The use of concrete in the Construction industry is widespread. However, several cases of deterioration of concrete structures associated with the lack of durability is a major cause of concern worldwide. The cost involved in restoring or replacement of these structures runs into millions of dollars. Poor quality concrete has been blamed on workmanship and ultimately poor Quality Management Practices. This research delved into the quality management practices of construction teams in concrete works. The aim of the research was to explore the nature and scope of quality management practices adopted by construction teams in concrete works. The objectives included the identification of current quality management practices used by construction teams in concrete works and an assessment of their knowledge on factors considered as basic but very important in the production of durable concrete. Other objectives were to assess the perception by Construction Project teams of the critical success factors in the implementation of total quality management in concrete works, and finally to propose a framework for quality management practice in concrete. A structured questionnaire survey was used to collect data from Construction Project teams namely; Project Managers, Project Engineers, Site Engineers, Clerk of works and Quality Control/Assurance Managers of D1K1 Contractors. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics, One sample t-test and factor analysis. Analysis of the data revealed that most of the D1K1 contractors did not have a formal quality management system nor were they ISO certified. They however practiced several elements of these systems. The use of quality control/assurance tools were limited and not effective. The respondents had a narrow definition of what quality concrete was.

The perception of the importance of some identified critical success factors for implementing Total Quality Management was however, found to be high. Implementing a formal quality management system will improve the durability and quality of concrete works. The study was limited to D1K1 contractors who are members of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana and focused on in-situ concrete works at the Construction site. It brought to the fore the need for top management to be involved in concrete works in order to achieve quality concrete and also organize regular training for professionals involved in concrete works.

1.1       BACKGROUND
The use of concrete in the building and construction industry is widespread as a result of its versatility, high strength and durability. Concrete remains the most widely used artificial material on earth (Lomborg, 2001). According to the Cement Association of Canada, twice of it as much as the total of all other building materials, amounting to about 3.8 billion cubic metres globally every year (Ecosmart Concrete, n.d.).

In the advent of democratization and favorable prospects of oil and gas, Ghana has witnessed a significant foreign direct investment. The construction and services sector account for more than 50% of Nation’s output (Granado, 2015). For this reason, massive infrastructural developments in Ghana, the country is witnessing a lot of high rise buildings, mostly reinforced concrete structures. However in spite of the popularity of concrete structures, if it is not properly constructed and maintained, it can deteriorate prematurely which is often referred to as our “crumbling infrastructure” (Meyer, 2002). Many concrete structures have suffered a lack of durability which has a consequence on the resource productivity of the industry (Mehta, 2004). Gambhir (2013) has asserted that over the past decade a good number of concrete structures have exhibited signs of distress even though they are within their design life which he attributed to lack of durability considerations. He adds that, the cost incurred in restoring these structures could have been avoided if quality control measures had been applied.

In Ghana there are several reports of concrete structures failing whilst still under construction (Bediako, 2015; Joy online, 2002; Graphic Online, 2014; Smith-Asante, 2015), and across the sub region notably in Nigeria, several cases of concrete structural failures have been reported (Anosike, 2011).

Amongst the causes of these failures are the quality of the concrete and poor supervision (Anosike, 2011; Boampong, 2015).

Neville & Brooks ( 2010) asserts that the large incidence of failure of concrete structures such as buildings, bridges, pavements and runways in recent years is an indication that the professionals in the industry do not always know enough about concrete. This is in spite of the fact that research in the past 30 years in concrete is said to be far more than the previous 150 years, as a result of which there is an unprecedented knowledge in the production of concrete of desired properties and strength (Meyer, 2002). Poor quality control of input materials, improper batching and mixing, inadequate training and management of construction team members can all lead to poor quality concrete (Naiknavare et al., 2012).

The right materials needed to constitute good concrete is well known, however, merely selecting the right aggregates do not guarantee quality even though it is essential (Nawy, 2008). Thus, several factors affect the quality of concrete which must be well understood and practiced in order to achieve quality concrete. If not properly mixed and placed, the life span gets affected, thus deteriorating prematurely (Meyer, 2002). Also the climate, temperature and exposure conditions have effect on the durability of the concrete (Neville & Brooks, 2010).

Construction team members play different roles to achieve a successful project. In concrete production, it is important for the construction team members, who may not be specialist in concrete, to fully understand concrete technology. The Site Engineer may for instance use knowledge of concrete technology in the construction of foundations, retaining walls etc. (Neville & Brooks, 2010).

Quality management practices have proved successful in the manufacturing industry and most of the literature is written in a factory vernacular. However, any organization that depends on success for survival can adopt same. The construction industry, however, has some significant differences compared to the manufacturing sector. This presents some further challenges. Construction companies can also reap some success if these quality management practices are adopted (Ashford, 1989). Quality management in construction implies maintaining and ensuring that the required standards are achieved so as to meet customer satisfaction that will eventually bring about sustained competitiveness and financial survival (Tan & Abdul Rahman, 2005).

Several definitions of quality exist in literature. Juran & Gryna (1980) defined quality as “fitness for use”. According to Ashford (1989) from the engineering perspective “quality conveys the concept of compliance with a defined requirement of value for money, of fitness for purpose or customer satisfaction”. It follows that to achieve quality for a product, certain basic dimensions of quality will need to be fulfilled.

There exist a lot of literature on the parameters for quality concrete, its production and placement (Chudley & Greeno, 2008; McCormac & Nelson, 2006; Shetty, 2005; Neville Brooks, 2010). The literature also abounds in management practices necessary for the success of projects (Ashford, 1989; Garvin, 1984; Pyzdek & Keller, 2013; Juran & Godfrey, 1999). Additionally, there are guides on quality management for concrete works such as ACI 122R and ISO 9001. However, not much can be found in the literature with specific reference as to the application and adoption of these management practices in concrete construction by project teams in Ghana.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 141 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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