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IJIE 2003 Quality and Safety Management Systems in Construction: Some Insight from Contractors Todd W. Loushine, M.S., P.E. Peter Hoonakker, Ph.D. Center.

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Presentation on theme: "IJIE 2003 Quality and Safety Management Systems in Construction: Some Insight from Contractors Todd W. Loushine, M.S., P.E. Peter Hoonakker, Ph.D. Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 IJIE 2003 Quality and Safety Management Systems in Construction: Some Insight from Contractors Todd W. Loushine, M.S., P.E. Peter Hoonakker, Ph.D. Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement University of Wisconsin-Madison Funding provided by CPWR (no )

2 Overview Safety statistics for construction indicate high fatality and injury rates Quality research indicates inefficiencies and mismanagement are wasting billions of dollars The nature of construction requires the work processes to deal with uncertainties, continuous changes, and risk We are investigating a new type of management system, to deal with the dynamic and uncertain nature of construction work

3 Safety Statistics Construction fatalities account for 22% of the U.S. total, while employing only 7% of workforce. In comparison, manufacturing employs 15-21% and accounts for only 11% of fatalities (BLS, 2003) W.C. premiums cost contractors anywhere from 1.5% to 6.9% of total project costs (Agarwal & Everett, 1997) A construction company operating on a 3% profit margin would need to increase sales by $333,000 to pay for a $10,000 injury, such as amputation of a finger (Construction Chart Book, 2002) Indirect costs associated with worker medical injuries were estimated up to 20.3 times greater than direct costs (Hinze & Applegate, 1991)

4 Safety Issues in Construction


6 Cost of Quality in Construction From a quality/productivity standpoint, labor typically accounts for 30% of project costs (Picard, 2000) Manpower mismanagement and construction delays were found to contribute to 40-60% non- productive time for onsite work (Jereas et al., 2000) Rework costs up to 12% of total project costs and up to 11% of total project work hours (Love et al., 1999) Dun & Bradstreet data indicate that construction business fail at a higher rate than all other businesses (Construction Chart Book, 2002)

7 The Nature of Construction Three primary participants (Carty, 1995): Owner: wants something built Designer: develops a plan Contractor: converts a plan into a product Construction is very complex and non- standardized (Rowlinson & Walker, 1995) Exposure to weather, dynamic site conditions, coordination of multiple parties, etc. 81% of U.S. contractors have less than 9 employees (Construction Chart book, 2002)

8 Our Concept: Integrate Quality & Safety Management Apply traditional safety management (OSHA, 1989) Management commitment Employee involvement Hazard identification and control Training and education Accident investigation Program documentation and Review To Quality Management principles (Dean & Bowen, 1994) Customer-focus Team work Continuous Improvement

9 Our Basic Research Question Can quality and safety be integrated into a management system?

10 Literature Review Conducted Fall 2001, updated Fall 2003 Key search engines: ABI inform, WebSPIRS, ProQuest, PsychINFO, and Web of Knowledge Key words: quality, TQM, quality management, safety, safety management, occupational safety, construction, and construction industry 18 construction safety articles 26 construction quality articles 2 empirical and 3 theoretical articles on safety and quality management

11 Safety Management Articles Positive effect on safety performance indicators Management commitment (9) Audits/observations (8) Strong safety culture/climate (8) Communication (6) Employee involvement (5) Continuous improvement (4) Safety through Designers (3) Partnerships (1) Training (alone) was not found to improve safety Safety performance comprised of incidence rates, EMR, survey response, and observations

12 Quality Management Articles Positive effect on quality performance indicators: TQM, in general (7) Employee empowerment (4) Partnering with subs and suppliers (4) Customer focus (3) Team work (3) Management commitment (3) Communication (2) Continuous improvement (2) Quality performance indicated by cost (budget) and time (schedule) growth, number of defects/errors, survey response, audit/observations, and customer satisfaction rating

13 Quality Management Articles Barriers to successful implementation nature of construction poor understanding of customer expectations lack of management commitment/leadership lack of worker empowerment Self-assessment tools, such as ISO 9000, MBNQA, and BS 5750 were helpful Also found to improve safety performance in a two studies

14 Safety and Quality Management Articles Safety and quality criteria used in pre- qualification for hiring subcontractors The complexity of an integrated S&Q management system requires expertise and resources Based on a survey, quality managers were more positive than safety managers about integrating quality and safety The Deming approach was applied to safety management (theoretical)

15 Objectives for Interviews The literature review indicated: Characteristics of safety programs Safety performance indicators: EMR, IR Characteristics of quality programs Quality performance indicators: budget and schedule growth Safety and quality integration has been given minimal attention by researchers We wanted to know what contractors were doing for safety and quality, and what they thought about integrating quality and safety

16 Methods Interviews (face-to-face and telephone) were conducted in the Summer and Fall of A list of interview candidates was provided by the WI ABC, attempted to provide a variety of work specialty and contractor size Out of 12 candidates, nine interviews were conducted Semi-structured interview format was used Interviews ran between minutes, and were tape recorded for transcription

17 Study Sample Type of Contractor Union or Merit* Size Category Years in Business Annual Sales Insurer Status EMRQuality Awards ST: concrete Union $3MPrivate0.78None ST: mechanical Merit $1.5MPrivate1.02None ST: roofingMerit $3MPrivate0.61None Both: carpentry Merit $150KPrivate0.83None GCBoth $60MPrivate0.43Many GCMerit $30MPrivate0.50Many ST: electrical Merit $100MSelf0.66Many GCMerit $10MPrivate0.62Some ST: paint/glass Union N.R.Both1.04Some

18 Results - Safety 5 contractors felt that the EMR was the best representation of safety performance Safety goals cited varied, zero accidents(6) and/or reduction of the EMR(3) Education/training of workers(3), more involvement by GC(3), and management commitment(2) were cited for safety performance improvement Contractors felt that worker attitude(3) and nature of construction(5) were barriers I think the biggest barrier (to safety) is the worker himself. They have an uncanny belief that its not going to happen to them, and they dont need to do it (work safely).

19 Results - Quality Cited measures for quality: how it looks, work hours to complete, productivity or efficiency rating, meeting schedule deadlines, visual inspections, number of building defects, repeat business, customer satisfaction rating, and cleanliness of jobsite Quality improvement methods reported: education/training(4), teamwork(2), accountability(2), audits(2), and use of pre- qualification(1) data for hiring subs Reported barriers to quality improvement included: worker attitude(4), lack of awareness(3), product/supply problems(2), and the nature of the construction process(2) Boy, I dont know how you would collect data on the quality performance.

20 Results – Quality and Safety Concerning similarities, 2 acknowledged the potential benefits (improved productivity, happier workers, better business) 6 contractors felt that safety and quality were two entirely different issues (and required special attention) 3 contractors indicated that a strong safety program would probably improve quality performance You have people that either have their stuff together and are doing well, and then those who are not following safety are not running a good business either.

21 Discussion Safety response were similar to the literature Use of EMR & IR for safety performance Traditional safety characteristics However, focus on worker Quality responses were not similar to the literature Varying definition of quality, and metrics Limited acknowledgement of a formal system Similar to safety, focus on worker Integration of quality and safety not well understood, limited application

22 Summary Construction is a complex process, involving multiple parties (with individual interests) to transform a mental concept into a physical structure. The non-standard or unpredictable nature of construction increases the variability within the process An integrated safety and quality management system could help reduce some variability in the construction process, however it is not very well understood at this time

23 Acknowledgements Professors P. Carayon, M.J. Smith, UW- Madison Professor E.A. Kapp, UW-Whitewater WI ABC Safety Director Don Moen CPWR for support Thanks for Listening! For more information or copies of reports, contact Todd W. Loushine at

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