three major components—structural, architectural, and mechanical and electrical (M&E) works. These components are further divided into different subcomponents. For example, under structural components the different subcomponents are formwork, rebar, finished concrete, concrete quality, steel reinforcement quality, NDT-UPV test for concrete uniformity, and NDT-Electro-cover meter test for concrete cover. Under architectural components, inspection of internal finishes, roofs and external walls, etc., are carried out, while under M&E, inspection of air conditioning, mechanical ventilation, electrical works, fire-protecting works, sanitary and plumbing works, etc., are covered. The assessment is done primarily through on-site testing/inspection prior to installation/construction, during the installation/construction, and after the installation/construction.

The CONQUAS score of a building is obtained by summing the scores obtained in each of the three main components mentioned above. The maximum score in each of the three components varies according to the type of building being assessed. For example, in case of commercial, industrial and institutional buildings referred to as CAT A, the structural components have a weightage of 25 per cent, architectural works have a weightage of 50 per cent, and M&E works have a weightage of 20 per cent. The individual subcomponents under each of the three components are also given weightage. For example, under structural components, formwork, rebar, finished concrete, concrete quality, steel reinforcement quality, NDT-UPV test for concrete uniformity, and NDT-Electro-cover meter test for concrete cover are given a weightage of 15 per cent, 20 per cent, 25 per cent, 5 per cent, 5 per cent, 15 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. The quality of these subcomponents is assessed against standards. If the subcomponent complies with the requirements laid out in the standards, ‘S’ is given against that requirement; else, an ‘X’ is recorded. The number of ‘S’ obtained against a subcomponent determines the quality score. This process of awarding an ‘S’ or an ‘X’ is carried out for all the subcomponents, and the final CONQUAS score is obtained. The companies implementing CONQUAS have an opportunity to benchmark their workmanship quality on an international basis. Besides, the companies with a consistently high CONQUAS score gain competitive advantages and their reputation in the international and domestic market also gets better.

The advantage with this system is that there is no subjectivity involved in the measurement of workmanship. Thus, product quality can be easily measured by gathering data for different projects spread across the country. The data gathered can be analysed to see whether the product meets the conformity requirement. The data can also be used for establishing characteristics and trends of product including opportunities for preventive action. The data collected can also be used for measuring supplier’s workmanship.

13.9 AUDIT

Audit is a systematic and independent examination to determine (1) whether quality activities and related results comply with planned arrangements; (2) whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve objectives; and (3) whether quality policy is understood and implemented properly.

Auditing builds confidence in management. It also points out to system deficiencies, if any, as well as highlights system weaknesses before a potential problem occurs. It has been found to be a convenient framework for investigating problems in particular areas. It also allows personnel from other departments to know how their work affects others. Auditing creates opportunity for interchange of ideas and thereby results in improvement of process in a cost-effective manner. It also results in increased motivation for improving performance.

Audit Types

First-party audit:   This is conducted by, or on behalf of, the organization itself for internal purposes.

Second-party audit:   This is conducted by customers of the organization or by other persons on behalf of the customer.

Third-party audit:   This is conducted by external independent organizations, usually accredited, and provides certification or registration of conformity with requirements such as ISO 9001.

Why to Audit?

This is a mandatory requirement laid down in ISO 9000. It helps in determining system conformity against a quality system standard/procedure. It also helps to determine the system effectiveness to meet the objectives as well as provide the auditee with information to use in improving the system.

ISO 9001–2000 requirements for internal audit

  1. Audits are conducted at planned intervals to determine quality management system conformity with planned arrangements and laid-down policies and objectives. It needs to see whether the quality management systems are effectively implemented and maintained.
  2. Plan a program of audits, covering processes/areas to be audited. This is considered based on the status and importance, and the audit history.
  3. Define audit criteria, scope and frequency, as well as methods of auditing.
  4. Choose an objective, impartial and trained auditor.
  5. Documented procedure defining: This involves planning for conducting audits, reporting process and records-keeping process.
  6. Management responsibility: Taking actions (without delay) and eliminating non-conformity and their causes are part of management responsibility.
  7. Follow-up activities shall include verifying action taken and reporting results.

Guidance documents

Audit guidelines


ISO 19011

Guidance on auditing quality and environmental management system

Audit standards


ISO 10011-1


ISO 10011-2

Qualification criteria for auditors

ISO 10011-3

Managing an audit programme


Non-conformance is the non-fulfilment of requirement. It can be there for quality management system, or ISO 9001: 2000, or customer satisfaction, or legislation, or regulatory body. Non-conformance can be either major or minor. It is graded as a major non-conformance if no evidence of adherence to a procedure/system element is found or if there is a major risk to final product or service quality. The non-conformance is a minor one if there is limited evidence of compliance with the procedure or there is no appreciable risk to final product or service quality. The non-conformance report should contain the relevant clause of the audit standard, the reference of procedure, the location, the mention of particular activity where non-conformance has been observed, the nature of problem, the evidence, and the scale of problem mentioning whether non-conformance is to be graded as major or minor.


Productivity is defined as the quantum of production of any work within the estimated cost, with an acceptable quality standard under the defined duration with respect to nature of work. Increased productivity means within the defined time frame the production increases without any cost variation per unit. This implies more sales in the same period with the same overheads.

With respect to the construction industry, the following factors govern productivity:

  1. Well-planned work: This is work done through the thought process covering all aspects of planning.
  2. Skilled manpower: If suitable and skilled manpower is deployed, we stand to save substantially in labour and material. Material wastage, rework and rectification can be avoided. Proper screening of labour should be done before they are actually pressed into service.
  3. Good and suitable equipment: We should use equipment of good condition. Also, periodic maintenance of the equipment enhances productivity.
  4. Defined methodology: Prior to starting any new activity, it is preferable to work out a step-by-step method of working and foresee the possible pitfalls in the process. This will enable trouble-free accomplishment of any task.
  5. Right type of hand tools: The workers must be provided with the right type of tools to carry out any work.
  6. Neat and tidy workplace: A good housekeeping habit can make this happen. If the workplace is easily accessible, the worker will not have any problem in carrying out his task. A site that is scattered with materials will result in accidents, material wastage, etc.
  7. Staff productivity: The staff and supervisory personnel must be proactive. The usage of modern methods and equipments leads to better quality and productivity.
    • Optimum usage of inputs, effective utilization of construction materials, and recycling the shuttering items lead to economy in expenditure resulting in boosting up the normal productivity norms.
    • Awareness of, and in-house training programmes in, the latest versions in construction industry can prove to be the best method to increase productivity.
    • Motivation and moral support to the needy at workplace can boost the capability of an individual, resulting in higher productivity.
    • Coordination with interrelated disciplines can help to execute a task without delay.
    • Advanced communication networks aid in speedy transfer of requisite inputs/documents required to complete a target well in time, resulting in better productivity.
    • Curtailing unnecessary overheads can bring down production cost against sales price, resulting in profit.

13.10.1 Typical Causes of Low Labour Productivity

Worker’s Low Morale

  • Non-fulfilment of employment terms and conditions by the management
  • Insecurity of employment
  • Substandard working conditions
  • Frequent transfers
  • Frequent changes in the scope of work and work methodology
  • Conflicts between supervisors and workers

Poor Pre-work Preparation by Supervisors

  • Excess workers employed for the task
  • Insufficient instructions for the execution of work
  • Incorrect sequencing of work activities
  • Shortage of tools and materials at the site
  • Wastage resulting from frequent shifting of materials and poor-quality/defective work

Directional Failures of the Project Management

  • Failure to set performance targets
  • Failure to make provision for timely resources support
  • Failure to provide feedback
  • Failure to motivate workers

The type of manpower required at a typical project site and the typical productivity values of civil construction activities are given in appendices 11 and 12 respectively of this text. These are provided for information and preliminary planning.



1. Arditi, D. and Gunaydin, H.M., 1998, ‘Factors that affect process quality in the life cycle of building projects’, ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 124(3), pp. 194–203.

2. Bajpai, A.K. and Willey, P.C.T., 1989, ‘Questions about quality costs’, The International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 6(6), pp. 9–17.

3. Battikha, M.G., 2002, ‘QUALICON: Computer-based system for construction quality management’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 128(2), pp. 164–173.

4. Besterfield, D.H., Michna, C.B., Besterfield, G.H. and Sacre, M.B., 2005, Total Quality Management, 3rd ed., New Delhi: Prentice Hall.

5. Blank, L. and Solorzano, J., 1978, ‘Using quality cost analysis for management improvement’, Industrial Engineering, 10(2), pp. 46–51.

6. Brown, F.X. and Kane, R.W., 1984, ‘Quality cost and profit performance’, Quality Cost: Ideas and Applications, American Society for Quality Control, Milwaukee, WI.

7. Burati, J.L., Farrington, J.J. and Ledbetter, W.B., 1992, ‘Causes of quality deviations in design construction’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 118(1), pp. 34–49.

8. Burati, L.B., Michael, F.M. and Kalidindi, S.N., 1991, ‘Quality management in construction industry’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE 117(2), pp. 341–359.

9. Burati, Jr, J.L., Matthews, M.F. and Kalidindi, S.N., 1991, ‘Quality Management in Construction Industry’, ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 117(2), pp. 341–359.

10. Campanella, J. (ed.), 1990, Principles of Quality Costs, 2nd ed., ASQC Quality Press, Milwaukee.

11. Chitkara, K.K., 2006, Construction Project Management: Planning, Scheduling and Controlling, 10th reprint, New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.

12. Collins, Jr, F.C., 1996, Quality: The Ball in Your Court, New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.

13. Crosby, P., 1979, Quality is Free, New York: McGraw-Hill.

14. Davis, K., Ledbetter, W.B. and Burati, J.L., 1989, ‘Measuring design and construction quality costs’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE, 115(3), pp. 385–400.

15. Deffenbaugh, R.L., 1993, ‘Total Quality Management at Construction Jobsites’, ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering, 9(4), pp. 382–389.

16. Deming, W.E., 1986, Out of the Crisis, Centre for Advanced Engineering Study, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

17. Eldin, N. and Hikle, V., 2003, ‘Pilot study of quality function deployment in construction projects’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 129(3), pp. 314–329.

18. Feigenbaum, A.V., 1983, Total Quality Control, 3rd ed., New York: McGraw-Hill.

19. Feigenbaum, A.V., 1961, Total Quality Control, New York: Mc-Graw Hill.

20. Gilly, B.A., Touran, A. and Asai, T., 1988, ‘Quality control circles in construction’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE 113(3), pp. 427–439.

21. International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 1987, Family of quality management standards, ISO 9000, Geneva, Switzerland,

22. Juran, J., 1951, Quality Control Handbook, 1st ed., New York: McGraw-Hill.

23. Juran, J.M. and Gryna, F.M. (ed.), 1988, Juran’s Quality Control Handbook, 4th ed., New York: McGraw-Hill.

24. Logothetis, N., 1992, Managing for total quality: From Deming to Taguchi and SPC, 1st ed., New Delhi: Prentice Hall.

25. Love, C.E., Guo, R. and Irwin, K.H., 1995, ‘Acceptable quality level versus zero-defects: Some empirical evidence’, Computers and operations research, 22(4), pp. 403–417.

26. Needs, T.A. and Ledbetter, W.B., 1991, Quality performance and management in engineering/construction, AACE Transactions, New York.

27. Pheng, L.S. and Teo, J.A., 2004, ‘Implementing Total Quality Management in Construction Firms’, ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering, 20(1), pp. 8–15.

28. Rao, S.K., 2000, ‘Aspects of quality and performance in construction industry’, Proceedings of the Third National Conference in Construction, February 10–11, 2000, Construction Industry Development Council, Vol. 3, pp. 49–54.

29. Schexnayder, C.J. and Mayo, R.E., 2004, Construction Management Fundamentals, Singapore: McGraw-Hill.

30. Shank, J.K. and Govindarajan, V., 1994, ‘Measuring the “cost of quality”: A strategic cost management perspective’, Journal of Cost Management, 8(2), pp. 5–17.

31. Shilestone, J.M., 1983, ‘Welcome, background and program objectives’, Proceedings of the National conference on Quality Assurance in the Building Community, Shilestone and Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C.

32. The Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS), details available at


  1. State whether True or False:
    1. Lower bidder system is one of the major setbacks for achieving construction quality.
    2. Quality can be defined as:
      1. Fitness for purpose
      2. Conformance with specification
      3. Meeting or exceeding the needs of customer
      4. Value for money
      5. Customer satisfaction
      6. Just in time
      7. Reduction in variability
    3. Construction quality is about finishing the project safely, on time, within budget, and without claims and litigation.
    4. ‘Zero defect’ and ‘total quality control’ are two major catchwords for which construction project should strive.
    5. A major cause of controversy in quality control is delegation of responsibility and authority pertaining to quality assurance.
    6. Linear responsibility chart (LRC) describes all the persons within the quality control programme, their responsibilities, authority and interrelationships relative to quality control task.
    7. Quality control is essentially the activities and techniques employed to achieve and maintain the quality of a product, a process and a service.
    8. Three major quality control methods commonly used on construction projects are inspection, testing and sampling.
    9. Quality assurance is broadly the prevention of quality problems through planned and systematic activities to fulfil desired purposes efficiently, effectively and economically.
    10. TQM is a way of planning, organizing and understanding each activity that depends on each individual at each level.
    11. Juran’s quality trilogy involves planning, control and improvement.
    12. State whether the following are true or false:
      1. Quality costs = prevention costs + appraisal costs
      2. Quality control costs = internal failure cost + external failure cost
      3. Failure costs = quality control costs + failure costs
  2. Discuss the concept of ‘quality’ for construction industry. How do you define construction quality?
  3. Discuss inspection, quality control and quality assurance in a construction project.
  4. Explain the ISO 9000 family structure and its benefits. How will you develop a quality system in your organization if you wish to be accredited with ISO 9000?
  5. Discuss Juran’s suggested steps for quality improvement.
  6. What is Juran’s quality trilogy?
  7. What is total quality management? To what extent is it different from quality assurance system?
  8. What are the various types of checklists and inspection reports that have to be designed to ensure proper monitoring and control of quality assurance on the job?
  9. Explain the concept and meaning of productivity in general and also in particular with respect to construction. What are the factors affecting productivity? Also, enumerate the main hurdles that are often encountered in construction projects which tend to keep productivity down.
  10. What do you mean by total quality management?
  11. Discuss the contributions of Deming, Juran and Crosby in the field of quality management.
  12. Estimate the quality cost under different heads.
  13. Discuss in brief different ISO standards for quality.
  14. Discuss the importance of audit in the context of quality conformance.