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Über dieses Buch

The book presents the development of the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS), Singapore’s de facto quality performance measurement system, explains the application of the Quality Management System (QMS) to manage CONQUAS and identifies 33 critical success factors (CSFs) for achieving high CONQUAS scores. Through CONQUAS, the reader benefits from understanding how the Singapore government developed and implemented the first objective system for measuring what many building professionals have perceived to be elusive quality standards in the construction industry. The book presents both the theoretical concepts as well as the practical aspects to achieving strategic Project Quality Management that is anchored on the CSFs to building best practices. To realistically reflect the practical aspects and challenging issues faced by stakeholders in the construction industry, questionnaire surveys were conducted with building professionals to distinguish the importance level and extent of adoption of the 33 CSFs (identified from a comprehensive review of the extant literature) in influencing and affecting the achievement of high CONQUAS scores. These were further anchored by in-depth interviews with quality experts in the Singapore construction industry to provide a better understanding of issues relating to strategic Project Quality Management. Collectively, the empirical findings collated from the building professionals suggest that while the CSFs identified are known tenets of quality, these were still not being followed in their totality. A further case study was conducted through a formal set of in-depth interviews with the quality assurance team of a construction company who has direct involvement before, during and after their tremendous improvements in the CONQUAS scores attained. The strength of this book therefore represents a true account and reflections of real-life practices and experiences in the construction industry for contractors, quality managers and policy-makers to learn from. Although the context of this book relates to the Singapore experience, the lessons and recommendations are equally relevant and applicable to the global construction industry in both the developing and developed countries whose stakeholders (in both the public and private sectors) wish to understand how CONQUAS works, and how the CSFs identified can likewise be implemented for strategic Project Quality Management to building best practices. The book is therefore of interests to researchers, academia and practitioners in the construction industry as well as in other sectors of the economy (in Singapore and other countries) where learning points may be used for enhancing project quality management for buildings.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Quality has been a key issue in the construction industry since the late 1980s, with 37 % of all construction projects reporting major defects (Sullivan in J Manage Eng 27(4):210–219, 2010). Murray (1993) commented that the low level of quality may be attributable to the fact that the industry was impervious to modern change and was structured as if nothing had changed in the last 50 years. In fact, the construction industry consists of numerous parties, each of which has a role to play in ensuring the quality of the product. The poor performance of one party will affect the performance of the next party.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 2. Construction Quality Assessment System

In 1989, the first edition of CONQUAS was introduced to evaluate the quality performance of building contractors in the public sector (Tang et al. in Construction quality management. Hong Kong University Press, Hong kong, 2005). Subsequently, CONQUAS was applied to the superstructure works of private building projects in 1991 as well as development on sites sold by the Housing and Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority and civil engineering works construction in 1993 as a way to assure quality even in other sectors. In the fifth edition launched in 1998, known as CONQUAS 21, the assessment of Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) Works was included to replace the External Works component to make CONQUAS scoring more accurate and customer-oriented (Chiang et al. in The construction sector in the Asian economies, Spon Press, Newyork, 2005). Industry concerns and end-user feedback continued to shape CONQUAS 21 (BCA in CONQUAS 21. The BCA construction quality assessment system, Singapore, 2005). After a review focusing on latent defects, the sixth edition launched in 2005 introduced the wet-area water-tightness testing and in-process inspection for internal wet-area waterproofing works to ensure better quality assurance and higher CONQUAS scores. Following that, the seventh edition became applicable in 2008 where the defect level weightages for internal finishes assessment are raised for a more accurate reflection of homeowner priorities on defects. Hence, this study will be based on the seventh edition, which can be found from the following web link:
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 3. Quality Management

The success of the Japanese mass production era in managing quality has led the West, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, to wake up to the importance of quality (Boje and Dennehy 2008). In 1979, a national uniform Standards for Quality System, BS 5750, was published in United Kingdom. Soon, the British Standards Institution (BSI) submitted a proposal to the ISO that a new technical committee be formed to prepare international standards related to quality assurance techniques and practices.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 4. CONQUAS Critical Success Factors

There are a large number of factors determining the workmanship quality of contractors who are expected to perform better and better in terms of their CONQUAS scores. However, contractors can only manage a certain number of factors simultaneously. The vast amount of factors needs to be reduced to some manageable few but critical ones before proper measures can be taken to enhance the CONQUAS score. In addition, the success factors are in the nature of competing limited resources—money, manpower, time and management efforts; investing more on some factors often means less on others. It is thus necessary to identify the vital factors and to allocate sufficient resources to those which are the most likely to yield a maximal outcome of high CONQUAS score.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 5. Research Design and Methodology

Based on empirical findings conducted by others in the extensive literature review as well as logical deductions, because achieving “high” CONQUAS score is not an obligatory rule and since it is hard to realise too, few contractors do their best to meet this higher target.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 6. Results and Analysis

A summary of the overall analysis process is provided to give an overview of the steps taken in this research to analyse the findings obtained Table 6.1.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 7. Case Study

Company Z was founded in 1983 and is now a reputable grade A1 (general building) main contractor headquartered in Singapore. Company Z is dedicated to provide reliable, timely, excellent and safe construction services to their clients. Company Z also envisions to being the contractor of choice and aims to achieve total customer satisfaction through quality construction and services, timely completion of projects as well as provide a safe and healthy working environment. Moreover, Company Z strives to work with passion, commitment and enthusiasm; honesty and integrity; continual self-improvement in skill and knowledge; and excellence in reputation. Be it cash grants, donations, sponsorships or in-kind services, Company Z has been supporting those in need and also other worthy causes. They also participate in voluntary work both locally and overseas by lending their knowledge and expertise as they believe in bringing corporate social responsibility to a personal level. Company Z has consistently exceeded industry norms with the aim of reducing the harmful effects from its operations. They are committed to reducing them by evaluating their operations and systems to ensure that they are efficient and able to achieve both quality and productivity in their work processes.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 8. CONQUAS Management Framework

With the literature review and research methodology undertaken, the conceptual framework developed at the end of Chap. 4 was shown to be constructive for use by contractors to better determine how the 33 CSFs contribute to the attainment of high CONQUAS scores. The CONQUAS management framework demonstrates how contractors can develop and value-add to their CONQUAS planning before actual construction to realise the goal of achieving a high CONQUAS score. Hence, the following will explain how the framework was developed.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong

Chapter 9. Conclusion

On all counts, this research has addressed the workmanship quality problems of the structural, architectural and M&E components and introduced suitable CONQUAS management techniques by referencing to quality management concepts to introduce a CONQUAS management framework. All the three objectives identified in Chap. 1 were achieved in this research through various methods including literature review, questionnaire surveys, interviews and a case study. The data obtained were also analysed and the following describes the conclusion reached.
Sui Pheng Low, Joy Ong


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