Construction is dynamic with weather, site conditions, personnel, clients and companies changing all of the time. The people in the field are expected to juggle a lot of things: quality, safety, relationships, regulations and so much more.

There are literally thousands of things that a good construction team needs to consider every day.

Here is an example:

Imagine you are asked to review Structural Clay Tile Masonry on the jobsite. Some of the information can be found in the specifications, some by reviewing the manufacturer’s website, but most of the information is developed tribally through experience.

Here are some of the questions that need to be reviewed during a quality audit:

Are application records maintained in accordance with specifications?

Are block walls meeting the requirements for either running bond or stacked bond?

Are bucks secured, plumb or level per specifications?

Are cleanouts installed per specification?

Are control joints in the correct location?

Are course patterns specified?

Are critical tolerances well defined for all equipment and assembly?

Are doorframes that are scheduled to be set in masonry going to be delivered in a timely fashion to avoid masonry rework?

Are embedded items installed per design?

Are expansion and control joints located and installed as specified?

Are flashing and weep holes clearly detailed in the design?

Are framed openings, anchored and filled with mortar?

Are grout height limitations being adhered to?

Are hollow metal frames being filled solid, or per specification?

Are indicated patterns per specification?

Are installed anchors and ties of the type of material and sizes required by specifications? Are anchors secured, plumb or level per specifications?

Are joint size, type, tooling method and equipment meeting requirements?

Are joints caulked per specifications?

Are joints tooled in such a manner as to provide the desired surface?

Are lifts of grout being poured in a timely sequence per specification?

Are materials marked properly and stored properly with test and/or certification information per specifications?

Are methods and equipment suitable to produce approved mix?

Are methods of cleaning per specification? Pay special attention to droppings and splatters on finished surfaces.

Are mortar applications to materials per specification? Observations should be around full head and bed joints, shoving, and buttering.

Are mortar joints tooled or flushed per specification?

Are opening sizes coordinated with appropriate schedules?

Are openings for follow-up trades verified for proper sizing?

Are other embedded items secured, plumb or level and otherwise installed per specifications?

Are penetrations identified?

Are pipes, conduits, sleeves, and boxes located, secured, protected, insulations and spaced per specification?

Are preventions being taken to prevent any staining of the installed masonry? Such as mud stain on exterior walls from splashing, window and door frames, etc.

Are proper shapes of masonry or brick being used for sills, caps and other special corner or ledge finishes?

Are provisions for flashing, cutouts and later installation of other items made?

Are receiving procedures in place to ascertain that materials are per specification?

Are recessed items ordered and received?

Are shelf angles – lintels – straps, etc., ordered per requirements?

Are structural members to receive masonry located, supported and anchored and have suitable attachments per specification?

Are supports secured, plumb or level and otherwise installed per specifications?

Are the control joints the proper type?

Are the leave out sections for equipment installation identified?

Are the masonry-framed openings, frames ordered?

Are the mock-up panels and material samples approved?

Are the proper acid cleaners being used to clean block, brick or mortar?

Are the special seismic requirements installed per specification?

Are tolerances established for field adjustments?

Are unit rates for extra blockwork established?

Are wall prisms made at the proper frequency and stored, delivered and tested per specification?

Are walls sound proof, if required?

Are weep holes installed per specification?

Are Wythes or spaces of sizes required kept free of excess droppings?

Do all masonry materials have the specified certifications?

Do dimensions allow for the thickness of surface applied finishes?

Do fire and smoke walls detail grout packing of gaps at the corrugated deck or non-regular surfaces?

Do material deliveries match masonry schedule?

Does masonry layout fit structural framing?

Does masonry wall provide required compressive strengths in 28 days or less?

Does the bending of rebar require approvals?

Does the foundation need waterproofing because it is damp?

Does the project have approved panels and/or material samples?

Has all cavity drainage material been installed per specification?

Has all special block been identified and received per specification?

Has all special material required by seismic requirements been ordered and available?

Has blockwork been tested for moisture prior to painting?

Has cavity wall insulation been verified to specifications?

Has Duro wall been ordered and responsible party assigned, per specification?

Has installer for Duro wall been identified, if required?

Has lateral reinforcing requirement been approved for block walls that are more than one block wide?

Has mortar color been approved?

Has mortar color been checked after mixing and before installation?

Has reinforcement been checked for proper materials and installation?

Has the bond pattern been approved? (Stacked or running)

Has the party been identified that will demolish, replace and patch existing walls?

Has the responsibility for rubbing block for proper finish been assigned?

Have all foundation been checked to be within tolerances before installation begins?

Have all lintel locations been identified?

Have all specific block densities been met, if required?

Have masonry units been checked for a proper grade?

Have masonry units been checked for defect tolerance?

Have masonry units been checked for proper color?

Have masonry units been checked for proper size?

Have masonry units been checked for proper texture?

Have mockups been built per engineered drawings? The alternative is to use in place mockups.

Have sample panels been installed and approved?

Have the block walls that require fire rating been identified?

Have the suppliers that are responsible for supplying lintels, straps, etc. been identified?

If rated blocks are required have they been inspected?

If rated blocks are required, are they in stock?

If required, has responsible party been assigned the installation of block insulation?

Is 3rd party agency approval required before grouting?

Is 3rd party agency inspection required?

Is a story pole required?

Is absolute acceptance criteria developed for chipped blocks?

Is all flashing installed per specification?

Is all pointing and patching complete?

Is ambient temperature documented within specifications?

Is backfilling being done only after proper curing as specified?

Is block painted?

Is block work plumb and true?

Is cleanliness per specification?

Is flashing material verified for proper size and shape?

Is grouting mix tested and approved prior to pouring and certificates are available per specification?

Is job mixed grout measured by approved method?

Is layout of work, coursing, and dimensions per specification?

Is masonry mortar, cement, aggregate, lime, water per specification?

Is masonry work scheduled early enough in the schedule to allow other trades to begin work sooner?

Is methodology approved for connected block walls to structural steel?

Is mortar application using the correct material, have full head and bed joints, shoving and buttering per specification?

Is mortar mixed per specification?

Is parging or treatment of backs of walls, which are to receive backfill, performed per specification?

Is pointing, replacement of defective units, and repair of other defects promptly performed using approved corrective process?

Is reinforcement properly dowelled and tied prior to further block installation?

Is replacement of defective units being completed in a timely fashion?

Is sample wall needed, prior to block approval?

Is saturation of blocks properly performed as specified?

Is the cleaning of the installed masonry per specification?

Is the cutting of the units per specification?

Is the fill requirement approved?

Is the layout of work, coursing, and dimensions per specification?

Is the required testing of mortar, mixes, and ingredients performed prior to block being laid?

Is the responsibility for sealing the rated openings assigned?

Is the schedule for testing and inspection arranged for before installation?

Is the spacing of the expansion joints identified?

Is there a cold weather procedure developed and implemented?

Is there a hot weather procedure developed and implemented?

Is visual appearance of mortar joints per specification?

Is wall alignment verified?

Is water protection used per specification?

Is waterproofing of walls performed per specification?

Is work methodology for obtaining critical tolerances understood and approved?

Prior to grout/concrete pour, are wythes, reinforcement, etc., cleaned per specification and is pour card signed off and approved?

Is the material marked and/or properly identified and stored, and tests and/or certifications complete and meet requirements?

And this is just one category, Structural Clay Tile Masonry. Now imagine that you have over 30 trades on a jobsite and quality documentation is required on thousands of data points everyday.

How does a project’s owner know that everything has been checked when current project management systems don’t track this information? Many of the issues that arise from inadequate quality is found after the warranty period expires leaving it up to the owners to analyze the problem and pay for the remediation.

With 20% of the construction industry expected to retire in the next 5 years, where will millennials learn these quality best practices? Who will ensure that they are adequately trained on the jobsite?

The CCS knowledge database has now captured over 240,000 of these best practices in over 2,000 CSI categories to assist people with documenting quality for every trade in the field. And, as the industry develops new research everyday, our knowledge grows with it.

It’s time we really appreciated the work that construction workers do everyday. Slow down around construction sites- they have a lot of their mind.

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