On Friday, 12 September 2012, I will be speaking in Atlanta, GA at the Retail Design & Construction Conference – a national symposium focused on sustainable design and construction in the retail sector. My session, which has been approved by the AIA for continuing education units, is called Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control. Rather than give attendees some boring paper handouts, I created an entire website with all sorts of resources and information on the subject of improving quality in the built environment.
If you have visited AEC Quality .com at any point over the last month, you’ll notice that there haven’t been any new posts.
During August and the first week of September, I have been preparing for my presentation at the Retail Design and Construction Conference in Atlanta, GA.
The Road to AEC Quality .com
My first professional experience in the construction industry began in construction defect litigation. So from the beginning, I saw first hand, just how poor quality is in the built environment.
After investigating over 10,000 buildings, I have yet to see a building that is completely free of defects. And sometimes, the defects that I (and my colleagues) see are clearly the result of carelessness, if not shear stupidity.
That said, I have only seen a handful of projects where some sort of catastrophic failure was imminent – and even then, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entire building that was actually on the verge of collapse.
Some defects are worse than others.
It was a few years back, when I was standing on a roof in Las Vegas in the middle of July. The temperature on the ground was around 110, but the surface temperature of the roof tiles was measured by another expert to be almost 160. I was there for destructive testing (DT), and watched as the crew carefully removed and set aside the roof tiles. Then they cut back the felt underlayment to reveal the roof sheathing beneath. Sure enough, right there on the roof sheathing was staining caused by water intrusion. In Las Vegas.
If we, as an industry struggle with keeping water from getting past the multiple layers of a roofing system in Las Vegas, how are we ever going to pull off projects that are truly sustainable?
Since my first day working on a drywall crew as an apprentice to the world’s greatest one-armed drywaller, I have been committed to improving quality in the built environment.
So when I was given the opportunity to speak at a national conference focused on sustainable design and construction, the topic was obvious: Quality.
However, I have only an hour to speak about a topic that I could go on for days about. My goal during that talk is two-fold:
The only way that we are ever going to improve quality in the A/E/C industry is by changing cultural perception. Until everyone takes responsibility for quality, we’ll remain right where we are now – everybody pointing fingers at one another. My hope is to inspire people to make quality the #1 priority on every project. In addition, I want to give people some tools that they can use to empower them in that regard.
AEC Quality .com – a website dedicated to the pursuit of quality in the built environment.
What you can expect to find there:
- Some definitions of Quality
- Insight into the impact of quality on the A/E/C industry
- A discussion of the diffence between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
- Case Studies
- Lessons learned about Quality management from other industries
- The relationship between Safety and Quality
- Practical ways to improve Quality in the built environment
- Numerous resources, including books and articles exploring Quality both inside and outside the A/E/C industry
This is just the beginning
I will try to keep adding content to AEC Quality .com over time, and I have some additional projects in the works. AEC Quality .com (this site) will continue as a blog where I share news and insight from others and from the dark recesses of my own mind. And the best way to stay informed remains The A/E/C Brief – my free email newsletter. For real-time updates of the latest developments in our industry, follow me on Twitter: @AECQuality.
To paraphrase wine impresario and social media juggernaut, Gary Vaynerchuk: