Improving quality across construction
Construction quality has been the focus of many news headlines lately – for all the wrong reasons. From cracks forcing residents out of Opal Tower
in Sydney and combustible cladding setting Melbourne’s Lacrosse tower
apartment complex ablaze, quality has been compromised in ways that it really should be guaranteed.
In Australia countless Building Codes and Standards determine baseline quality across the construction industry – but as recent events have shown, these codes and standards can’t always guarantee
that quality and safety will be achieved. Is the quality that consumers have come to expect still achievable? If so, how can our industry take greater responsibility across the supply chain for delivering safe and high quality construction?
Investing in technology
Technology plays an important role in our industry’s ability to maintain quality. Some examples of how technology makes a difference, include:
- Construction management software to improve efficiency, and ultimately the quality of construction projects.
- Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to enhance accuracy during the digital design process.
- New and emerging applications for technology – like using drones for conducting site inspections during construction to improve safety and quality.
People and culture
No matter how clever technology becomes, it cannot replace a workforce that values and strives for quality. Coates Hire invests in developing its people, and fostering a culture that values quality in all that we do. We try to give our people responsibility and accountability for achieving quality, which means listening to our ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground too.
A valuable exercise for all businesses to perform, is defining what quality really means to your organisation. What does it look like on your projects? What does it represent for your people? And how can your quality standards be upheld? With clarity on what quality actually means, everyone can buy into it and be accountable for achieving it.
And just as good safety practices and performance are often celebrated, quality should be acknowledged too. This means setting measurable quality targets and indicators, and regularly measuring performance against them.
Tools, systems and processes
To deliver the level of quality that our customers and our industry demand, Coates Hire invests in quality processes. Some of the areas we focus on include:
- Maintaining Health, Safety, Environmental & Quality (HSEQ) certification.
- Communicating clearly about the behaviours we expect our people to choose, and the quality we must all demonstrate across the organisation.
- Developing programs like the Silver Service Maintenance System that help Coates Hire to excel in fleet availability, utilisation and quality and maintain the integrity of service we offer to our customers.
- Training is another important tool for achieving quality in our industry, particularly around communication, which can lead to better efficiency and performance in all areas of business – including quality.
Quality can be complex to achieve, with many phases, suppliers, standards and materials involved in delivering construction projects. Project managers also tread a fine line between balancing project costs, timeframes and quality – often with conflicting demands. But quality must
remain a top priority for our industry.
Without valuing and consistently delivering quality, our industry faces costly ‘reworks’ and delays from quality defects. We will struggle to deliver projects on time and on budget. And most significantly, we cannot guarantee the safety of those who interact with our projects.