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Quality assurance in procurement, supply and construct

Over the last 6 months we have noted a significant difference in the contractual elements of our jobs.  These mostly have been in relation to insurance and quality assurance.  A number of the requirements seem to be very similar to what historically some of our larger miners would be expecting from their large scale head contractors.  This requirement seems to be being pushed down the line to smaller contractors like ourselves who do not have the resources for developing and attaining a full ISO certification.

We suspect that this is due to the full provisions of ISO 9001 2015 becoming active this year, as well as shareholders increasingly holding their boards accountable for quality assurance at ever smaller levels of capital investment. 

Rather than fighting it, we view this as an opportunity for our company in the smaller end of construction.  Having always "flavoured" our processes with a systematic methodology in line with experience gathered in a previous incarnation taking a small hospital through ISO certification, the ideas are not new, and the adjustment to what we do is not great.  Consequently, we have taken on an extra staff member to tidy up and add to procedures where required, as well as assist us to define our head office roles and requirements better in order to selectively recruit and increase our capacity for larger projects. 

We hope that this will help our regular clients to satisfy their contractual obligations upstream, and allow us to expand our scope into heavier steel fabrication where QA has historically been more demanded by clients.  Our perceived advantage here is that some of the cowboys who occasionally win work over us, only to present multiple problems to their clients on site will be screened out early.  Our challenge is to remain nimble and cost effective, allowing us to continue providing rapid building solutions at an economical price that allows our EPC clients to win jobs, and their clients to achieve feasible projects.

The most tangible changes for us so far:

  • Capability to supply, install and commission of overhead travelling cranes.
  • Routine supply and install of electrical scope.
  • A full formal pathway for fabricated steel where our lighter sheds are not quite enough.  This includes external shop drawing and detailing, as well as a fabrication pathway with full quality assurance able to be pre-arranged with clients to account for all required identification, traceability and NDT.
  • Much better post project documentation with comprehensive MDRs.