Quality v/s Cost In Construction

I was watching #HBO’s miniseries #Chernobyl, on the world’s worst man-made disaster of all time…the melt down of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the series’ creators beautifully highlighted the perils of employing cheap technology to save cost…

It got me thinking seriously on how, in any industry, not just nuclear power plants, but across the larger spectrum, how easily saving costs feature much higher on the priority list than investing in safer, quality technology and processes.

Quality versus cost is not about being fancy and always buying the most expensive version of everything or being cheap and always buying the least expensive version of things. It’s about making sure what you buy lasts as long as possible so you don’t have to spend more money constantly replacing the same item. It is also making sure that what you invest in, as an organization, serves the larger picture and not an immediate need with a shorter life cycle.

Cost of poor quality (COPQ) is defined as the costs associated with providing poor quality products or services. There are four categories: Internal failure costs are costs associated with defects fouled, before the customer receives the product or service.

Being frugal doesn’t just mean saving money—it means spending your money wisely. That also means some things may be cheap now, but actually cost you more in the long run, while other times it makes sense to spend more now for a better, longer-lasting experience.

Coming from a purely construction background, it makes sense for me to elucidate on this matter with respect to this particular industry…

In my view quality can mean the difference between excellence and disaster. When it comes to time and watching the cost – the overall cost and time of completing poor quality work are usually the same as doing it correctly and within the time limits. And yes, not forgetting the additional cost that involves rectifying poor quality work.

What is Quality In Construction?

  • Building the project as per the construction drawings and design details.
  • Ensuring the project meets the local bylaws and codes.
  • Meeting the code and specification demands of the state or country.
  • Meeting the construction company’s standards.
  • Not forgetting sustainability

But most importantly meeting your own standards – Ask yourself – ‘Would I buy or accept this quality?’

Now, The Real Cost Of Bad Quality Construction

The construction market is one saturated marketplace with heavy competition, and competition means shrinking profit margins. Another thing, opportunities in the construction market is growing, but so is the project complexity. Sustaining the competition involves investment in new technologies, dealing with labor shortages and productivity issues and having better business practices.

Let’s face it, poor quality work costs money. So, when a project is of bad quality, correcting its mistakes will cost enormous amounts of money. Repairing cost is not the only hazard, their other risks too:

  • Time overruns
  • Cost overruns
  • Disrupted cash flow
  • Destroys client relationships
  • Increased chances of accidents
  • Environmental harms
  • Employees deliver poor standard work
  • Callbacks after project completion
  • Knock-on negative effect on the next project

Simply put, the quality of the work cannot be compromised for profitability. It, in the long run, it could cost you your goodwill and your business too.

Originally Published On LinkedIn By Kundan Dighe (Associate General Manager – Sales & Product Development at Wienerberger India)

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