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How digital quality inspections can save the day in construction remediation

By Linda Schwefel
January 25, 2022

So, we’ve discussed the problem of construction rework, and the devastating effect it can have on your deadlines and your profits. We’ve also shared how digital quality inspections can help open lines of communication, empower employees to follow the latest processes for quality assurance, and deliver location-based insights to keep supervisors in the know about conditions on-site. But even if you’ve followed all the advice and done everything you can to avoid rework, sometimes it can’t be avoided. Then what?

Even with your best efforts, some measure of rework is expected and built into project budgets and timelines.  That doesn’t make rework any less painful. So, what happens when you’ve gone over the job specs, the plans, the scope of work, and kept a watchful eye on workers, material, and work product, but still something goes awry and some remediation must occur. What then?

Here’s where digital quality inspections in construction can really make the difference, with benefits including:

Early warning system

As highlighted by the Constructor, rework needs often surface only during quality checks. Workers using digital quality checklists in the field provide supervisors with instant updates. These updates include data, photos, videos, and real-time progress whenever workers are on site.

Contrast this with sites using pencil-and-paper checklists or laptop spreadsheets. In such cases, quality updates depend on the supervisor’s site visits and review. This approach can lead to overlooked defects for days or longer. Consequently, more work must be redone once these issues are eventually identified.

Construction worker performing an inspection using a tablet - Quality inspections for construction remediation

Data-driven analysis of what went wrong

Once a failure has been identified, there will need to be an immediate investigation to determine the cause of the defect – faulty materials? Shoddy workmanship? A simple mistake in a task? Or perhaps it’s a problem of work not being performed where it was supposed to be. Sometimes it just takes a task to be a few millimeters off to make a job go awry.

As noted by an eminent Australian civil engineer and researcher, systematic documentation is necessary for any recovery measures. If your documentation is scattered across clipboards, work trucks, or car trunks, it’s challenging to pinpoint issues. Even if it’s stacked in an office in-basket waiting for input, tracking problems is difficult.

Digital quality inspections, however, gather all necessary information. This data helps you identify the cause or causes of a defect. With this comprehensive information, you can quickly determine the best corrective action.

Open lines of communication (again)

The ability to freely communicate between stakeholders remains critical when there are quality issues. Workers regularly communicate with supervisors to address defects. Supervisors can remotely view materials and work in real-time. Additionally, sharing photos with clients, contractors, and suppliers is possible. This extends to regulators and any other relevant stakeholders.

Digital quality inspections effectively simulate having everyone on site. They provide a comprehensive view of the project’s progress and quality. This technology is the closest alternative to in-person inspections, ensuring thorough oversight.

Ability to quickly get back on track

Once defects are identified, the key to remediation is having a common game plan. Digital quality inspections help here, too – contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, or any stakeholders involved can determine the best course of action. Supervisors then may create digital checklists for workers on-site to perform the remediation efforts, as well as new quality protocols to ensure there are no further defects with materials, processes, or work performed. Once the supervisor creates these criteria, he or she can push the checklists to each worker in the field, so every person is working from the same form and following the same guidelines.

Not everything is under your control at a construction site. There are workers, materials, the site itself, and let’s not even get started with the weather. With so many moving parts, we recognize that nothing will completely eliminate the need for rework. So while we don’t promise that you can achieve zero rework with digital quality inspections at your construction site, we can tell you that not only will they help to make rework far less likely, they’ll also make remediation less costly in time, money, and effort.

Why wait?

Join the over 2,500 Fulcrum customers who have improved field inspection processes and streamlined reporting with real-time, scalable data sharing. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today!