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Quarterly Question: How does BELL’s Quality Management Process Ensure Project Success?

Nov 4, 2021

We sat down with Tony Hays, Director of Quality Control, to discuss the company’s approach to quality control & assurance.

As part of BELL Construction’s commitment to serving as a trusted advisor to our clients and industry partners, we share insights from our team and other industry experts each quarter that we hope will help you plan more effectively for your projects.

Both Quality Assurance (QA), a planned system of review, and Quality Control (QC), a complete audit process focused on the output quality, are vital to project success. Since our founding in 1970, BELL has successfully led more than 1,000 construction projects. We know a major element of our success is our focus on QA & QC processes.

This quarter, we talked with Tony Hays, Director of Quality Control, about BELL’s quality management program and the reasons it has been successful.


In the projects you’ve worked on, what do you see fail or require replacement most often?

When it comes to the building envelope, uncontrolled water intrusion would top my list. The enclosure, or ‘skin’, is often threatened by other adverse influences such as uncontrolled air leakage (both infiltration & exfiltration) and thermal breaks. Over time, both can be equally detrimental to the health of a building.

 

Helping project teams understand critical aspects of various enclosure details is one of many important functions of Tony’s day-to-day activities. 

Tony performs on-site reviews of ongoing installations. This is especially beneficial to ensure the building envelope is secure against uncontrolled water intrusion.


How does BELL facilitate the quality assurance and control processes to help clients avoid reworks and replacements?

Quality assurance and quality control are two distinct elements of BELL’s approach in providing each client with the outstanding product they deserve. We use these processes to ensure each project meets client expectations regarding the quality (established by the project manual) and scope (established by the construction documents).

 

During his site visits, it is not uncommon to see Tony with his endoscope & binoculars. A digital endoscope camera provides a screen view of otherwise impossible-to-see small & tight spaces.

 

Many tools are used to ensure success throughout the construction process, from buy-out to project close-out and turnover. Two of the most visible aspects are water saturation testing and BELL’s field observation reports. Water saturation testing is usually not specified by owners and architects and is currently not regulated by the American Society for Testing Materials. However, at BELL, we recognize the critical benefits of additional enclosure testing to further confirm that building systems are properly installed and should perform as expected. Field observation reports reflect a thorough and comprehensive review of active projects in which quality control specialists will photo-document all conditions that need attention or correction.

BELL’s drone implementation plan for qualifying projects provides detailed, up-close inspection of air water barriers and joint treatments on high-rise projects. Thermography, material tracking, comprehensive scope & contract reviews, and checklists (among other tools and procedures in our quality management program) are squarely focused on delivering project success.

 

Ensuring that installations meet the quality standard established for a project is also at the forefront of Tony’s field observation reports which are the result of hundreds of photos taken during each site walk. Here, Tony is seen documenting corner flashing for further investigation and follow-up.

 

Have questions about our quality management program and how it helps ensure project success? Please email Tony Hays at thays@bellconstructioncompany.com.