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Management Review Meetings in a Construction Project

Posted by PIN on Sep 1, 2013 in ISO 9001 | 0 comments

Management Review Meetings in a Construction Project

Management Review is definitely a clear and important requirement of the ISO:9001 standard.

There are many people in the construction industry, who believe that the Management Review in the form of a 6-month or annual meetings is a waste of time. And they are probably right…

The main single purpose of a Management Review within an organization, is to follow up the performance of the quality management system, set up objectives for the next period and identify areas for improvement in a long term commitment environment. Simple as that.

When a construction Project lasts only a couple of years (sometimes even months) , how could the management review meeting help on anything…?

What more could a Management Review meeting add to all the numerous and regular weekly (or even daily) progress meetings with all the stakeholders of a project?

Probably nothing.

The Management Review Meeting is probably a waste of time for the  Quality Management System of a single project.
And it’s almost not a secret within the construction industry, that nobody from the management wants to take part in these ones, because they simply don’t see any benefit out of them. The main reason behind that is that the performance is being followed through other means.

The regular progress meetings during the construction of a project are far more useful, more effective and probably more interesting for everyone in the project (Project Managers, Clients, Owner, Third Parties etc).

In a Project-oriented environment like the construction industry, it’s not really practical and meaningfull to actually plan in a long term basis. Unless we are talking about a construction company with many different projects and obvious long term plans and commitments (this is a different story and it requires a different approach).

Nobody argues about the importance of setting up objectives and following them up on a regular basis in a single construction project but to be honest this is already done through other ways and tools. Monitoring the progress and performance is one of the most important tasks that the management of a construction project has to do by default. There are weekly coordination meetings, quality meetings, progress meetings, design meetings, management meetings (and even some more…) between all the stakeholders (contractors, project managers, subcontractors, designers etc) where all the progress and current issues are discussed and followed up.

There are also many cases that the Client/Owner of a Project wants to attend (quite actively sometimes) these Management Review Meetings of a Contractor, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to be honest. This is more a lack of trust between the Contractor and the Client and less a “commitment to quality and requirements”…

I will give a very simple example of how meaningless a Management Review can be:

– There is a Subcontractor on a site who will be working for 5 months.

– After his 2 first months on site the Main Contractor identifies that there are some issues and an Audit is decided. Some NCRs are generated after this audit and they are closed within 1 month. There are also weekly progress meetings with the Subcontractor in order to monitor the progress and follow-up any outstanding issues on site.

– A Management Review Meeting takes place every 6 months and one of the main items in the agenda is to review the outputs of the Audits (NCRs, observations, Corrective Actions). The Management Review meeting takes place 1 month after the Subcontractor has finished succesfully his job on site. Everyone is happy with the job, all snags and NCRs closed and currently everyone on site is working on the next stage of the project.

– So…what is the point of discussing items that are closed and honestly nobody cares anymore?

One can say that you might probably learn something from the past and that is the point with raising NCRs. That is true but in a construction Project nobody is there to learn. Everyone is there to finish the Project on time, on budget, safely and without defects. When there is an issue with anything (defect, NCR, problematic subcontractors, output from audits, etc) it is much more preferable to be discussed, solved asap and then move on.

On the other hand, if we look at the forest and not only the tree, there might be a really good opportunity to learn something but on a different scale: on the company and not on the single Project Scale.

The Main Contractor should take that lesson from that subcontractor for example. If there are any intentions of working together with that subcontractor on a different project, then all the data from the past (regarding Subcontractor’s performance) should be presented and analyzed in order to avoid similar nonconformities.

So, as a bottom line I don’t believe we should waste our time on site with that requirement and instead we should organise a meeting/workshop at the end of every Project in a “Lessons Learned” approach and agenda. Collecting and analysing data from different “Lessons Learned” workshops could be an amazing input for the management review of any construction company. And this is probably something that even the Owners/Clients should understand even if it is not according to any standards.

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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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