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Minding your QCs.

AS A SECURITY MANAGER, YOU are directly responsible for quality control (QC). When you hire an architect and engineering firm to design a security system, you should insist that a QC program be established by specification and that the program be responsive to each phase of the installation.

The heart of any QC program is documentation. Start with the QC plan itself. Review it, and look for items spelled out in the specifications. In a good QC plan, all information is documented and must be filed for future reference. In addition, correspondence is tracked, using some type of transmittal and logging technique, and daily logs are kept, delineating those vents that have even the smallest impact on the completion of the project.

A sound QC plan outlines the review of submittal of the required deliverables, from shop drawings to manufacturer's technical data. This review of submittal data becomes important when equipment arrives at the installation site, for it is at this point that you find out if what was promised is actually delivered.

The rationale behind successful QC projects is that it is not only people watching people, but also people inspecting documentation to a microscopic degree. Besides being clear and complete, important documents must be both traceable and retrievable - a fact that becomes apparent when you are ready to take possession of the system.

The inspector staff is the backbone of any QC organization, providing assistance, advice, and direction. They are highly specialized individuals who are usually jacks-of-all trades and masters of some. The on-site inspector is the walking specification and should have references at his or her fingertips. A well-organized inspector staff ensures that the installation is done right and within schedule.

Organizing an effective QC team is not easy. It takes dedication on the part of all concerned and the selection of the right people for the right job. The on-site presence of principals is a necessity that cannot be overemphasized.

Quality control should be managed by an individual who has been selected for a specific, unique position. The quality control manager position has a great deal of responsibility, and this individual must have a direct link to upper management. The QC manager cannot be expected to report to a construction manager or field superintendent and properly execute his or her duties.

In the construction documentation, spell out exactly what is required of the QC staff, including that the QC manager report directly to senior management. Once the QC chain of command has been established (see the accompanying chart), a well-structured plan can be promulgated.

When developing a QC plan, use common sense. For example, don't have people inspect their own work. Develop a system of checks and balances everyone can live with. Wrap these checks and balances around the required QC functions.

Everything should be inspected. Using the divisions of contract specifications (such as concrete, welding, earthwork, electrical, plumbing, structural, etc.), formalize an effort that overlooks nothing. Developing individual checklists for the field installation inspections is just the beginning of the reporting process.

Also, keep in mind testing must be witnessed. Focus attention on the factory testing of procured materials, the off-site integration of any system prior to shipment to the site, as well as field installation and acceptance testing.

Because testing procedures are critical, they should be approved before testing begins. Test instruments are always a concern. Instruments should be called in for the specification, along with proof that they work properly.

An accurate record of calibration of all test instruments is a good example of the kinds of files you should request from the QC staff. Easily attainable from a local calibration laboratory, certificates of calibration accompany all calibrated test instruments used for the installation.

An amazing array of test instruments is available to guarantee proper installations-equipment you won't find at home hanging on your pegboard. Even more amazing is that calibration labs not only know what the instrument is but also can articulate its calibration.

A properly organized QC plan will lead the installation of a security system, not follow it. Proper planning of QC procedures benefits everyone during the installation phase of a project. Discrepancies will surface early enough to be corrected instead of being covered up with paperwork.

Most of the items mentioned should be spelled out in the construction documentation provided by the architect and engineering firm on contract. Actual requirements for quality control can only be decided by you and your company. The questions you have to ask yourself are how much you are willing to pay and how much you are willing to risk having an inadequate system or one that simply doesn't work.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:architecture and security; quality control
Author:Sutton, John D.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Apr 1, 1990
Words:776
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