Total Quality Management & Planning in Construction

BCN-5792  Total Quality Management & Planning in Construction


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The purpose of this team-based project is to provide an opportunity to demonstrate (in principle) how quality improvement concepts can be applied to the construction environment to improve quality overall. Although the subjects of quality and productivity involve a number of common elements, the emphasis in this paper is on quality as indicated by such issues as a reduction in errors, failed inspections, complaints, and in developing higher levels of stakeholder satisfaction.  While the exercise does not require actual implementation, the development of the project will provide students with an opportunity to play the role of an unpaid consultant in looking at an organization or at the construction industry in general.

The topic of the project may be any subject related to the course content but the emphasis is on quality as indicated by such issues as a reduction in errors, failed inspections, complaints, and higher levels of stakeholder satisfaction. Approval must first be obtained by submitting a proposal for review. Students should show how the study in question may be distinguished from a productivity –related study (Productivity may emphasize maximizing outputs for given levels of input or resources). It is highly recommended that an actual organization be the subject of the project. Special note: It is hoped that at least one member of the selected team will have some access to, or knowledge of an organization that can be used as a resource for the study. The organization may be an owner, contractor, or designer. A small organization may be easier to contact and may be more receptive to the idea of the project. (Note: Please inform the professor if you experience difficulty in locating an organization)

Students should collaborate with their team members for the project. A proposal needs to be prepared for approval by the Instructor before the project can be started.

Details of the Proposal for the Term Paper:

Length: Approximately 1 to 2 pages, single-spaced, but not including the cover page.

The proposal should contain:

The team/group number.

The names of the team/ group members.

The title of the proposed study.

The name(s) of the organization(s) to be studied.

A brief description of the organizations and what they do in relation to the construction industry.

A brief outline of quality-related problems or opportunities for improvement in the organizations.

A brief overview of the intended course of action for the study – site visits, interviews, etc.

The team should explain briefly how the results of the study will relate to the course and also
benefit the construction industry

Guidelines for the Term Paper:
The subheadings listed below should serve as a guide in undertaking the project once the proposal is approved.

The team should assemble as much information as possible on its  structure and organization chart. Note: The organization’s finances are not to be included in the  study – many owners are reluctant to divulge that information. They need to be reassured that the study is intended to identify opportunities for improvement, such as activities that can be  streamlined or simplified to improve quality, and such actions may actually improve the delivery of  projects. There is the potential for profitability to be increased as well. However, each study is Hypothetical – it can lay out a plan of action, but there is no requirement for this action to be carried out.

It is helpful to talk with people in the organization to identify problem areas, and activities that could be improved such as inspection failures. In some cases, routine activities could require improvement, such as the ordering and storing of materials. In other cases, issues relating to a specific project could be the focus of improvement actions.  This background needs to be included
in the project proposal.

The Report Format:

Font: Times New Roman 12-point

Cover page: List the title of the course, the course number, the title of the project, the team number, and the team members.

Transmittal: The transmittal should describe the project in brief (one page), and should summarize the key

Findings:  It should be designed for review by a busy executive. It should preferably be addressed to such an executive at the company, thanking them for the opportunity to do the study. It should explain key findings and recommendations in a concise manner.

Table of Contents: List the headings of the report and the respective page numbers.

Introduction: Describe the organization, its structure, and purpose.

Description of the problem: Describe specific areas of concern, and opportunities for improving the organization’s quality performance.

Data collection: If at all possible, obtain actual data from the organization or by first-hand observation. The data could be of a numeric nature or it could be descriptive.

Data analysis: Provide an analysis of the data as the foundation of specific recommendations to be developed in the project.

Process improvement: Describe the actions proposed for improving quality and performance. Use as many tools and techniques as possible that have been presented in the course.

Conclusion and recommendations: State your conclusions and recommendations based on the findings from the project. Explain how the project relates to the course.

References: List at least six or more references. The text can be one of them.

Presentation: Depending on time availability, each team may be asked to make a short informal presentation of the report before the end of the semester.



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