Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plan (QA/QC Plan) is prepared by the Consultant and submitted to the Client for review. The Quality Assurance plan describes how the Consultant will verify that the Quality Control Plan is being followed. The Quality Control plan describes in detail the efforts that will be made by the Consultant to minimize the probability of errors or omissions occurring during design. Sample QA/QC plan templates are readily available on the Internet.
When having a QA/QC plan is a contractual requirement, it is recommended that contract language be included that allows the designer to deviate from the “plan” when appropriate in the designer’s opinion. The following are some benefits of having a written quality control plan:
- Improve the probability of the design being free from errors or omissions
- Defending against an allegation that a designer was negligent for not having a quality control plan
- Avoiding design deficiencies that have resulted in construction problems in the past
- Preserving the firm’s reputation for producing high quality designs
- Differentiation during the selection process from other firms that do not have a quality control plan
The level of complexity of a quality control plan is dependent on the nature of the design. In some cases, a simple checklist is sufficient while other projects warrant a more comprehensive QA/QC plan. A running list of what caused construction problems should be maintained and checking for these items should be included in the plan. This process can also take the form of “Lessons Learned” that should be documented at the end of each project and shared with all involved in future designs. However, preparing and distributing of “Lessons Learned” should be delayed until all claims in connection with the project have been resolved.
One last word of caution; having a QA/QC plan and not following it will likely be worse than not having a plan at all.