Quality Control Part of Ceco’s Company Culture

Frank P. Salzano, P.E., Director of Quality Control

Safety, Quality and Productivity have been the three tenets guiding Ceco Concrete since our early years, more than a century ago, beginning as a concrete formwork contractor. Today, we are still driven by the “SQP” mantra. To stay in the concrete formwork and frame construction business for as long as we have, one must hold a high-quality standard from concept to completion. Quality control (QC) plans help us review our work at every step of the project so we can ensure we are delivering a superior product, and that work is done right the first time.

Good Quality Control begins with reading and understanding the contract documents. Therefore, our work requires that we must be observant and detail-oriented. Our team develops project-specific QC plans as required so we can plan, inspect and monitor our work—from preconstruction to punch-out. This way, we can more immediately identify issues and adjust our processes as needed going forward.

Each project is unique and may require a customized QC plan to meet individual project requirements. However, the following is a general overview of how our company’s quality control program works.

Dedicated staff and training

Many of today’s construction contracts require contractors to provide an onsite QC person and a QC plan to implement field inspections and reports related to the scope of work. Even without these contractual requirements, Ceco personnel regularly inspect our work. For larger projects, we may assign crew leaders or additional team members to perform such activities as needed.

Project success, however, is not dependent on just one or two employees. Rather, the entire project team must be committed to quality from day one. To ensure this commitment, we make sure our staff and the subcontractors and suppliers we work with are properly trained and qualified for the job at hand. This includes providing best practices and training videos as well as lessons learned from past projects for our employees’ benefit.

Three phases of control

A QC plan is the means by which a contractor ensures that the construction complies with the requirements of the contract documents. If the project is design-build, the plan also ensures compliance with the request for proposal. Our Construction Quality Management System can be broken down into three basic phases of Quality Control: preparatory, initial and follow-up.

1. Preparatory phase: This is the planning phase that is conducted prior to the beginning of work, which we often refer to as the preconstruction or “Quality Planning” phase. During this phase, Ceco meets with the project team (including subcontractors and suppliers) to review the scope of work and identify the most critical issues of the project. A checklist is often followed to ensure all aspects are covered, including everything in our scope of work, critical tolerances and other details included in the contract. We also review the formwork systems and required concrete finishes and mixes along with industry standards, safety considerations, staffing requirements and customer expectations.

2. Initial phase: We call this the inspection or construction phase, which is performed at the beginning and during each phase of work. For example, we hold premobilization and prepour meetings before the first major pour. Our subcontractors also can participate in our prepour inspections before concrete is placed. Date- and time-stamped pictures are often taken during these inspections to document work in progress. Again, a checklist is followed to ensure no elements are missed.

3. Follow-up phase: At Ceco, this process is best known as the QC audit. This is where we circle back to the project’s QC plan and review each critical item to ensure our work complies with contract requirements. We also conduct post-pour assessments to verify the quality of our processes including concrete formwork. If we find that adjustments are needed, we ensure those modifications are made before subsequent work is done to help avoid problems. In addition, as part of our follow-up, designated Ceco personnel perform ongoing inspections to ensure continuing compliance.

The above steps enable our crews to practice a Plan-Do-Check-Act workflow, constantly monitoring their work and continuously implementing means of improvement. After all, good Quality is a win-win for everyone. Our client gets the desired end product that they purchased, and we achieve enhanced Safety, Quality and Productivity on our jobs that translate to more referrals by satisfied customers.

If you’d like to learn more about our Quality Control program, contact me at frank.salzano@heicocg.com.