Implementation of Quality Assurance Programs for the Exterior Building Envelope through the Design Process

Apr 02, 2012

Appropriate levels of Quality in the exterior building envelope can be accomplished only by the application of proper design, appropriate manufacture and fabrication of materials and systems, and correct application and installation techniques. The question we need to ask is very straight forward and to the point: What procedures and tools are available to control the required level of quality in the completed construction? In other words, how do we assure that the first three points mentioned above are attained - 1) proper design, 2) appropriate manufacture and fabrication, and 3) correct application and installation?

The primary method to attain effective quality management is implementation of a Quality Assurance Program. Through the studied, organized, and controlled use of a project specific Quality Assurance Program, appropriate levels of performance and quality are much more likely to be attained. The Quality Assurance process can be implemented for any portion of a project from design through construction and acceptance. However, the process is most effective when implemented as a continuum starting during the design process and running through the entire design, procurement, and construction program. This process has proven effective in the past and is capable of greatly impacting the level of quality attained. While certain aspects of any Quality Assurance Program will be consistent from project to project it is critical to understand that the program to be implemented for any building project should be designed and implemented specific to that building.

This paper addresses the means and methods a designer can employ for the phases of a construction process of either a traditional design/bid/build or a design-build delivery method. The paper will identify means and methods available to designers for project specific Quality Assurance Programs for the Exterior Building Enclosure for each project stage. Included in the discussion will be: recommendations for establishing appropriate levels of performance, procedures to be implemented during the technical design process, critical quality concerns during the procurement process, appropriate requirements of the submittal process, mock-up and testing procedures, inspection and observation during construction operations, the importance of schedule adherence, and final acceptance procedures.

Paul G. Johnson, FAIA, NCARB (SmithGroupJJR Building Technology Studio)
Presented at: 
Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST3) Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
SmithGroupJJR Building Technology Studio
Building Enclosure Technology & Environment Council (National Institute of Building Sciences)

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