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Architecture QA/QC
Cliff Moser, 2016
So why hasn’t BIM changed things?
A computational rules-based model in architectural ...
Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) began as a formalized inspection activity in the early part of
the twentieth cen...
Inspection Based Systems
Creating and enforcing internal organizational quality control systems was built on an inspection...
without a professional architectural degree, was a master in understanding the requirement of
construction phase activitie...
understand and integrate process-based systems of quality control. These systems instill deliverable and
service quality b...
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BIM quality-moser_Architectural_QA-QC_brief.r1

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BIM quality-moser_Architectural_QA-QC_brief.r1

  1. 1. Architecture QA/QC Cliff Moser, 2016 So why hasn’t BIM changed things? A computational rules-based model in architectural deliverables will help us redefine our standard of care within our instruments of service. Architecture 3.0 is not about building a new framework of QA/QC within the profession, it is our opportunity to begin to identify how to finally liberate ourselves from the archaic confines of inspection-based quality control. The truth shall set you free. Architects have continually failed in the delivery of complete and coordinated construction phase documents. We embraced Building Information Modeling (BIM), as the next documentational improvement, to which we imposed our aspirational goals of coordinated success. However design teams find themselves unable to fully embrace the process quality tools within BIM. Hindered by our master-apprentice based past, we are unable to recognize and abandon the shortcomings of our inspection quality control efforts. As construction deliverables become increasingly more complicated and regulated, design teams do not have the expertise to successfully delineate the technical details for a complete and coordinated set of construction documents. While BIM has been recognized for enabling the ability to document and coordinate complex building structures, which, in the 2D past would have been an impossible task, we haven’t created or leveraged the tools within the software to frame a rules-based deliverable. In my book, Architecture 3.0; The Disruptive Design Practice, I describe the problems with traditional QA/QC activities within the practice. These issues are based on legacy activities that designers bring to projects. Applying quality measures to these activities and the resultant deliverables is the basis for many incumbent processes deployed not only during construction, but through the entire project lifecycle. While the baseline requirements of a successful project upon delivery to the owner can be specified through applied performance metrics; such as energy use, user satisfaction, neighborhood integration for example. Creating and applying similar requirement to our deliverables and service in support of construction phase activities is more difficult. Therefore, in order to understand our industry's problematic relationship with QA/QC and construction phase deliverables, we first need to ground the historical context of what comprises Quality Assurance/Quality Control activities. QA/QC
  2. 2. Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) began as a formalized inspection activity in the early part of the twentieth century. It was initially based on product standardization within the manufacturing industry. Quality Control was defined as creating measures of the internal processes for minimizing deviation in the production of readily interchangeable parts and equipment received from manufacturing suppliers. Quality Assurance was the manufacturer’s internal inspection of that product, prior to delivery to the customer. The need for creating specifications and standards in order to scale the mass-marketing of parts and equipment began the process of turning craftsmen into assemblers. Quality control created requirements and specifications for interchangeability and adaptability of parts and systems, and the requirements were applied to the deliverables and service of manufacturers and suppliers. World War II accelerated the requirements for quality, as reduced the tolerance for deviation in order to scale manufacturing for globally deployed militaries. Quality Assurance/Quality Control requirements became even more important because millions of soldiers’ lives depended on an established quality supply chain. After the war, QA/QC continued its role within industry, and moved into design and construction activities, as the concept of standardization and manufacturing took hold in commercial and household products. Since the design team is a key supplier of the construction industry, our deliverables followed the same rules of supplier standardization and quality control.
  3. 3. Inspection Based Systems Creating and enforcing internal organizational quality control systems was built on an inspection-based approach. Early in the twentieth-century, most architectural firms organized around a design and production approach. The design architect would create schematic level design documents which were then handed off to the production team who would develop the project through design-development and into construction-documents. The deliverables for these documents; typically plans and specifications, were internally reviewed by a quality control team within the firm prior to delivery to the owner of the project. The owner would submit the construction document package to selected general contractors to obtain a price for building the project. In this process, completed deliverables were internally measured by quality control, accepted within defined tolerances and then released for use to the owner. Quality assurance measured and accepted the deliverable against defined requirements and standards. Quality control was enforced through internal inspection-based processes, which had naturally evolved from our past apprenticeship culture. This deliverable quality was defined by our agreements with owners and legally binding local standards of care, which included construction phase service activities by the design team. Enforcement was established through calibrated fee payment schedules. Rework was the resultant activity to correct the failure to provide deliverables within measured tolerance of those requirements. Through established internal quality control services design firms tried to maintain services and deliverables based on applied standards with oversight. Inspection and rework requires that there be an understanding and adherence to standard of care, project requirements and organizational standards within the firm that sets the baseline for acceptable delivery, as well as internal training and inculcation of that understanding, against a past measured standard. Therefore, in order to successfully provide deliverables and service to industry requirements, enforced through standard of care and organizational quality standards, the firm must create internal programs for training and oversight into producing quality deliverables and services. In the past this was accomplished through an apprenticeship methodology, by pairing experienced project architects with junior staff, and then training through the iterative development of drawings and details along with continuous review and oversight. The end result was that the inexperienced drafting staff would gradually learn the requirements of the firm's and industry's standards. Expertise would be inculcated through oversight and rework, similar to apprenticeship activities in the past. However, the advent of electronic deliverables as well as a mobile and contingent workforce introduced a huge gap in the oversight and rework process. With the advent of technology, the profession lost the role of the master draftsman; the seasoned member of the organization and industry, who usually
  4. 4. without a professional architectural degree, was a master in understanding the requirement of construction phase activities. For example, Mary Woods, in her book, from Craft to Profession, outlines the role of master draftsmen, craftsmen-builders who became architects. Their activities were shaped by the construction process, and they organized professional societies and worked for architectural education, appropriate compensation, and accreditation. Furthermore, George Barrett Johnson, in his book, Drafting Culture, outlines the codification of the “draftsman’s Bible” Ramsey and Sleeper’s Architectural Graphic Standards. The authors, one a draftsman and the other an architect, created a graphic compilation of architectural details and standards that attempted to codify the shared knowledge of the integration of drafting and design. AGS delineates the boundaries of the shift from the draftsman's craft to the architect's academically based knowledge. The former “drafting culture” gave way to massive postwar changes in design and building requirements. Today most firms no longer have the ability to support an apprentice-based culture within its design and production, its “architectural labor” staff. Furthermore, all firms outsource and distribute “architectural labor” tasks throughout their own supply chain internal and external design team members (including engineering and other consultants). This distribution completely outpaces the ability of inspection teams to oversee project deliverables quality control. However, the tasks of quality assurance; with the building contractor’s reviewing our deliverables against our internally inspected standards, continues today, reinforced by contracts and legal requirements. Our quality control task is made ever more difficult as we struggle to create our deliverable through electronic, computer generated means. Oversight and inspection QC is impossible Process Based Systems Therefore, a new quality model is required in order to leverage electronic deliverables, accelerated project delivery models, globally distributed teams, and increasingly complicated building types, which are ever-more regulated and difficult to build. This model requires an integrated quality management system which goes beyond an inspection-based approach and leverages the members of the construction industry supply chain in order to deliver a more integrated and robust process-based organizational approach. Additionally it requires agreements which differ from the legacy standards built on oversight of paper deliverables. This model is fundamentally different than the inspection-based systems of the past and requires a new approach to providing deliverables and services. The background for this model is based on the integrated quality management systems that manufacturing has long developed and embraced in its deliverables and services. Former inspection only quality control systems in manufacturing have evolved and migrated to process-based systems. Accordingly, the workforce that serves manufacturing is cross-functionally trained in order to
  5. 5. understand and integrate process-based systems of quality control. These systems instill deliverable and service quality by incorporating quality reviews into the process as deliverables are created rather than waiting for inspection of the end results. They also incorporate quality management built on supplier- based initiatives, such as Lean, as well as individual customer-focused quality requirements, such as a balanced scorecard, and ISO 9000. Therefore, a successful quality management program is based on a blend of process-based systems, supply-chain integration, and identified deliverables and service, reinforced through oversight of processes and performance sampling of deliverables. Creating a process-based system enables the ability for a practice to leverage tools and deliverables such as building information modeling and project lifecycle integration which will add value to your client services and leverage the talent within your distributed team and supply chain beyond successful construction phase activities.

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