High Quality Control Makes for High Quality Projects

October 15, 2020

By: Jared McCalpin and Sarah Chambless

 

The quality of an engineer’s design is critical, it is often a staple of a given community for years to come. For this reason, quality control is at the heart of every project in the engineering industry. It ensures a higher-level product and provides reassurance and satisfaction to the client or owner. Our quality control process has proven to be effective and efficient throughout our firm’s history, aiding in the clarity of our designs, and translating to a more constructable product. We maintain a thorough process through out each step of the project, accounting for these quality control reviews when dealing with schedule and deadlines.

Compliance with building codes and building design criteria is essential to our deliverables and is a part of the many checks that come from our quality control process. Our process remains consistent and includes oversight and management by the designated “Principal-in-Charge” on the project. To make certain each project meets the highest quality, we have developed a well-conceived checks and balances system, which is implemented during the conceptual design, construction document preparation, and the final review phases. In order to avoid any errors that could potentially be overlooked by those heavily involved in the day-to-day of the project, we require that all projects be reviewed by a Principal of our company that is not affiliated with the project. This Principal brings “fresh eyes” to the project and reviews all documents at various intervals from conception to completion. Not only does this Principal bring a fresh perspective to the project, but also has experience that is of comparable scope and size. This review brings constructive feedback, including potential changes or recommendations to improve the final design. These improvements often result in more efficient resource utilization and, in some cases, cost savings for the client or owner.

Quality control also ensures that the project outcome meets the client’s standards. To achieve these standards, each project requires communication between us and the other design team members about the client’s expectations from its onset. Thanks to the innovation of technology, one recent practice that has proven to be effective in ensuring quality designs is to share live updating Revit files with all consultants involved on a project. By doing so, all design team members stay up to date on the project’s progress and can view any changes within a matter of seconds.

Additionally, we have utilized the expertise of third-party engineers local to a project or Subject Matter Experts in a particular system. In a recent project located at Sparkman High School, we brought in an external third-party structural engineer, local to the project’s location, for a final review of the storm shelter design. This review resulted in recommendations and best practices for implementation in the final design.

Though our process has proven to be effective in delivering high quality designs for our clients, we continue to seek innovative methods and solutions to improve this process. While prioritizing quality control measures for current projects, we place emphasis on the future of project quality and processes to ensure client needs are met.