Postprint version. Published in International Journal of Cost Engineering, December 1, 2009.
The construction industry needs to decrease its costs due to nonconformance by implementing an objective model for analyzing the excessive cost of poor quality and the overall savings realized from good quality. Direct cost estimates from rework in commercial building construction average about 5%. A simple calculation based on U.S. construction industry expenditures of $1.246 trillion in 2007 reveals that $62 billion is wasted just on the direct cost construction rework alone! The term quality can be applied in many different ways to various aspects of the construction process. This paper proposes a model which helps illustrate how the various elements of the cost of quality (COQ) might be employed by the general contractor within the construction project itself. Several traditional COQ theories are applied, compared, and contrasted as they relate to the construction industry; particularly conforming and nonconforming quality costs. The study concludes by suggesting possible ways of measuring the costs of construction quality and suggests that the construction industry needs to experience two true paradigm shifts. One which moves the industry from resources spent on quality non-conformance to resources spent on quality conformance; the other moves the construction business perspective from thinking in a quality compliance mode to an actual quality performance mode.
Construction Engineering and Management