15 Oct IS YOUR MATERIAL INSPECTION PROCESS EFFECTIVE? HERE ARE 6 KEY CONTROL MEASURES TO USE
Subcontractor material selection often goes through a rigorous process with the main contractor and clients’ rep to determine that all materials that are used, meet the requirements of the project specifications and contract.
Many organisations have an effective material inspection approval process in place initially. However once the actual material is delivered on to the site, the system can sometimes fall apart as the checks and balances necessary are not always implemented.
In some cases this can result in unapproved materials being brought to site by sub-contractors – sometimes exchanged for an inferior product or a product which has passed its expiry date or that is in a poor condition.
We use 4 real scenarios that were found:-
- The Fire rated sealant
Fire rated sealant was approved for the project and samples were provided during the material approval process for sign off.
During an on-site audit it was found that:
- Sub-contractor had supplemented the fire rated sealant with ordinary non fire rated mastic, posing a serious breach of regulations for this particular application area.
- The product reached the site undetected for its application.
- It was inconsistent with the material approved and MSDS.
Consequences: All products had to be removed from the site. The areas affected could not be determined as to whether the application installed was non-rated or fire rated. All areas had to be re-inspected and sealant removed and replaced.
Additional resources had to be mobilised to undertake the corrective works (of which could be contra-charged).
This cost the company in programme delays, additional time, and mobilisation costs. In addition the main contractors’ integrity was put into question by the clients’ rep, along with the sub-contractor. The client proceeded to demand that other areas of the construction were to be reopened and re-inspected by them, including ceiling and walls closures.
This could have been avoided if the material had been checked upon arrival at the site.
Sealant can be a difficult product as normal mastic is also being used on site which is non-fire rated – however understanding this, additional protocols can be established.
- The new floor screed
The sub-contractor responsible for floor screeding works decided to add an additive product to the screed mix, as an accelerator. A half used tub had been left by the sub-contractor on site.
- This was not issued as part of his material submittal for approval.
- The material had not been checked when it arrived on the site.
- The product was found to be 3 years out of the expiry date.
Consequences: A batch of self levelling screed had been recently poured. The following day the sub-contractor noticed that the screed was an incorrect consistency and fail to set. They had to immediately remove it from the area which was after 24 hours. This resulted in a loss of 3 days, an impact on the programme and other trades work, additional cost and resources to remove the screed.
- Ductwork installation
MEP equipment having been installed within a large construction site. During inspection it was found to be produced in a different country of origin and was not the same make and model as detailed on the material approval.
- Inferior product was used of a lesser quality which was damaged and eroded and was of a lower specification.
- Material had not been checked on entering the site.
- Material did not match the material submittal.
Investigation revealed the ducts had been taken from an old stock by the sub-contractor who was trying to cut costs. The material had previously been discarded and left in the sand for a period of time and was left over from their other site.
Consequences: Sub-contractor had to remove and replace the duct work. Order time was 4 weeks to procure. This caused impact to programme, impact on finishing trades work and financial implications.
So what are some of the ways to reduce the risk of unspecified materials on site?
IS YOUR MATERIAL INSPECTION PROCESS EFFECTIVE? HERE ARE 6 KEY CONTROL MEASURES TO USE
- Ensure a material inspection approval process is in place prior to site mobilisation.
- Designate a competent and trained material inspector, in charge of inspecting the products and materials against the approved specifications and Material Submittal Data Sheet (MSDS). This role is of critical importance.
- Ensure that every material that arrives on site is accompanied with a delivery note and that it matches the MSDS and sample.
- Inspect all materials to ensure they are free of damage, within expiry date and match the requirements. Observe how they have been packed and delivered.
- Regularly audit the suppliers’ operations to ensure that products are stored correctly, in line with manufacturers’ recommendations and project specification and of course it is the correct material.
- Ensure that your materials are segregated and labelled in the factory and taken from a designated “stock” for your project.
Is your material inspection process effective? Here are 6 key control measures to use
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