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The impact of QA/QC on project timelines

By Brian Hudnall, AIA, Director of Quality

For architects and engineers, inspiration fuels the drive into schematic design and beyond. Faced with problems to solve, talented designers gallop toward innovative solutions. Nevertheless, a rigorous quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) protocol helps ensure those innovations reach their full potential while adhering to project timetables.

The QA/QC plan confirms that all services, studies, designs, calculations, drawings and specifications expected by the client are performed and provided on time and in accordance with appropriate professional architectural and engineering quality standards. At LEO A DALY, our QA/QC plan describes in detail the procedures to establish and maintain an effective quality control process.

Prior to project kickoff, we designate a QA/QC project manager. During kickoff, the project scope is reviewed, and the work is planned and scheduled. Members of the design team receive their assignments. This is when the QA/QC process starts to solidify. During schematic/conceptual design, systems coordination takes place continually through design-team meetings.

Monitoring document production is an ongoing effort based on predetermined production standards. We monitor the progress of each drawing and the interface of related building systems at regular intervals. To avoid conflicts between disciplines, detailed interdisciplinary reviews are scheduled to concur with planned submissions to clients and users.

Meanwhile, independent peer reviews ensure objectivity. Senior personnel not directly involved with the project perform quality control checks at 30, 60 and 90-100 percent milestones. Finally, before a drawing or specification is delivered to a client, the project’s QA/QC project manager works with core discipline leads to comb submissions for oversights or inconsistencies.

Because it’s so vital to all projects, we have fully integrated QA/QC into our design process at an institutional level. Reviewers are electronically notified two weeks in advance of scheduled reviews, and QC status reports are issued automatically. These reports allow constant monitoring. They alert project leaders about upcoming QC deadlines and whether quality checks have been scheduled and assigned.

While every project comes with its own challenges, its own set of core problems and unique solutions, quality control is a constant. And it’s one of the ways we make design excellence a constant for every client and every project.

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Brian Hudnall, AIA, Director of Quality

About the author

Based in our Omaha studio, Brian Hudnall’s architecture experience stems from years on the technical and construction side of the business, which makes him an excellent resource for quality review of projects. He helped develop and continuously refines our QA/QC processes and procedures, achieving methodologies that work seamlessly through project progression during all phases of design.