Quality Control for Architects and Engineers

To maintain a consistently high level of quality in design and construction documentation, a rigorous internal review of the documents prepared by the architect or engineer, which draws on the full depth and experience of resources available, should be undertaken during the contract document phase. Quality control can begin in the earliest stages of design, when criteria are established and developed as design guidelines for use throughout the project. At each stage of development, a coordination checklist, based on previous experience, can be utilized for the project through an independent internal or external technical checking program.
Computer file management may be used to enable the various technical disciplines to share graphic data and check for interference conditions, thereby enhancing technical coordination of the documents. Quality control should also continue throughout the construction phase with architect and engineer review of shop drawings and on-site observation of the work.
Quality Management Program. To have a truly meaningful quality management program, all personnel must be committed to it. To help the professional staff understand the quality program, quality systems should be developed, updated, maintained, and administered to assist the architect and professional staff in providing quality service to clients. An individual in each office may be assigned to assist in the quality management program. This person should undertake to instill in all personnel the importance of such a program in every aspect of the daily conduct of business.
The quality management program should set quality goals; develop professional interaction for meeting these goals among peers and peer groups; review building systems, specifications, and drawings to ensure quality; and see that these objectives are known to the public. Such a program will result in a client base that will communicate the quality level of the architect to others in the community, profession, and international marketplace. The architects image is of extreme importance in acquiring and maintaining clients, and the best quality management program focuses on client service and dedication to the profession.

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