QA/QC: The Benefits of Peer Review

The process of QA/QC or Quality Assurance / Quality Control by Architects & Engineers can have a direct impact on the overall quantity and total cost of E&O or Errors & Omissions related Change Orders on a construction project.  It is for this reason that it is critical for owners and developers to inquire about and have a complete understanding of their design teams’ processes and proficiencies related to Quality Assurance and Quality Control of their projects.

For a more in-depth look at QA/QC within an Architectural and/or Engineering firm, please see my previous post titled “Quality Control vs Quality Assurance”.  Below is an excerpt to help explain the difference between the two terms which are often used interchangeably; although they are, in practice, quite distinct aspects of the architectural/engineering process:

“Quality Control, a process which tends to be a responsibility placed in the hands of a select few individuals, is the last line of defense against errors and omissions for architects and engineers.  It is for this reason that it is often the process that is the focus of most architectural and engineering firms.  Unfortunately, as QC reviews typically happen just prior to a set of construction documents being issued, it is often too little, too late.  Even if QC reviews are performed at more project milestones, they are still often pitted directly against the project schedule when items are identified that need to be addressed, but for which the project schedule cannot accommodate the time necessary to do so.  More often than not, the decision is made to address items found during QC reviews at the same time plan review comments are addressed, however, this carries with it the added risk of QC items being forgotten or missed entirely.

Quality Assurance, on the other hand, is the responsibility of every individual within a firm, and for that reason, it is unarguably, the far more important of the two.  Throughout the course of an architectural project, the key to success, and producing a quality set of construction documents lies in multiple factors; not the least of which are personal ownership and follow-through.”

“The process of QA/QC is something that varies widely throughout the industry; ranging from a cursory review of a set of construction documents prior to being issued, to an ongoing process that starts in the early phases of design, continues for the life of the project and culminates in an in-depth review prior to issuance.”

These variances in approach to the process of QA/QC throughout the industry can be a minefield for owners and developers to navigate.  Failure to understand a particular design team’s approach or lack thereof can often have disastrous financial implications for a project.  A high percentage of E&O related change order costs during construction can wreak havoc on a construction budget, especially on the contingency fee, critically tight budgets which are all too common in today’s market.

Peer Review

At EVstudio, we have developed tools and offer services to help mitigate the potential impact of E&O related change order costs to your projects.  The keys to success are our Internal Technical Review (ITR) process, which is inherent in all of the projects we are commissioned to lead and the Peer Review services we offer to owner and developer clients for projects where EVstudio is not the Architect or Engineer of Record (AOR/EOR).

Our Peer Review services are the external application of our internal ITR processes in an effort to help reduce E&O related change order costs on a project by identifying:

  • Basic Coordination Errors or Conflicts
  • Coordination Errors between Drawings and Specifications
  • Scope Related Errors or Conflicts Across Disciplines
  • Lack of Design Intent Clarity within the Documents
  • Areas of Concern Due to a Lack of or Poor Detailing
  • Accessibility Code Compliance Concerns
  • Energy Code Compliance Concerns
  • Specialty Coordination
    • Access Control
    • Safety & Security
    • Door Hardware

As an Architectural & Engineering firm, our Peer Review Services can also include:

  • Civil Engineering Design Analysis for
    • Potential Cost Saving Opportunities
    • Efficient Storm Water Management
    • Potential Grading Issues or Areas of Concern
  • Structural Engineering Design Analysis for
    • Potential Cost Saving Opportunities
    • Potential Issues or Areas of Concern
  • PM&E Systems Design Analysis for
    • Potential Cost Saving Opportunities
    • Potential Issues or Areas of Concern
  • Clash Detection

Both our ITR process and Peer Review service begin with a thorough review of the entire set of construction documents, drawings & specifications (where applicable) and can be tailored to your specific project type and any particular areas of concern.  While no process can hope to eliminate E&O entirely, a reduction of up to 75%-80% is not uncommon and would significantly reduce the associated financial impact on any project’s bottom line.

Whether you are in the market for an Architectural & Engineering firm that will embed QA/QC into your project from Kick-off to Close-out, or have a project on the boards and want to add another level of oversight to set you up for success prior to construction, or anywhere along the way, EVstudio is here to help. Contact us to learn more.


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