Your company has been successful in its tender for the Blue Mountains project. You company has carried out a quality risk assessment and has identified that a quality manual is necessary for the concrete trade on this job to ensure a quality product is delivered to the client. You are required to prepare a quality manual for the Concrete trade for the project. Set out the document in the format required by the relevant Australian Standards. It is recommended that you are familiar with the following standards prior to completing this assessment:
• ISO 9000:2006 Quality management systems — Fundamentals and Vocabulary.
• ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems — Requirements.
• AS/NZS ISO 10005:2006 Quality management systems - Guidelines for quality plans.
• AS ISO 10006-2003 Quality management systems - Guidelines for quality management in projects.
• AS ISO 10013-2003 Guidelines for quality management system documentation.
• ISO 9004:2009 Managing for the sustained success of an organization - A quality management approach.
• AS ISO 10007-2003 Quality management systems - Guidelines for configuration management.
• HB 90.3 The Construction Industry - Guide to ISO 9001:2000
The objective of the manual is to identify how you are going to assure the construction of a quality concrete job, free from defects and in accordance with the contract documents.
You should consider elements such as:
Formwork — quality of materials, sequence of installation and stripping, storage on site, tolerances in dimensions, progressive (and mandatory) inspections etc.
Reinforcement — quality of steel, bending tolerances, cartage to site, storage on site, coding, sequence of installation, concrete coverage (and checks thereof) , progressive (and mandatory) inspections etc.
Concrete - quality of materials, testing before placement, on-site handling, placement procedures, finishing, curing and tolerances.
Generally — What happens when non-conformance is identified? What records are you going to maintain?
Who is responsible at the various stages? What control documents are you going to set up?
Design a suitable form layout to record compliances.
You will need to examine every stage of the process of the Concreter trade, and identify what problems are normally encountered. After identifying the problems what controls and hold points are you going to establish to prevent these problems from occurring? What evidence are you going to produce to justify any claim that the controls have been implemented?
This document is a quality manual for concrete trade. The document discusses three main areas of concrete trade: formwork, reinforcement and concrete. The manual has been prepared in compliance with Australian Standards.
Quality of materials
Concrete formworks used in this project shall be made from metal, wood or plastic. The materials used to make these formworks shall be sourced from reputable suppliers in the region. Quality will be the top priority when searching for suppliers because formwork affects quality of concrete. Various tests shall be performed on these materials to ensure that they meet the quality requirements in Australian Standards
This shall start by designing the formworks depending on the designs, shapes and dimensions of various structures to be constructed, such as foundations, slabs, columns, walls, etc. After designing, the selected materials shall be used to fabricate the formworks. Installation of formwork shall start by transporting the components to the site and placing them at their respective places. The formworks shall be installed using inspected and accepted shoring equipment. Base plates, extension devices, pegs and shore heads, shall be installed. One end of the formwork is driven into the ground while braces on the other are fastened to the pegs using nails or screws. Spirit level should be used during installation to ensure that the formwork is perfectly vertical or horizontal. After installation, the engineer shall inspect the formwork to ensure that it is properly secured with braces and it is rigid. External and internal formworks shall also be fastened by installing lumber after every 2 inches. After pouring the concrete in the formwork and curing it for the recommended period, the formwork shall be stripped. The stripping shall be done by loosening the nails, screws or other fasteners used and gradually pulling the out the braces, shores lumbers and formworks. For vertical or sloping formworks, stripping shall start at the top going down. Wooden wages shall be used to separate formworks. If a formwork is difficult to remove, pry bar shall be used to pry it from the ground. The formworks shall be removed on alternating sides of the structure so as to maintain structural balance. Formwork installation and stripping shall be overseen by the engineer to prevent defects and quality decline of the concrete structure.
When the formworks are delivered on site, they shall be stored in their designated areas that do not compromise their quality. The storage area or facility shall ensure that the formworks are not affected by corrosion, chemical attack, excessive heat, physical damages, etc. The formworks shall also be properly stored to prevent theft. After using the formworks, they shall cleaned and stored properly waiting for reuse, leasing, sale, recycling or disposal.
The tolerances used shall vary from one structure or component of the building to another. The general tolerances that shall be used in this project are as follows: beams and columns: 6mm less and +12mm more, depth: ±0.05d (where d is depth specified), footing span: -12mm less and +50mm more, cross sectional dimensions: -5mm less and +10mm more, departure of points from their positions: 10mm, and deviation of points from their intended levels: ±10mm. Other tolerances shall be used as directed by the engineer.
Quality of materials
All scaffolds and formworks shall be inspected by the concrete construction and supervising engineers before, during and after the concrete has been cast. The engineers shall inspect the process of erecting and removing the removal, and also during curing period when the formwork shall still be in place. The progress inspections shall be mandatory and will aim at ensuring that the formworks are rigid and properly secured so as to prevent defects and quality decline of the concrete structures being built. The engineers shall prepare reports during each inspection. If any deficiencies are identified, appropriate corrective actions shall be taken.
Quality of steel
Reinforcement steel used in this project shall be of good quality and sourced from reputable suppliers who have been certified by Australian Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steels (ACRS). The reinforcement shall have a minimum yield strength value of 500 MPa. Samples of the reinforcements shall be tested to confirm their properties such as ductility, strength (tensile and yield strength), elongation, weight, etc. The key tests to be performed are tensile test and rebend test. The dimensions of the steel reinforcements shall vary depending on the structure being built.
Bending tolerances shall vary depending on the sizes of steel reinforcement bars. But the typical bending tolerance for various bar sizes that will be used in this project shall be not more than 10% of the reinforcement’s nominal size. Nevertheless the following bending tolerances shall be applied for the various lengths of reinforcement bars: <10m: ±5mm, 10m – 20m: -10 less and +5 more, and >20m: -25mm less and +5mm more.
The steel reinforcements shall be tied together in bundles using soft pliable wires and loaded in trucks or trailers for cartage to site. Very long reinforcement bars shall be bent. During transportation, all the bars shall be properly secured in the truck or trailer to avoid injuries or fines.
Once delivered on site, the reinforcement shall be cleaned and tags attacked on each stockpile. The reinforcement bars shall then be arranged on a raised non-metallic platform (preferably wooden pallets) inside the storage facility. After stockpiling the bars, a thick protective sheet shall be used to cover them then the edges and corners of the sheet shall be secured using cinder blocks. These reinforcement bars shall be stored in an area that facilitates easy access. The stockpiles shall be kept in an orderly manner with straight bars being stored by lengths and sizes for quick and easy identification.
Reinforcement used in this project shall meet all the requirements in AS/NZS 4671-2000: steel reinforcing materials.
After cutting and bending the reinforcement bars accurately and accordingly, the bars shall be installed in their respective positions as per the specifications in technical drawings. Installation shall start by checking the specified concrete cover and the positioning of the bars. Various bar supports shall then be placed at different positions then each reinforcement bar shall be positioned in its respective position on top of the bar supports. Wires shall be used to tie the rebars together to hold then in place. Personnel working on installation of steel reinforcement bars shall wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.
Sequence of installation and stripping
The concrete cover for the steel reinforcement shall vary depending on the structure and the engineer will provide the exact values in contract documents. However, the typical concrete cover to be used in this project is 20mm.
All activities related to steel reinforcement bars shall be inspected progressively by the engineers. The engineers shall inspect the bars during delivery, storage and installation. This will aim at preventing any activity that may decrease the quality of the reinforcement bars.
Quality of materials
All materials used for concrete production (including cement, aggregates and water) shall be obtained from approved sources. Each supplier of these materials shall provide their certification. When these materials arrive on site, they shall be inspected by the site engineer and manager before they accept them and sign the delivery forms. This is to ensure that the materials meet the required quality standards. These material shall be stored in designated storage areas that protect them from quality deterioration.
Concrete mix designs used shall be ones that meet the Australian Standards and will be inspected by the engineer for acceptance and concurrence.
The concrete plant used shall meet all the requirements including size, calibration and operation. The plant shall be inspected frequently by the engineer to ensure that it is in proper working condition.
Produced concrete shall be sampled randomly and tested on field to ensure that it meets the minimum quality standards, including workability, strength, etc. A well-equipped field laboratory shall be set up for this purpose.
After preparing the concrete, it shall be poured and placed as soon as possible to prevent it from hardening and quality deterioration.
Concrete shall only be placed after the formwork has been inspected and approved by the engineer. The concrete shall be poured to the top edge of the formwork. As the concrete is poured, equipment such as rakes and shovels shall be used for moving the concrete to ensure that no air pockets or voids remain in the concrete. Concrete placement shall be done under supervision of site engineer.
After placing the concrete into formworks, is top shall be screeded using a large, flat wood or metal board. This will help in compacting and consolidating concrete, and also start the leveling and smoothing of concrete’s top. After screeding, the following processes shall follow: bull floating, jointing, floating and steel trowelling. To produce a dense, hard and smooth surface, these processes shall be done using appropriate tools and under supervision of the engineer.
Placement and finishing of concrete shall be followed by curing for 28 days. An appropriate chemical compound (in liquid form) that is used for curing and sealing shall be applied on the finished concrete immediately. Thereafter, the concrete shall be cured using an appropriate method recommended by the engineer. This may include: using water (ponding, immersion, fogging or wet covering), plastic membranes (plastic sheeting or curing compounds that form membranes), and curing compound (spraying or applying).
There shall be some concrete tolerances in form of quantity or quality variation. The quantity of tolerance will mainly depend on the kind of concrete structure, such as foundation, slab, column, etc. Nevertheless, the following tolerances shall apply in measuring equipment precision for concrete batch plant: aggregates – ±3%, cement – ±2%, water – ±3%, and admixture – ±3%. Otherwise, the contractor shall use tolerances specified in the contract documents or as directed by the engineer.
Storage on site
All persons involved in any concrete work shall be technical and qualified personnel who are certified to perform the respective activities. The engineer shall have the right to demand proof of certification at any given time. The workers shall always be in the right personal protective equipment whenever on site.
Each activity associated with concrete job shall be taken seriously because it will affect the structural stability of the building. The job shall be done professionally and by qualified personnel. If non-compliance is identified, parties involved shall be informed and the engineer will recommend corrective actions to be taken. The engineer shall follow up the corrective actions to ensure that they are fully implemented. Investigations shall also be carried out to identify the root cause of non-compliance. If non-compliance is found to have been done deliberately, stern actions shall be taken against the perpetrators.
When doing this job, several records shall be maintained. These include: contract agreement, works diary, measurement books, test results records, works passing records, cement record, record for sample approvals, rejected and accepted materials records, records of non-compliance, records of deviations, changes and agreements, records of corrective actions, work orders record, time & progress charts, accidents and injuries and inspection records, among others. In general, all records of materials approved, rejected and used, tests, inspections and other quality records shall be properly maintained so as to be used as support documents during subsequent inspections, meetings and preparation of reports. These records shall also indicate the type and number of observations that have been made during the concrete job, quantity and type of deficiencies identified, quantities that were rejected and accepted, and type of corrective actions that were taken.
Different persons shall be responsible for various activities at varied stages of the job. The client shall be responsible for ensuring that necessary resources, information and collaboration are provided. Contractors shall be responsible for ensuring that activities are performed in accordance with contract documents and agreement. Suppliers shall be responsible for delivering materials and equipment on time and in the right quality and quantity. Technicians and specialists shall be responsible for ensuring that equipment are in the right working conditions and that all concrete works are done in accordance with Australian Standards. Workers shall be responsible for ensuring good workmanship. Engineers shall be responsible for ensuring that all activities done on site are inspected, approved or disapproved and properly documented.
What work did you do?
Where did you source your materials?
What quality tests did you perform on the materials?
What test results did you get and were they approved by the engineer?
Is the work you are doing fully in compliance with contract specifications and agreement?
Has any non-compliance incident been identified in your work?
What corrective actions have been taken so far?
How many inspections have been done on your work?
What records have you maintained?
Are you working within stipulated time and budget?
The most common problems that are encountered at different stages of concrete trade include: delivery of poor quality of materials, improper formwork and reinforcement installation techniques or process, lack of qualified personnel, late delivery of materials, improper storage of materials, material wastage, delivery of incomplete or wrong materials, improper concrete placement and curing, improper formwork removal methods, lack of progressive supervision, lack of necessary equipment, ineffective communication and coordination, and conflicts. These problems shall be prevented using the following control and hold points: sourcing materials from reputable suppliers, using appropriate formwork and reinforcement installation techniques, employing qualified personnel, procuring materials on time and communicating with suppliers regularly to ensure timely delivery, creating suitable storage facilities for materials, ensuring appropriate allocation and use of materials, ensuring that the right type and quantity of materials are ordered, using suitable methods for producing, placing and curing concrete, using appropriate techniques to remove formwork, ensuring that engineers inspect ongoing concrete works progressively, ensuring that workers have the right equipment to use, facilitating effective communication and coordination among project team members, and establishing quick and effective conflict resolution strategies.
Claim of implementing these controls shall mainly be justified by completing the work in accordance with contract documents and agreement. Therefore key evidences shall include completing stipulated work precisely, quickly, within budget with minimal non-compliance incidences, and without injuries or any major problems.
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