What is an NCR or Non-Conformance Report
The process of Non Conformance Report or NCRs is one of the fundamental requirements of ISO 9001 standards. Ensuring quality – whether it is a product or a service – is one of the primary objectives of the ISO 9000 Quality Management system thereby achieving customer satisfaction. Hence it is very important to identify the non-conformity(ies), its corrective actions, and consequently a solution to find preventive action to avoid its recurrence.
Like a saying No One is perfect, every other business or organization may come across mistakes/defects in its operations. ISO certified companies address such issues through a process of raising Non-Conformance Reports, its corrective action, and preventive action. The same is applicable in the construction industry too where there are a lot of activities/trades and thereby chances of making more mistakes. (Click here for Non Conformance Procedure)
Non Conformances can happen anywhere in an organization such as
- In the production process of manufacturing a product with sub standard quality of some items.
- It can happen if acceptable criteria for appointment of an employee is compromised or bypassed where it may cause issues down the line of production and Quality control.
Non Conformance Report or NCRs In Construction Industry
There might be many ways an NCR can be defined, but it can be summarized in short as a description of
- What changed from its standard/specification or approved details that it has supposed to comply with – What went wrong
- Details of reference to the conformity that has been not followed for
- Details of corrective action required
- Details of preventive action.
An NCR can happen in the construction industry at many stages and in many scenarios, Few instances are given below but it definitely not limited to these only.
- Completed work or work in progress has been not done as per the approved Good for Construction drawings (latest revision)
- Work has been done against the relevant specification/standard clauses applicable
- Completed work is out of tolerance as per specification/standards or any other approved details.
- The materials used for the work are not as per the approved ones or of inferior quality.
- When the tests are failed to meet the required parameters.
- When the desired tests are not conducted.
- When the work is done not as per the approved Inspection and test plan/procedures.
- Completed works are defective
Normal Structure of NCRs or Non-Conformance Reports
The picture below will give an overall idea of how an Non Conformance Report or NCR report looks like.
- Description of the item/work/material that has deviated from the conformity or why it doesn’t meet the conformity
- What to do for correction
- Proposal for corrective action
- Submission of corrective action & proposal for preventive action
Closing out of NCRs.
Importance of NCRs
NCRs or Non Conformance Report is an important tool in the functioning of the QA/QC aspect of any construction company to ensure that project is completed by complying with the applicable standards, specifications and following the approved drawings and other procedures that are deemed to be followed during the construction taking place.
Many construction companies, even though not certified for ISO have a QA/QC wing to oversee the quality of work/materials and the process of each activity so that the work meets the desired standard or in a mutually accepted standard with its stakeholders. They also identify the defects and bad workmanship and address them through NCRs as and when applicable.
Significance of NCRs
For all its positive side like achieving an error-free or defect-free construction, yet the Non Conformance Report issued to any construction team seems to be a document that is so tough to accept or manage as it has so many implications afterward. Rectification of defects always remains a tough job and in some cases, complete removal and rebuild require all of which affects the schedule of the project. Manpower and material for the same would cost a burden on the contractor’s budget too.
In addition to the above, if the NC is related to any design issues it gives a hard time to designers, architects, and consultants for reworking and coordination. An NCR also makes a considerable impact on claims and compensation since the amount for affected work is used to withhold until the NCRs are successfully closed until which time it falls on the responsibility of the QA/QC team too do the follow-up and further supervision and inspection for the same.
Different way out for Closing NCRs
The following four set actions can be followed depending on the nature of Non Conformance Report
- Consult the appropriate consultant or Client for further advice (section of works may be put on hold until the design consultant/Architect reverts, and a decision is taken)
- Reject the item/works (further action may involve demolition or removal if possible)
- Use as is (the item/works can be deemed fit for purpose in its current disposition with no rework, with prior written acceptance from design consultant/Architect and Client)
- Repair the item/works (agree with the contractor on a repair procedure that will render the item/works fit for purpose on completion of the repair)
Stages of NCRs (From Issuance to Close Out)
Different organizations/companies have set their own methods on the flow of NCR procedures since there is no commonly accepted system. The normal stages of a Non-Conformance Report process are as follows
- NCR prepared based on the observations of any NC. Evidence are to be attached like photograhs, test results etc
- Submit the NCR to the contractor or the concerned person if it is within the organization (If the initiator and receiver are from the same organization). This normally handover through document transmittal.
- Upon receiving contractor/responsible person shall propose their corrective and preventive action on the NC and return back to the initiator for approval
- Initiator need to analyze the proposal and provide the feedback (Either to proceed with the proposal or to resubmit if the same is not acceptable) in writing and returned back to the contractor.
- Once approved, contractor needs to make necessary arrangement for the rectification depending upon the action. Inspection requests are to be raised and rework are to be approved formally.
- Once the corrective action is completed, contractor need to submit the NCR for closure. All supporting documents are to be attached along with NCR.
Note: The same Non-Conformance Report is to be used for all these communications and for the closure.