Significance of TQM in Civil Engineering

Quality Control is a term that needs no special introduction as it’s self-explanatory. While it’s essential in every field to check and recheck to ensure quality, the need for quality management is at peaks for certain industries such as medical and civil engineering as any compromise on quality can have devastating effects and result in casualty. As we deal with civil engineering, let’s focus at to why quality management is so crucial, and the methods applied in this domain to ensure top-notch quality.

Before we swing into the details of Quality Control, it’s essential to understand TQM (Total Quality Management).  The total quality management is a methodology that ensures 360-degree quality in every department of an enterprise.  The quality issue is given strategic importance in the enterprises where TQM is in place. While many top enterprises focused on TQM over the years, it seeped through the Civil Engineering industry in the 1990s when its significance was mentioned in many publications by Low and Teo in early 2000s. Haupt & Whiteman too published several articles on the International Journey of Civil Engineering and Technology in 2004. How is TQM achieved? Well, it’s a continuous process, say Akshara and Vidya who conducted a detailed study on 25 international construction enterprises on quality of construction. The report indicated that TCM is often achieved through feedbacks. It is through the response received from the existing customers, the quality of the products can be maintained or increased. According to Haupt and Whiteman, TQM is directly related to the overall excellence in the Civil Construction industry.

According to a study by Dept. of Civil and Architectural Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, construction worker and professionals have a fair understanding of how good quality products and services improve the brand image of the enterprise.

A study conducted by the International Islamic University in Malaysia has revealed interesting results. It mentioned that most of the construction projects in Malaysia fail to meet quality standards. There are challenges in quality management and there’s a need to strengthen construction projects in Malaysia, said the report. Compared to the western countries, Asia Pacific apparently pays minimal attention to streamlining quality control process, with customer feedbacks being presumed as complaints.

However, many construction enterprises get ISO 9001 2000 certification. ISO mandates the following practices:

  1. Factual approach to construction projects
  2. Quality plan and procedure
  3. Focus on customer satisfaction and feedback
  4. Efficient leadership
  5. People (employees, suppliers, and leadership) involvement
  6. Analysis plan and
  7. Continuous progress in quality

Compared to other industries, the construction industry is completely unique with distinct characteristics as most of the construction projects as single-order design projects, and participants of a project—such as workers, contractors and materials’ vendor different from project to project. It is, therefore, more challenging for civil construction to streamline quality control. However, below are certain factors exclusively for this industry to achieve quality control. 






 Factors Affecting TCM in the Construction Industry

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