TQM in construction
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Total Quality Management-TQM in Construction Industry

Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Admin

Total quality management (TQM) is a management idea aimed at increasing an organization’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality service to its consumers. This in-depth article emphasizes the TQM in the construction industry.


Total Quality Management (TQM) is a concept that strives to continually improve an organization’s ability to attain quality and deliver the intended output to the client. In the construction industry, total quality management ensures both quality and productivity. It’s essentially a way of thinking about the concept of goal-setting, visualization, and achievement.

The well-known saying, “Prevention is better than cure,” is applicable to building project quality control. Correcting a defect is far more expensive and time-consuming than preventing it.

What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management technique based on the idea that all “employees continuously improve their ability to provide on-demand products and services that customers will find of particular value,” according to the definitive text, Total Quality: A User’s Guide for Implementation.

The term “Total Quality Management” encapsulates the concept: of “Total Quality Management.” The term “total” suggests that all personnel in the business are expected to improve operations, from development to production to fulfillment.

Furthermore, “management” implies that this process should be a concentrated effort. To actively manage product and service quality on a continual basis, leadership should offer financing, training, manpower, and well-defined goals.

Importance of TQM in Construction Projects

The construction sector differs from manufacturing in a way that makes TQM implementation more difficult. Workmanship faults, time, and cost overruns are all issues that plague the construction industry.


Quality-control and quality-assurance systems that are inadequate or non-existent might allow costly errors in design and contract papers to escape unnoticed. Basically, TQM for the construction industry can be evolute in 4 phases which are as follows:

Fig.: Evolution of TQM

Inspection: – Aims to inspect, measure, and test one or more items. It is usually done by specialized staff and is not the duty of manufacturing workers. Products that do not meet the requirements are rejected or returned for improvement.

Quality Control: – It entails checking or evaluating a product against a requirement definition. Testing is the most common method for evaluating a product. QC is concerned with the work product; it measures the product, identifies flaws, and recommends changes.

Quality Assurance: – It entails the complete process development, monitoring, and improvement, as well as ensuring that the agreed-upon standards and procedures are adhered to throughout the life cycle. Its goal is to prevent product faults from occurring. Audits are important tools for monitoring processes.

Total quality management: – It can be defined as a management system for a customer-focused firm in which all employees are involved in continuous improvement. It integrates quality discipline into the organization’s culture and actions through strategy, data, effective communication, and participation of all levels of employees.

How is TQM implemented in construction?

Although delays and flaws are inherent in construction, far more so than in a more regulated manufacturing environment, the adoption of TQM necessitates a shift in employee mindset from monitoring to always seeking opportunities to improve.


TQM can be used in construction to ensure quality and productivity by approaching goal formulation, visualization, and achievement with an emphasis on innovation and new technology.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to TQM, there are a few common elements:

  • The consumer is the ultimate user, and he or she expects a high-quality product at a fair price.
  • Customer feedback should be analyzed and implemented as necessary.
  • Top managers should be visionary and committed in their leadership.
  • Employees who perform well should be praised and rewarded.
  • Employees’ skills should be updated on a regular basis through training.
  • Conflict should be avoided at all costs, and teams should work together to achieve a common goal.

The following are the basic phases in implementing a Total Quality Management System in the construction industry:

  • Obtain the client’s commitment to quality
  • Develop project quality assurance plans for all levels of work
  • Increase staff awareness, education, and attitude change
  • Develop a procedural approach to TQM
  • Begin the process of continuous improvement.
  • Use quality control circles and motivation programs to encourage employee participation and contribution.
  • Evaluate quality plans and track results.

For the implementation of TQM in the Construction industry, certain common tools and techniques are to be used are as follows:

Fig. Techniques in TQM

The application of TQM varies as per the organization and their projects but these 6 Cs are most important for the successful implementation of TQM.

Fig. 6 Cs of TQM

Best practices in quality management in the construction industry

A Quality Management Plan should outline the authority, strategies, tools, and procedures that are specific to ensuring project excellence, lowering costs, and eliminating unnecessary modifications and changes.

The PDCA concept is an important quality management paradigm in construction. Continuous improvement, entails planning, doing, checking, and acting.


TQM is a concept in which organizations, processes, and people are properly intertwined so that the right things are done at the right time. To increase quality, TQM emphasizes innovation and the application of new technology which consists of these elements:

  • Customer: He is a final who wants a good quality product at a minimal price
  • Leadership: To achieve final success higher authority should come with vision and commitment
  • Recognition & Rewards: Outstanding performance by employees should be awarded by special recognition
  • Education & Training: Training programs should be arranged for refreshing and enhancing the knowledge related to the TQM
  • Feedback Mechanism: The feedback received from the customer should be analyzed and corrective actions to be taken on the same.
  • Teamwork: As a team means ‘Together everyone achieves more’ should be kept in mind while working on each project.

Top 8 principles of TQM

Implementation and success will differ from one firm to the next, as with most management systems and practices. While no single strategy is universally accepted, the most popular TQM definition incorporates the following eight principles.


1. Customer Focus

  1. Customers will recognize they have spent their money on quality goods if your product meets demand and lasts as long as or longer than planned.
  2. Customers should be communicated with, satisfaction levels should be measured, and the results should be used to find methods to enhance operations.
  3. Increased likelihood of happy consumers telling others about your goods and services

2. Total Employee Commitment

  1. Employees must be well trained and provided with the resources they need to execute tasks in order to be dedicated to meeting deadlines.
  2. Encourage employees to look for new ways to learn and move into different roles in order to expand their knowledge, skill, and experience.
  3. This leads to individual and team problem-solving and process improvement innovation and creativity.

3. Process Approach

  1. Processes guarantee that the appropriate procedures are completed at the appropriate times in order to maintain consistency and speed up output.
  2. Use Total Quality Management tools like process flowcharts to create and demarcate clear roles and responsibilities so that everyone understands who is responsible for what at what times.
  3. Faster development and production cycles, lower costs, and more revenue are all benefits of the TQM process approach.

4. Integrated System

  1. Horizontal processes, which should be the center of Total Quality Management, should connect the many departments and functions.
  2. Make training available to employees who need to learn new processes or are looking for ways to develop their careers.
  3. Concentrate on quality to help your company succeed and meet or surpass client expectations.

5. Strategic & systematic approach

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describes this principle as:

“Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.”

A strategic and systematic approach helps to quickly identify, react, and fix process bottlenecks or breakdowns.

6. Continual improvement

  1. Optimal efficiency and perfect client happiness don’t happen overnight, therefore your company should be constantly looking for methods to enhance operations and adapt your products and services to changing customer needs.
  2. Implement policies that provide measurable targets for individuals, teams, and departments in terms of product, process, and system improvements.
  3. Improvement objectives that are strategically connected with the competencies and objectives of the company

7. Fact-based decision making

  1. Making well-informed selections allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your clients and market.
  2. Make decisions based on data-driven facts, as well as your own experience and instincts.
  3. This will enable you to assess and defend previous decisions using factual records.

8. Communications

  1. Everyone in your company should be aware of the plans, strategies, and procedures that will be employed to meet objectives.
  2. Establish a formal communication channel so that all employees are aware of updates, policy changes, and new processes.
  3. Employees are more motivated to attain goals because they are involved in the decision-making process.

Difference between traditional management and TQM

The following are the primary distinctions between TQM and traditional management systems:

– TQM is a process-oriented approach rather than a result-oriented one.

– Quality, flexibility and services take precedence over cost, technical efficiency, and partial production in TQM.

– Traditional management calls for a hierarchical and vertical organizational structure, whereas TQM advocates for a flatter structure.

– TQM considers the client to be the most important resource.

– TQM recognizes that profits come after quality, not the other way around.

– Commitment, collaboration, continuity, discussion, and conscience are all necessary qualities for a TQM leader.

What are the benefits of applying TQM on construction projects?

TQM can also be said to be a means of achieving excellence by companies around the world. The potential benefits of TQM implementation in construction projects:

  • More consumers who return
  • Rework is less, and employee satisfaction is higher.
  • Relationships with architects and engineers have improved.
  • Productivity gains
  • Claims have been reduced.
  • Employee turnover is lower.
  • Schedule performance has improved.
  • Relationship improvement
  • Prequalification gives you a better chance in the bidding process.
  • Change order has been reduced.
  • More repeat customers/higher customer satisfaction
  • More conformities were reduced.
  • Reduces resource waste, such as labor, materials, and money
  • Low-cost, low-quality goods
  • Gained a competitive advantage over rivals
  • Achievement of the company’s long-term strategic goals
  • Prequalification gives you a better chance in the bidding process.
  • Budgetary performance has improved.
  • Boosts market share
  • Better chances of gaining access to international markets for contractors.
  • Job satisfaction among employees has improved.
  • In the domestic market, you have a better chance of securing contracts.

Limitations/Barriers of applying TQM on construction projects

It must be noted that implementing TQM in a company will not produce immediate results; it will take time to adjust to the new setup and environment. TQM necessitates an organizational transformation that alters an organization’s culture, priorities, processes, and beliefs. Top management should get involved as well, and then aim to instill a sense of system importance in the staff.

Further, these are the barriers of TQM in the construction industry

  • a lack of support from upper management
  • Leadership from the top is lacking.
  • Process mapping and defining standard procedures are difficult.
  • Difficulty in implementing corrective and preventive measures
  • Using statistical quality control approaches in the construction process is difficult.
  • There is a scarcity of people who are qualified to apply quality management.
  • Ineffective teamwork and team-building skills
  • Difficulties in incorporating quality measures, which must be constantly reviewed, with the construction process.
  • The requirement for a skilled workforce
  • Difficulties in building a high-quality construction information system
  • Quantifying the cost of poor quality is difficult.
  • Paperwork has increased.
  • Finding workers who can claim to be specialists in both construction and quality control is difficult.
  • Employee training programs must be conducted on a regular basis.
  • The expense of establishing and implementing a quality management system is too expensive.
  • Quantifying the cost of quality is difficult.
  • The building industry and a standardized quality management system are incompatible.
  • The primary focus on the client
  • Planning that is well-developed
  • Schedules that are too constrained
  • Effects, as well as a well-established communication system
  • The nature of work is transient.
  • Subcontracting bids are chosen in a variety of ways.
  • All field operations are subjected to TQM.
  • TQM is regarded as irrelevant by field employees.
  • All levels of personnel receive training.
  • Field forces have a low degree of education.


It will take time to successfully adopt these Total Quality Management concepts. Because TQM frequently entails a significant culture shift, you may want to phase in these changes to reduce their impact.

Implementing TQM is one of the methods for detecting defects in the building sector. Construction firms demand practical guidance and assistance in adopting and executing quality-improvement programs. As a result of the industry’s intricate nature, the construction industry faces various challenges in achieving quality results.

Author Bio:

Ms. Bhagyashri Wani has done MTech in Construction Management and has 3 years of Industrial Construction Experience.

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