Construction contractors need to improve how they leverage mobile technology for on-site quality assurance, a new survey has found.

As Australia’s construction sector strives to improve processes in the wake of concerns about building defects, a survey of 162 construction firms conducted by ACA Research for construction management software provider Procore found that firms faced challenges in leveraging technology and data to deliver quality assurance across their projects.

Across those surveyed, 52 percent of respondents agreed that they needed to better leverage mobile technology for on-site quality assurance processes.

Meanwhile 67 percent found all aspects of the quality assurance process challenging.

These ranged from setting protocols, creating forms, and training; to on-site processes, collecting and integrating data from disparate sources, analysis and reporting.

Indeed, the survey found that construction teams spend an average of 30 hours per week on quality assurance processes – a figure which rises to 75 hours for large businesses (100 plus employees).

The survey also found that:

  • Most respondents agreed (64%) that quality assurance needs to be a connected and transparent process across all areas of the business from policy design through to data capture, analysis, and reporting.
  • Respondents identified setting and specifying protocols as the most challenging part of the quality assurance process (75%), followed by analysing and reporting on quality performance across the business (70%).
  • 55% of respondents say responsibility for quality assurance should be moved from the office to the jobsite, however there are challenges to making this a reality. Almost half (46%) agreed it is difficult getting site staff to fully comply with processes, and 41% acknowledged that site managers often remain in the dark about how the information they collect is used.
  • Almost half of respondents (45%) said that it is difficult to effectively monitor the quality of projects without an integrated data management platform.
  • 38% believe paper-based quality assurance processes increase the risk of re-work.

The latest data comes as the sector has faced criticism over recent years following widespread reports of building defects.

The report also comes as Procore has released a new tool known as Action Plans to assist its clients to integrate compliance into the course of construction by enabling teams to create plan templates and bring protocols, reference documentation, records and communication together in one place for all stakeholders to access on its platform.

Tom Karemacher, Vice President APAC at Procore Technologies, said the importance of project quality should not be underestimated.

“Procore customers tell us that ensuring the quality of their projects has become their number one priority in 2020,” Karemacher said.

“This comes as unprecedented socio-economic forces have accelerated digital transformation in the Australian construction industry.

“This widespread uplift in digital maturity will not only help the industry to deliver high quality projects, it will also increase consumer confidence and trust in the sector. As Procore’s latest poll shows, technology presents a real opportunity for productivity and economic gains as the industry doubles down on quality.”

Beau Parker, Quality Coordinator at Probuild Constructions, said his firm was continually seeking to improve processes in response to changing quality requirements.

He said the ability to consolidate use of multiple platforms to manage quality and safety into one using Procore has helped to simplify quality assurance management and provide greater confidence about the robustness of the QA processes.