Traditional quality systems are very labour intensive, paper based, immobile and require large amounts of space to accommodate. The objective of this thesis is to devise a quality system that overcomes these problems for application in the major construction industry. By the careful analysis of QA systems in general and within the construction industry, the quality systems employed by the construction industry were critically evaluated for effectiveness and ease of use. The results were then used to improve the quality systems employed on the Hail Creek Coal Project in the Bowen Basin.
The solution is based on recent advances in Information Technology, to integrate quality systems within existing construction practices. The key elements are a host database to track QA documentation used within the project and the use of mobile computing devices (Pocket PC) for collecting quality data. The introduction of mobile devices and an
integrated quality tracking system, allowed for the improvement of the quality, effectiveness, and speed of quality control within the project.
The system allowed a user to access installation procedures and record completion of all work, inspection and testing tasks while in the field, and allowed the engineers to have an almost real-time glimpse of the completion of each task. The system put all the knowledge of the user manual, coupled with the seamless recording of task completion together to form an integrated work, inspection and testing procedure; a single relational record that contains all information required to complete a task coupled with provisions to instantaneously track the completion.
The project was carried out while I was located on the project site working as the Quality Assurance Engineer on the Hail Creek Coal Project. This has facilitated a participant observation approach to conducting the project, in essence both studying the project systems while also being charged with their control.