As the chief construction manager for the new hospital development project, quality control was one of my top priorities to ensure the project was completed safely, on schedule, and met all design specifications and regulatory requirements. A robust quality control plan and inspections process was implemented from the very beginning of the project.
The first step was developing a quality control manual outlining the minimum acceptable standards and tolerances for all aspects of construction. This included policies on material inspection and testing, workmanship standards, documentation requirements, non-conformance reporting, and independent third party auditing. Comprehensive checklists were created for each trade and phase of work so inspectors could easily verify compliance.
Prior to any work beginning on site, all contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers had to provide documentation showing they had the qualifications, certifications, safety programs, and quality control processes in place as evaluated against the requirements in the manual. Only firms that passed this prequalification screening were allowed to work on the project.
For material handling and storage, clearly demarcated secure areas were established with protocols for verifying deliveries against certified bills of lading and purchase orders. All materials were visually inspected for damage and checked against approved shop drawings before being moved into staging zones. Continuous monitoring was done to ensure proper protective wrapping and weatherproof coverings were maintained.
Rigorous inspection and testing was done of foundation elements like driven piles and cast-in-place concrete footings, walls and slabs. This included verifying depths, diameters, reinforcing bar placement, and concrete batching records prior to each pour. Compression samples were taken and verified by an independent testing firm to meet or exceed the specified 28 day strengths.
A team of six full-time qualified inspectors was engaged for the duration of the project to perform daily oversight, record field test results, issue non-conformance reports for any deficiencies, and ensure all corrections or re-work was properly addressed. Inspectors had Stop Work authority and reported directly to me to remain independent from site supervisors.
Steel fabrication, structural erection and decking installation required sign-off from the inspectors at each stage before further work could progress. This included verifying certified mill test reports matched materials installed and observing field welder/bolter qualifications. Non-destructive ultrasonic/dye-penetrant tests were performed on a sampling of critical welds.
Inspections of MEP systems focused on code-compliant installation of pipes, ducts, conduits and equipment according to the design drawings and confirmation of pressure/smoke tests prior to enclosure. Special inspections looked at anchorage of seismic restraints, bracing, and wind force resisting systems.
Special attention was paid to the building enclosure and waterproofing. Mockups of each cladding type were reviewed and tested before full installation. Air and water infiltration testing subjected actual constructed assemblies to stringent performance criteria outlined in specifications.
Strong documentation protocols tracked RFIs, submittal reviews, test/inspection reports, deviation notices, timelines, punch lists and warranty packets for each section of work. Customized QA/QC software enabled convenient online access for all parties. Weekly progress meetings discussed status, upcoming milestones, and corrective actions.
The results of the intensive quality control program were very positive. By meticulously following the protocols, no lost-time safety incidents occurred. Zero structural or design deficiencies emerged post-occupancy. Punch lists were minimal with the largest contracts closing out 100% complete on first submission.
The owners and facility staff have reported no maintenance or operational issues since opening and the hospital project achieved LEED Gold certification for sustainability. Independent commissioning agents, building official plan reviewers, and insurer risk managers all praised the quality outcomes. Most importantly, thorough inspections helped ensure a facility able to deliver high quality healthcare for years to come was constructed. The robust quality control approach proved highly successful and a model for future projects.
By carefully planning and diligently executing all facets of quality control from preconstruction through closeout, we were able to deliver an extraordinarily complex medical facility safely, on time and meeting the most stringent performance requirements – establishing it as a showpiece for the community and point of pride for all involved in its development.