Quality can be hard to measure, but it is an essential element of a successful construction project. The quality of a build is determined by numerous checks and balances from start to finish. This system of checks and balances is known as a quality management system, which is comprised of both quality assurance and quality control.
According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), quality assurance and quality control refer to “the actions performed to ensure the quality of a product, service, or process.” While these two terms are often used interchangeably and while some of their activities are interrelated, quality assurance and quality control are nevertheless defined differently.
What is quality assurance?
ASQ defines quality assurance as “the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality.” This confidence should extend both internally to organizational stakeholders and externally to such various parties as customers, certifiers, regulators, etc.
Put another way, quality assurance is primarily concerned with understanding the requirements that must be met in order to achieve quality standards and developing a plan to meet those requirements. It isn’t focused on the end product — it’s focused on the process.
What is quality control?
Quality control, on the other hand, is focused on the end product. ASQ defines quality control as “the operational techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality.” In other words, “While quality assurance is related to how a process is performed or how a product is made, quality control is more the inspection aspect of quality management.”
Quality control is ongoing. Its goal is to ensure that the work being performed meets the requirements outlined in the quality assurance plan. If the work falls short, quality control enforces any necessary corrective actions.
Can you have one without the other?
A quality management system must include both quality assurance and quality control. While proper planning and implementation are essential (quality assurance), the system is incomplete without appropriate operational techniques and activities to fulfill the requirements for quality (quality control).
For example, when installing an exterior insulated finishing system (EIFS), the quality assurance plan would outline the detailed requirements of the project, including mock-ups, reviews, pre-installation meetings, and inspection checklists. Quality control would perform checks to ensure that all specifications of the product were met, such as confirming that all components are from the same manufacturer.
When taken hand in hand, quality assurance and quality control are also essential to ensuring project safety standards are met, mitigating any major risks or hazards. A comprehensive quality management system also minimizes delays, rework, and cost overruns, saving you time and money and increasing customer satisfaction.
You can ensure a quality outcome of your next construction project by hiring a finishing company like Diversified Interiors. We have a robust quality management system that incorporates both quality assurance and quality control. Contact Diversified Interiors today.