QUALITY IN INDIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY – AN OVERVIEW

Do Indian construction industry in terms of quality control and Quality Assurance has kept pace with required standards to achieve a mutually acceptable level between the clients and contractors. Do the contractors in India, especially those undertaking construction of large projects have enough resources and systems so that reasonable efforts are in place for carrying out the awarded work as per standards bound to the contracts. Do Indian construction projects have its due consideration that it deserves with regard to implementation of process and procedures to ensure that the works executed at the site meet the criteria specified in CPWD/IS specifications based on which the Project is awarded. Do enough reservations are made in Indian construction contracts so that it becomes mandatory to follow some basic guidelines that would make compliance with standards and specifications which are to be followed during construction.

Do awareness/training about each work activity’s Quality Control and Quality Assurance aspect to achieve a satisfactory output on each stage with managerial and supervisory staff with the construction industry are implemented in projects. Do design consultants and architects bound to ensure that the actual work meets what they had specified with approved drawings and other details. Do the clients are determined to oversee that systems are in place and execution of their projects are according to the prevailing standards and contractual obligations. 

These are some ever-relevant concerns in the construction industry, not only in India but globally too. From a  true perspective, it is a difficult task to have a consensus or a perfectly satisfactory answer to these questions due to a variety of factors prevailing in India. 

Due to urbanization, economic reforms, industrialization, and globalization Indian construction sector remained in upward progress over the past decades which resulted in an increase in employment and a boost to the Indian economy. But India being famous for its talent pool, whether engineers, Supervisors, tradesmen, and skilled laborers leaving the country for better prospects, the problem of having competent manpower or managerial staff to handle multimillion projects across the country is another issue the construction industry is facing. This is one of the factors with an adverse effect on the quality standards of the final product. It is also evident from the experience in Indian projects and inputs received from other projects that the competition for getting projects awarded between the contractors leads to quote lesser amount which eventually leads to some compromising on quality and safety prescribed in the tenders which bring out the substandard quality of works.

Though the international standard of achieving and measuring quality standards of organization is popular among many established firms here through ISO certification. still, there are a lot of smaller contractors, subcontractors with no such certification done in this regard which shows the scope of improvement in terms of execution of works in a standard methodology to achieve the desired result is plenty in the offering. 

As India has allowed foreign firms to operate from India since a long time back, its impact is visible on the construction sector also. Many reputed and well-known companies that made a name for themselves in countries like US, UK, Middle east which are famous for management of construction projects, however complex it would be opened its office in India. They are experienced and expertise in dealing with any kind of project right from the conceptual stage till handing over. The various phases in between those two like design, selection of consultants, architects, design development, issuing tenders, shortlisting of contractors, awarding of projects, project management, claims, dispute, co-ordination with different stakeholders are well handled by these companies and thereby rewriting the way big projects were handled in India comparing with the conventional way that prevailed since a long time. Some of these companies are Hill International, Mace, Turner, WSP, Colliers, Act, McDermott …… The heavyweights of Indian Infrastructure developers were keen to accept the PMC concept in their big projects by appointing them to handle the projects even at the cost of a higher budget. This Indian – Foreign partnership in developing infrastructures and facilities across India also helped the developers to establish a name for themselves when other foreign companies were looking to India for investment and development – in other fields too like IT, telecommunications, hospitality, etc – to open their offices and other facilities for its employees. 

Though there was a lot of difference in the way they have to function in the Indian mode of management of construction projects, but they were quick to make themselves adopt the best practices for the Indian way of things to be carried out. They were also able to make some essential changes and bring new practices in designs, involvement of consultants and architects along with improvement of quality and safety on all the projects. 

Recently for the 10 – 15 years, the construction industry has again got its momentum in the form of Metro rail works in many important cities and also with upgrading and construction of new Highways across India. Apart from Delhi, which is one state that has its presence of Metro with maximum length to almost all the parts of the city none of the other Indian states have a major presence. Hence the last decade has seen the rise of the same in many metro cities of major states like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkota, Pune, etc.

It is interested to note that, the respective governments were given these projects from design to conceptualization to international PMCs in which quality control and assurance have prime importance. The volume of each metro project is very huge compared with other civil Projects like infrastructure works. It has eventually resulted in demand for more manpower, supervisory staff, and Engineers across India for these projects.

The presence and involvement of PMCs in project management across many spectrums of the construction industry have brought more attention and importance to have robust quality management of construction activities. There are many tools available to achieve this in a systematic manner. Quality in Construction means Do it for the first time! It is too expensive and inefficient to come back and do it all over again.

Quality Construction done on time is the key to successful Construction projects and happy customers. One of the definitions of Quality in Construction itself is to Finish the Project within the allotted budget and agreed time frame. 

The purpose of this site is to provide some essential quality requirements in the form of blogs for conveying quality-related matters, method statements and Inspection and Test Plans (lTPs) for various construction activities, samples of typical procedures, and processes of the Quality Management system that may find its relevance in any Civil Engineer’s life.

Suggestions, opinions, constructive comments for the improvement of this site are always welcome.

With Warm Regards,

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