The Effectiveness of Internal Quality Audits on ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems in the Construction Sector

Choon Kwee Goh1, Grace Siew Tuan Chng2, Abas Binte Nashila3 & Donal Lenihan4

1Senior Quantity Surveyor, Cost Control & Contracts Management, KPK Quantity Surveyors, Singapore
2Marketing Officer, Building and Construction Authority, Singapore
3Clerk-of-Works, Housing and Development Board, Singapore
4Lecturer, Faculty of the Constructed Environment, RMIT University, Melbourne

Abstract

This paper examines the effectiveness, within the construction sector, of the Internal Quality Audit (IQA) and its contribution to Quality Management System (QMS) based on the ISO 9000 Certification Scheme. Once a company has obtained ISO Certification the IQA is amongst the requirements specified in the ISO Standards that must be maintained. However, the way the IQA is conducted has an effect on its contribution to the QMS. This specifically includes company risk management and compliance with contractual obligations. A literature review establishes the relationship between the QMS, ISO implementation and the auditing system. The four indicators of an effective IQA are identified. These indicators are then be used as a basis to measure effectiveness of IQAs when applied to construction. This paper draws on the findings of recently conducted case studies conducted on the use of IQAs in the construction industry in Singapore. The key finding is that IQAs are under utilized in terms of a measure of the effectiveness of the QMS and also as a measure of demonstrating compliance with contractual obligations. The recommendations arising from this research fall into two categories. The first category relates to the need to increase the frequency of conducting IQAs in order that there is adequate evidence of implementation of the QMS for the purpose of risk minimization, third party audits and compliance with contractual obligations. The second area is the need to train and educate staff to understand the role and contribution of the IQA to the overall QMS process.

Keywords

Quality Management Systems, Quality Assurance, Internal Quality Audits, ISO 9000 Certification

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Reference

Goh, C.K. , Chng, G.S.T. , Nashila, A.B. & Lenihan, D. 2001, 'The Effectiveness of Internal Quality Audits on ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems in the Construction Sector' In:, Ballard, G. & Chua, D., 9th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Singapore, Singapore, 6-8 Aug 2001.

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