This research was conducted to determine if quality assurance and its strategies are effective for successful project execution in the construction industries. Data was obtained from both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources consisted of questionnaires and observations while the secondary data consisted of texts, websites and journals. Percentages were used to analyze data and analysis of variance (ANOVA) was adopted in testing hypothesis. Among the major result of data analysis include that most construction firms in Owerri did not apply quality assurance strategies and that quality assurance provides umbrella for continuous process improvement among others. The researcher inferred that many workers had no proper knowledge of cost benefit analysis as a quality assurance tool. Also many workers were not properly exposed to quality audits and process analysis. It was recommended that the construction firms should improve on the skills and capacity building of their employees in the areas of quality assurance and quality management in general. Equally, implemented defect repair should go with quality audits. It was concluded among others that quality assurance is a key to project customer satisfaction
1.1 Background Of The Study
Over the years, most projects in organizations especially those of the Zerock, Rhas and New Idea Construction companies in Owerri, might have been subjected to poor performance and abandonment following the inability of the management of such projects to apply quality assurance techniques in the execution of such projects.
According to Jaideep (2009), the definition of quality varies in different contexts. On one hand, we talk of software quality that means adopting standards and measures to ensure the building of software product that meets all customer requirements (design, interface, business requirements, functional requirements, etc) and ready to deliver. On the other, hand, project quality refers to the standard and measures by means of building (or adopting) to ensure successful completion of a project, in terms of time and revenue. This starts right from initiation of the project to its implementation stage and continues to the post implementation stage. In the context of software-the quality means software strategy, plan, test cases, test scenarios, test results and fixing of bugs. Inclusion of quality in this context will vary from organization to organization and project to project (within an organization). This will ensure the successful building of software product ready for delivery. In the context of project, the quality would mean managing quality standards and measures for a project right from its initiation to all stages coming forth. A project life cycle in standard terms would comprise of project initiation, project planning, development execution, implementation, execution, project close-out, and post implementation phase broadly, which remains on-going till the software built is in use by the customers for a period of years (Jaideep, 2009).
Also, according to the project management book of knowledge PMBOK (2005), to perform quality assurance means applying-the planned, systematic quality activities to ensure that the project employs all processes needed to meet requirements. Quality assurance is the application of planned systematic quality activities to ensure that the project will employ all processes needed to meet requirements. Quality assurance is the application of planned systematic quality activities to ensure that the project will employ all processes needed to meet requirements (PMBOK, 2005). A quality assurance department or similar organization often oversees quality assurance activities. Quality assurance supports, regardless of the unit’s title, may be provided to the project team, the management of the performing organization, the customer or sponsor, as well as other stakeholders not actively involved in the work of the project. Quality assurance also provides an umbrella for another important quality activity, continuous process improvement. Continuous process improvement provides an iterative means for improving the quality of all processes (PMBOK, 2005). Such quality assurance inputs as quality management plan, quality metrics, process improvement plan, work performance information, approved change requests, quality control measurement, implemented change requests, implemented corrective actions, implemented defect repair and implemented preventive action must be performed (Anyanwu, 2007).
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Many construction industries in Owerri had in the past delivered completed construction projects which fell short of design specifications and quality standard. (Ministry of Works, Owerri, 2012).
Indeed, most of the roads hardly survived one rainy season. Many roads constructed in the past lack durability and reliability in that they cannot withstand the climatic and environmental challenges in Owerri. Examples of such roads include St. Johns Laboratory through Relief Market to Egbu road and Transfiguration road between IMSU Junction and MCC road junction.
Experience has also shown that many project managers find it difficult to determine if quality assurance is effective for successful project execution in construction industries (Anyanwu 2007). It could also be dangerous for project completion if there are low performance indices due to inability to put in place quality assurance techniques in project construction.
It is also painful, as experience has shown that many project managers are yet to develop a relationship between quality audit and input materials in construction firms. This could be compounded by the perceived poor attitude of project firms to quality assurance techniques (Kenny, 2010).
It is in the light of the above problems that this research is conducted.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The major objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of quality assurance strategies on the execution and delivery of construction project. Specifically, this study is undertaken to:
(a) Determine if quality assurance is effective for successful project execution in the construction industries.
(b) Examine the performance indices for quality assurance in construction projects.
(c) Determine the extent of application of quality audit to input materials in construction firms.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions for this research work are:
(a) Are quality assurance strategies effective for successful project execution in construction industries?
(b) Are there performance indices for quality assurance in project construction?
(c) Is there any relationship between quality audit and input materials in construction industries?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Project managers will use this work to determine the essential roles which quality assurance can play in the satisfaction of project owners. Project workers will use this work to understand the need to improve their quality assurance skills. Project management consultants and project-based firms will use this work to educate their clients on quality assurance and improve the quality of their works respectively.
1.7 Scope And Delimitation Of The Study
This study seeks to investigate the effectiveness of quality assurance in project execution as it affects all projects in various organizations, but due to time and financial constraints, the researcher has chosen to focus on project organizations like Zerock, Rhas and New Idea Construction Companies.
It is not only quality assurance that has effects on project execution, other factors like time management, motivation, project human resources development and project financial management all have impacts and effects on project execution.
1.8 Limitations Of The Study
There were a lot of constraints which the researcher encountered in the course of carrying out this research work. First, was the lack of sufficient funds to face the challenges of the research work. This was overcome by the intervention of relatives. It was difficult to educate the respondents on how best to complete the questionnaires administered to them. The researcher solved this problem by ensuring that the respondents filled the questionnaires in her presence.
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