Trenchless Quality Management (available in Geoenvironmental Engineering Special Issue)

by Balaram K. Singh, P.E., Special Drainage Structures Engineer; Michigan Dept. of Transportation, Lansing, MI,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 10, Pg. 2A-4A

Document Type: Feature article


Tunneling is complicated unpredictable work that often leads to disputes. One way to manage these projects and stay out of the courtroom is to use a methodology known as total quality (TQ). Adopting a TQ approach in construction management means delivering a perpetual commitment, and the organizational framework, to enhance quality in construction. This involves a close relationship between the public owner, the designer and the contractor that leads to reduced cost and construction cycle-times and increased owner satisfaction with the final product. Lasting success in TQ planning and construction is derived from two techniques: process mapping and managing process performance. Process mapping is a matter of reviewing the scope of a process and identifying how it flows from start to finish. Managing process performance is a matter of involving knowledgeable sources in the process and using their input to correct the output as the process evolves. This sort of flexibility is especially important in tunneling projects, where much of the work involves dealing with unanticipated problems. Used properly, TQ may eliminate or minimize certain risks, allocate the remaining risks more equitably, reduce the project's overall financing costs, foster better working relationships at the job level, reduce construction costs through contractor incentives, reduce the incidence of disputes and minimize the time and effort spent adjudicating claims.

Subject Headings: Construction management | Quality control | Construction costs | Tunneling | Project management | Owners | Mapping

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