Lately, we’ve been looking at factors of safety and quality and examining how the two are often closely related. Inaccurate assessments of an existing structure and inconsistent quality control are two more factors that have a bearing on quality. Differing opinions, either on the job that’s to be performed or the quality of the work that’s been done, can affect the overall outcome of the project. As in the past, we’ll see that these two issues also have an effect on safety.

Initial Assessment

A good initial assessment of a structure’s coatings is crucial for directing the next steps of the project. This process should answer questions concerning the current state of the system, and address other factors such as containment, safety and environmental considerations. When these issues are inadequately or improperly considered, the length, quality and integrity of the job are likely to be affected. Not to mention the safety of those performing it.

The project specifications that follow from the initial assessment should account for staging, containment, surface preparation, application, cleanup and quality control documentation. Inaccurate initial assessments can lead to unforeseen variables in the scope of work. Reducing the unknowns going into the project will increase the chances of finishing on time and on budget. It will also help to ensure that the quality of the project is up to the owner’s expectations and that the safety of those performing the job is considered.

Inconsistent Inspection

Specifications that follow from accurate initial assessments aren’t enough if inspectors don’t ensure they’re followed. Once again, irregularities in the inspection process will have an effect on the job’s outcome.

It’s up to the inspector to ensure that the work is being done in accordance with the project’s specifications and that the work activities are documented. Differences in opinion have the potential to arise between inspector and applicator in regards to whether specifications are being met. It is essential that those involved in resolving these differences are qualified to do so. Inspectors are directed to contact contractor supervisors if they feel that applicators are not living up to the standards laid out in the project’s specifications.

Applicators also must take care to focus on performing their work to comply with specifications, not simply to satisfy the inspector. Objective documentation tools are making progress in removing subjective aspects of the inspection process. Transcription errors and miscopied readings from electronic gauges are increasingly being eliminated by these digital tools, leading to a more objective inspection process.

With accurate initial assessments and consistent, objective inspection, coatings projects have a higher likelihood of adhering to project specifications. This in turn leads to a high quality project that’s completed by the deadline, with no surprises. 

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Keys to quality: Coating specification and inspection