7 Quality Metrics in Construction Projects

There are lots of Quality Metrics in construction projects that can assist in monitoring the performance of a project or a company. Among the many types of statistics that are being kept and followed up during the construction of a Project, quality metrics are often overlooked or not given the importance they should have.

In reality, most of the KPIs in construction management are directly linked with the progress of the works (planning, schedules, staff turnover, etc) but there are many more regarding Health & Safety , Environment and of course financial statistics, Key Performance Indicators and other data that could “help” Project Managers and Engineers to move on to the right direction.

But what about Quality Performance Indicators and data for a Construction Project…?

These are some useful indicators that can actually help in monitoring the system’s performance.

1. Time between identification of an NCR and actual raising on the system:

This can be a very useful indicator which can give you an idea of how long it takes for an NCR to be recorded. Everything is happening on the field and it is extremely useful to have quick mechanisms and methods of identifying the issues and quickly record them. If it takes too long (days, weeks or sometimes even months…) then there is something wrong and the system has to be simplified. However, the problem starts if (as a Contractor) you have to use your Client’s procedures (databases, forms etc) to report an NCR but I believe you can even overcome that if you have an internal structure that can provide you with all the information from the site quickly and accurately.

 2. Time between opening and closure of NCRs

This indicator is pretty obvious. It shouldn’t take too long to take actions on NCRs. However, the problem starts when the actions have to be taken from other parties (other departments, subcontractors, third parties, authorities etc). This is where it becomes really tricky and time wasting for a Quality Professional in a construction site. Closing NCRs is a whole adventure sometimes…This is why “Quality” has to be an every day attitude and not something additional that people on site are being forced to do.

Download the Inspection & Test Plan Template (ITP) for Construction Projects – in Excel Format

3. Approval status of critical documentation for the progress of the works (Method Statements, ITPs etc)

This is probably one of the most important indicators. It is not directly “Quality” related but it is mainly a Document Control performance indicator. Clients and Project Managers are basically managing the project through the relevant documentation and usually all the problems and arguments start when the right documentation is not approved (or at least not submitted to them). It is obvious, that if for example 90% of the works on site, start without any documentation then this is a Red Alert for “Quality”. There is obviously no planning and it’s a sign of poor project management.

Apart from that, it is extremely important to follow-up and monitor the “quality” of the Project’s documentation. For example, if there are many documents that go up to 3rd, 4th revision (or even more) then you know that something is not working very well…(however the reason of resubmissions many times is not only that they are of poor quality but because there are plenty of changes on Design or even the people who are reviewing them from the Client side keep on changing…)

4. Percentage of Reoccuring NCRs – Trends on NCRs

This is also an extremely important indicator. This one will show you how you can avoid the same mistakes in the future within the “lessons learned” concept. If there are NCRs on the same issues every week or month then that is a major trend showing that something is not working well and needs to be changed. People on site are not following some requirements and this is something that needs to be rectified and recorded. Maybe the construction methods or the design needs to be changed.

5. Statistical data from inspections as per the ITP– (Pass vs failed, pass at the first time, etc)

This is not a very useful and practical metric in my opinion but it is requested by many Clients and Project Managers. It doesn’t actually tell you much and it might require many hours to be produced. However, with the use of tablets on site instead of the classic checklists and forms, this statistic could be very easily produced.

6. NCR statistics per areas, sections, discipline, subcontractor etc

This is a very interesting indicator as well. But the numbers of NCRs won’t show you that this area, this subcontractor or this section is not performing well. It will actually show you that the system is working better on this area, this subcontractor or section and that the issues are identified, recorded and closed.

7. Completion packages (As-Built folders) progress

This is again not directly quality-related but extremely important for a smooth delivery and…a happy Client at the end of the day.

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Pavlos Inglesis
I am a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng-MICE) and a Chartered Quality Professional (MCQI CQP) working in the construction industry for about 20 years. My specialty is Quality Control and Quality Assurance Management in Construction Projects. I have worked on projects in the Middle East, and Greece and am now based in the UK.

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