From being QC Manager at Callison's Seattle office in the early 80's to QC and Project Delivery Manager at Architects Hawaii prior to my retirement at the end of 2009, I have been deeply involved in Quality Control for over 25 years. It has been my experience that there is no one checklist that will work for all projects, firms or locales.
Several suggestions for improving Construction Document quality:
1. Increase staff exposure to specification writing. Many times, issues in the documents stem from inadequate understanding of the requirements and limitations of the materials and systems incorporated into the design. Involvement in your local chapter of CSI, or at least studying for and taking the CDT certification exam (does not require CSI membership) should prove valuable in understanding the complex relationship of the construction documents.
2. Increase staff exposure to construction administration, both office and field work. Mentoring trips to the jobsite should bring the "light-bulb" look to the faces of less experienced staff, as they see how the materials and systems are actually installed and finished. In-house brown bag lunch presentations of "lessons learned" at the completion of a project by senior construction administration staff with photos and explanations of both the good highlights and the difficulties encountered should help.
3. Find a QC "champion" in your firm, and delegate both some responsibility and authority for document review. Time and fee have to be budgeted for this task. The reviews should be "de-briefed" with your complete in-house team so that all team members have a better understanding of how what they have contributed fits into the whole.
4. If your staff capabilities and your client list allow, think about pursuing some "property services" type work: roof leaks, wall deterioration, material failures on projects designed by someone else. These types of projects can be very educational, and can be utilized as "lessons learned" on your own future projects.
Hope this helps; good luck.
Alan Atkinson, AIA, CSI, CCS
Atkinson Quality Control
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