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The Quality Issue In Construction Project Construction Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 3713 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Quality assurance of construction project is important and essential for the various parties involve in the construction field. The quality of a project directly affect the life span and life cycle of the construction product, furthermore and more important, the quality of the construction project directly affect the safety, services, cost of maintenance, and also functional requirement of the construction product. The basic of the construction project is time, cost, and quality. When the sufficient time is allocated, and the huge amount of investment is pump into a construction project, the quality of a project shall be assured.

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From the point of view of a developer, a good quality project can enhance the image of the company, the customer or buyer will be more confident of the development project that the developer going to launch in the future. In other word, it is very essential for the developer to build up their name with good quality project. Besides that, the minimum requirement of quality has to be reach to fulfill statutory requirement, or else, the approval for occupy the building might not be issued. This is a very serious problem and might lead the developer into a legal trouble.

From the point of view of the contractor, a good quality project can enhance the image of his company, to enable him to successfully tender for more construction project in the future. Furthermore, the minimum requirement of quality has to be reach to fulfill statutory requirement, or else, the contractor will have to rectify the default and problem, which is wasting time, man power and money.

From the point of view of consultants, such as quantity surveyor, architect, engineers in their specific field, it is their duties and responsible to ensure that the construction project is delivered with a proper manner, process and the quality is assured. As the consultants are specialized in the construction industry, and they are experienced in construction process, they are playing very important roles for a good quality construction project.

In this review of the literature, the quality assessment system will be study on, as the quality assessment system is the scale to measure and control the quality of a construction project; it is very helpful and essential to deliver a project with quality assurance.

2.1.2 Cases on Quality Failure

The construction industry is a very big sector, even there is the supervision from the various professional bodies, and there are still failures projects available in Malaysia, some of them may cause of financial problem, default in design, management problem, quality and other factors as well. In this dissertation, the quality issue of construction project will be focus on.

The quality and safety of a construction project is always interrelated, where the quality is affected the safety of the building or structure, when the quality is low, the safety level is low also. For example, a suspension bridge at Kuala Dipang collapsed when there were 20 pupils trying to crossing it and the consequences is 3 girls plunged into the river and drowned (The Star, 2009). This incident shows that the suspension bridge does not meet the functional requirement and fail the require load. As the bridge is collapse as it deteriorates and design fault is another reason also, a wooden suspension bridge is too weak to support for 20 peoples weight. In this case, the material chosen is mostly the cause of the bridge failure.

Figure Collapsed suspension bridge at Kuala Dipang (The Star, 2009)

Another incident indicated the quality issue in construction project is Middle Ring Road 2(MRR2), the previous Works Minister Samy Vellu admitted the reinforcement bars in the reinforcement concrete did not follow the specifications, which caused 31 pillars to cracks. In the report, it said that the cross head beam of the flyover did not complied BS5400 design requirement, and the cracks found were more than 0.25mm width. The consequence is that the MRR2 had to close for repair and maintenance (The Star, 2008). In this case, the design default had affected the quality of the construction project; the cracks found at the beam can affect the strength of the bridge and may cause the bridge to collapse

Figure . Shear cracks in cross head beam ( Malaysia Today, 2009)

Figure Cracks more than 20mm along main reinforcement and acoss full length of beam (Malaysia Today, 2009)

2.1.3 Ethics problems of professional parties in construction project

Although Malaysia is still a developing country, but the construction and building industry is consider quite advance compare to other country in South East Asia. Thanks to the government and the private sector on their great effort to foster and educate of man power on construction industry. There are quite a number of professional bodies and parties established and contributed to the Malaysia construction industry, for example, The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM), Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (ISM) and others institution. These professional parties responsible to control the quality and ethic of the members, to ensure them to perform their duties in the construction projects.

Kalim stated that the poor quality issue in the construction industry is a major concern even from the 1980s. The quality of the construction project sometimes might be compromised for the purpose to shorter the construction period and cost reduction. Kalim also said that the quality related issue in construction industry is mostly caused by human factors. Due to the contractors, clients, consultants and others parties does not perform their responsible, duties, and professionalism in their task, the low quality construction projects are produced (Kalim, 2007). In another word, the ethics problem of the various professional parties is the cause of quality issue in construction project.

2.1.4 Other Factors related to quality issue in construction project

In construction industry, the reinforced concrete is extensively used due to its characteristic and cost. In fact, the reinforced concrete is the major material in most of the construction projects. Although reinforced concrete is consider a very stable material and reduce construction time and cost, it require relatively lesser number of man power for a construction project. However, the quality issue on construction project is still available due to various factors:

Climatic conditions

Unskilled labor

Inspection and supervision

According to Dr.Khalid Mahmood, the quality of the reinforced concrete can be affect by the climate condition. As we know, Malaysia is a tropical country, the hot climate can affect the curing of the concrete, and directly affect the concrete to reach it required strength (Dr. Khalid Mahmood, 2010). As the hot weather conditions accelerate the evaporation of the water content of the curing concrete, the surface of the will be shrink due to rapid water loss (Cadman, 2012).

Malaysia is facing a problem of shortage of man power in construction industry, in this circumstance; the Malaysia government has to import man power from other countries. Based on Department of Statistic, Malaysian Construction industry employs 1,214,000 or about 10% of our country total employment 12,116,600. However, around 70% – 80% of construction labors are occupied by foreigners. Khairol also added that most of the foreign worker does not have qualification from any recognize bodies, so the workmanship is very low and it can lengthen the construction time as well (Khairol, 2011).

In Malaysia construction industry, the lack of supervision and inspection from the relevent consultant during the construction works is another factor affect the quality of the works. Philip Goh said that most of the Malaysia developer would not engage the relevant consultant of the specific field for site supervison and inspection, on the contrary, the developer would just inspect the works themselves , for the purpose to cut cost. They would only engage the consultants during time to apply for Occupation Permits or Completion Certificates. The consultants would just signed all the relevant documents and submit to the Local Authority for inspection. In some other cases, the consultant would be present only during site inspection from the Local Authority. The Site Inspector from the Local Authority is usually not expert in the specific also, they will be satisfied and approved the documents and certificate if the appearance and the exterior and the works is acceptable. The M&E, piling, piping, structural works is neglected, therefore the quality of the works is not quality assured (Goh, 2012).

2.3 Implementation of quality assessment system in construction

Mistronet define the quality as ‘fitness to purpose’, “terms of construction it is providing a building which provides an appopriate quality for the purpose for which it is intended” (Mistronet, 2012).Whatls defines quality assurance as “procedure or set of procedures intended to ensure that a product or service under development (before work is complete, as opposed to afterwards) meets specified requirements. QA is sometimes expressed together with QC as a single expression, quality assurance and control (QA/QC)” (Whatls, 2012).From the definition above, the quality is define as the accetable level of the product which performs its functional requirement, and the quality assessement system can be defines as the set of produre that ensure that the product meets its requirement in the development process.

For the purpose to ensure that the quality of the product is assured in the construction process, the quality assement system is established. The quality assessment system can be act as a guideline and ruler for the various parties involve in the construction project to follow. With the quality assessment system established and binding in the construction process, the relevant person or inspector can assess and evaluate the quality of workmanship of the construction works based on the guideline given. The guideline would be use as a standard to ensure that the completed works is at the acceptable level and fulfill its purpose. Saipol (2007) cited quality can be defined as meeting the legal, aesthetic (Arditi & Gunaydin, 1997) and functional requirements of a project (Berawi, 2006).Saipol also addned that the customers nowadays are more concern on the quality of the product rather then the price, as the purchasing power and life style of the people is incerasing and evolving, the quality of the product has becomes the priority (Saipol, 2007).

Apart from that, the CIDB is also promoting the implementation of quality assessment system among the contractors, especially private contractor. The objective is to set a benchmark of their workmanship in their construction project, enhance the quality control of the construction works, specifired as a quality criterion for contractors performance scorecard, and the main objective is to improve the overall quality of the construction project in Malaysia construction industry. In fact, many of the developer require their contractor to implement quality assessment system in the construction industry, and it is becoming a trend in the construction industry (CIDB, 2012).

2.4 CONQUAS 21 system in Singapore

The Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) was developed in Singapore as a quality assessment system by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) with cooperation from the other professional bodies and major public sector agencies to measure the quality level of a completed project (BCA, 2005). In Singapore, the CONQUAS is considered the most popular quality assessment system among the construction industry.

CONQUAS was designed with 3 objectives (BCA, 2005):

To establish a standard quality assessment system for construction projects

To achieve quality assessment objective by:

Measuring constructed works based on the workmanship standards and specification.

Using a sampling approach to suitably represent the whole project.

To carry out quality assessment system among construction industry within reasonable cost and time.

2.4.1 Scope of CONQUAS 21

CONQUAS established the standards based on the various aspects of construction work and awards points will be given for works that meet the standards. CONQUAS SCORE will be given as an accumulated of total of the award points for the construction project that is under quality assessment. CONQUAS 21 covers most aspects of the general building works, the quality assessment consists of three components (BCA, 2005):

Structural Works

Architectural Works

Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Works

The component under quality assessment will be further breakdown into different items for assessment purpose, thus every items in the components will have different requirement and standards to meets. The assessment of the CONQUAS does not include sub-contracts works that is carry out by other sub-contractors, for example, foundation work, sub-structure works, piling works, these works is not suppose to be include in the quality assessment, as the Contractor does not liable for those works which is under a separated contract (BCA, 2005).

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The quality assessment is primarily focus on the workmanship standards and levels, the standards can be observed through site inspection and field testing. For structural and M&E works, the assessment will be done during the construction process of the projects, as the assessor can observed the material and standard of the works with minimal disturbance and obstruction. For architectural works, the assessment will be carry after the building is completed, so that the outlook and appearance is ready to be assessed (BCA, 2005).

In the CONQUAS quality assessment, the tests of the materials such as concrete and rebar sizes will be carry out. Apart from that, the functional performance of building services such as electricity and water plumbing will also be tested. These tests to the materials and services ensure that the safety threats, discomfort, appearance defects is minimize, as these defects and problems can be surface after several years after the completion of the building, it might disturb the life of the building occupants and involve of a huge amount of monies for maintenance.

2.4.2 Components to be assessed in CONQUAS 21

There are 3 main components will be under assess in the CONQUAS quality assessment system, which are Structural Works, Architectural Works and M&E Works of the building.

Structural Works

Integrity of the structural works of the building is the main concern and essential in the CONQUAS quality assessment system, the failure of the of the structural works can affect the safety of the occupants and catastrophic accident can be happen. Apart from that, the cost to repair and rectify a structural defect in the building is relatively higher. The CONQUAS quality assessment system assess the building through:

Site inspection-The formwork, steel reinforcement, prefabicated elements and others components related to the strutural works will be inspect through site inspection during the construction period of the building to ensure that there meet the require standard. The assessment will include for building which the structural steel and pre-stressed concrete contributed more than 20% of the total structural cost. For buildng which the precast concrete volume is more than 20% of the total structural concrete volume, the precast concrete will be under assess.

Laboratory testing- The samples of the concrete and the steel reinforcement will be send to the lab for destructive test such as compression test and tensile test of rebar. It test the compressive strength of concrete and tensile strength of steel reinforcement to ensure that the material are at accepatable level when it is used for construct the building.

Non-destructive testing- In non-destructive test, it will not destroy the sample in the test, it can be done once the building structural is completed. The assesor will bring along certain equipment in the test, such as rebound hammer test and ultra sonic velocity test.

Architectural Works

Architectural works involve of the apperance and finishes of the components of the building. As the apperance and finishes is the outer part of the components, the defects of the workmanship can easily identified. The CONQUAS quality assessment system assess the building through:

Site inspection- The site inspection can only be carry out once the building is completed, the roofing, the external walls and external works and also finishes will be inspect. Apart from that, the internal finishes such as ceiling, walls and floors will also inspected by the assesor. The other components such as windows, doors will be inspected also. The site inspection only focus on the apperance and finishes of the components, the functional performance of the components will be cover in the further assessment.

Material & functional tests- The material of the components and functional performance will be test and assess. For example: windows, the water-tightness test will be carry out to ensure that it is prevent the rain water to come in when raining. For internal wet areas, the waterproofing ability or performance will be tested and assess.

Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Works

M&E works is essential for a building to ensure the building confort level and performance. Apart from that, the installation cost and maintenance cost is very high, therefore, it is paramount to ensure that these works is installed and function properly. The M&E works involve of sanitary and plumbing works, electrical works, air-conditioning &mechanical Ventilation Works and etc. The CONQUAS quality assessment system assess the building through:

Site inspection of installed works before embedded/concealed. Such items include ACMV ductworks, electrical conduits, concealed pipes, etc.

Site inspection of final installed works such as the Air-handling unit (AHU), cooling tower, fire alarm control panel, etc.

Performance tests on selected works such as the Water Pressure Test, Earthing Test, Dry Riser Test, etc.

2.5 QMS system in Malaysia

Mat Naim said that “Quality management system (QMS) is defined as “all activities of the overall management function that determine the quality policy, objectives and responsibilities, and implement them by means such as quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement within the quality system” (MS ISO 8402, 1994). Another approach to define the QMS is in accordance to ISO 8402. ISO 8402, the vocabulary of quality defined quality management as “all activities of the overall management function that determine the quality policy, objectives and responsibilities, and implement them by means such as quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement, within the quality system”. Meanwhile, the definition of quality system according to ISO 8402 is “the organizational structure, responsibilities, procedures and resources needed to implement quality management” (Mat Naim, 2005).

Mat Naim also added that the implementation of QMS in project of Malaysia construction industry is poor, the QMS implemented are more on company-based. In this case, the quality of the management of the company does little effect to the quality of the project. In Malaysia, the development of QMS in construction can be considered as relatively new. The programme started when it was introduced by the Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia in the late 1990s. It was not widely accepted until CIDB made the ISO 9001 as a mandatory requirement for the G7 Contractors to gained certification to the standard before 1st January 2009 or otherwise their registration will be relegated. In 2008 only it is reported that more than 300 contractors have been certified with ISO 9001 (Mat Naim, 2005).

In Malaysia construction, quality management system is sometimes know as total quality management (TQM), in fact, the ISO most of the Malaysia construction industry practicing is one of the total quality management. Abdulaziz stated that quality management system involve of internal and external aspects (Abdulaziz, 1999).

2.5.1 Internal quality system management

Abdulaziz said that an internal quality system covers activities aimed at providing confidence to the management of an organization that the intended quality is being achieved. This is called a ”quality management system.” Successful implementation of quality management systems can contribute to an increase in product quality, improvements in workmanship and efficiency, a decrease in wastage, and increased profit (Abdulaziz, 1999).

2.5.2 External quality system management

Abdulaziz said that an external quality system covers activities aimed at inspiring confidence in the client that the supplier’s quality system will provide a product or service that will satisfy the client’s quality requirements. This is called a ”quality assurance system.” The quality system can work effectively only when the top executive responsible for engineering or production takes full responsibility for interpretation and implementation of the quality assurance program. ‘A contractor’s quality assurance system is very important to her/his clients, who will gain confidence that ”getting it right the first time” will be the contractor’s norm’ (Abdulaziz, 1999).


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