IMPACT OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND SAFETY CULTURE ON CONSTRUCTION PERFORMANCE
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Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE
An overview of construction quality and safety reveals many striking similarities for these two management concept. In some cases safety is considered a part of total quality management (TQM). In the international construction scene, the inclusion of both the traditional qualities and safety efforts within a TQM system is advocated by Dias and Curado (1996). They suggest that the TQM emphasis on the customer will lead to protection of the employee who is a vital customer. They write that safety record keeping would be improved and a needed safety culture comparable to the existing quality culture would result.
Quality management has increasingly been adopted by construction companies as an initiative to solve quality problems and to meet the need of final costumer ( kanji and wong, 1998). As suggested by (Oakland and Aldridge, 1995) if ever an industry needed to take up the concept of total quality management (TQM),it is the construction industry. Alfred (1988) advances the view that construction very probably promises a greater pay back for performance improvement than any other service industry because of its magnitude.
Over the years, a lot of attention has focused on the causes of occupational incident (Haslam 2005). When accident occur in the work place, it is important to understand what human factors may have contributed to the out come in order to avoid similar incidents in the future. Through developing and understanding of why and how incident occur, appropriate method for incident prevention can be developed (Williamson and Feyer 2002). In the past, any attempt to improve work safety or to control work place risk has focused on technical aspects and on the direct influence of human behaviour (Gadd and Collins 2002). Several papers have sought to identify specific safety management practice that acts as a predictor of safety performance (Mearns 2003). Through examining organization with good safety performance, it was intended to identify common features that are associated with good safety performance.
This Research work will present a review of the literature on quality management and then on safety culture in construction industry. It will also use data from the studies on quality and safety in construction industry to further illustrate the problem of defining quality.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is commonly known that accident have serious implication to the construction industry both in financial and humanitarian terms. Construction accidents may cause many problems such as:
1 Demotivation of workers
2 Disruption of site activities
3 Delay of project progress and adversely affecting the overall cost, productivity and reputation of the construction industry (Mohammed, 1999).
The primary problem to management system implementation success seems to be the nature of the construction process; the projects are very large; seldom situated in the same location and labour intensive; the work force tends to be transient; demand fluctuates, subject to the client is perception of the value of the construction project (Somerville, 1994). All of these are barriers or problems that have made implementation of management system to be almost impossible.
Another problem to quality implementation is non- standardization. In the construction phase of a project, general contractors want to ensure quality through out the project. However, according to (Rowlinson and walker 1995), the construction industry is characterized by its non standardization. Very often, products are one- offs and the production processes are to some extent different from each other. Hence, no universal standard or specification can be applied to the product, which leads to difficulties in quality assurance. Changes to the design of a project are typical and may be frequent throughout the construction process. Quality is often at risk when there are excessive changes.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions are raised in the research.
1 what are the similarities between construction quality and safety?
2 what crucial factors are measured in improving quality
and safety performance?
3. What are the benefits of quality and safety implementation?
4 what are the possible methods used in implementing them?
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
This paper is aimed at examining the relationship between quality and safety and to explore how quality and safety can be operationalized in the construction industry.
The following are the objectives to aid the achievement of the aim:
1 To investigate the impact of the working environment on safety and quality.
2 To investigate how the compliance to standards and specification in design affect safety and quality.
3 To evaluate the decision making pattern of contractors in ensuring quality during the design and planning stages.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Constructors, client and others in the design and construction team do see obvious benefits of quality and safety improvement. Chase (1998) concluded,
“In the construction industry, application of TQM to the job site has been proven to speed – up project while increasing profitability”. Torbica and Stroh (1999) also concluded that, “for the first time an empirical study has confirmed that implementation of TQM is positively associated with home buyer satisfaction”. According to (McINtyre and kirschen man, 2000), Contractors do see benefits of quality improvement. More repeat customers and reduced rework.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
This research is restricted or limited to planning and implementing quality management and safety culture in achieving desired performance in the construction industry.
The area location of this study will be limited to selected site at Asaba, Delta State metropolis. Some of the limitations to this research study are: lack of adequate finance, time restraint etc.