Extension of product nonconformances - Construction project

#1
Hello,

I work in construction project quality with various contracts being undertaken in parallel. Inevitably, NCR’s are raised and captured for elements of the works which are not in accordance with the contract.

My question is that whilst I’d like to ensure NCR’s are closed in a timely manner, I’d like to develop some criteria for the extension of NCR’s for valid reasons. Any ideas on which criteria could be used to ensure contracts do not push their NCR’s to the very end whilst adding an element of pragmatism to the target date?
 
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Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#2
Put it in the contract. Contract clauses can state that no progress will be recognized for nonconforming work, that failure to correct nonconforming work authorizes owner to withhold payment, and that owner can have someone else correct the work and backcharge. All of that is pretty good motivation, and if in the contract, you’ll get no argument later.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
whilst I’d like to ensure NCR’s are closed in a timely manner, I’d like to develop some criteria for the extension of NCR’s for valid reasons.
As a reality check: When there is a nonconformance, there is a "standard" path to take to address it and eventually close it out. There typically is not, however, a specific time to close a nonconformance through a corrective action. There are exceptions such as a registrar requiring a nonconformance identified during a registration audit be corrected in a specific time frame, and there are some customer specific requirements, but remember the reality: Each nonconformance is different. Some can be corrected within hours. Others may require months for an effective corrective action to be implemented. And there are those which can only be addressed by putting in (for example) an inspection to prevent "escape" (in the case of products) because the cost (etc.) to actually prevent a recurrence is simply cost prohibitive.

Without knowing what specific type of nonconformance(s) you may want to extend the time to correct it is difficult to discuss here. Assuming you know specific situations in which you may want to extend time to respond, @Pancho 's response is one way to address your situation.

Interesting discussions here:

KPI for time to close NCs (Nonconformances)
Do nonconformances always result in corrective action
Recurring Nonconformance - Missing Deadline for Closing a Corrective Action
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#4
We separate NCRs from Corrective Action Requests. In construction, clients are not so often interested in the corrective action, but they are always very much interested in the correction/containment. I could be wrong, but I'd think that's the part of the NC handling that the OP is most interested in. And corrections should not take long.

Of course, for our own improvement, the CAR and subsequent CA are the way to go and indeed those may take very long.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Before removing the root causes from the system we have to disposition the nonconforming product, usually in one of four ways:

1. Use as is (a design change requiring designer approval)
2. Repair (a design change requiring designer approval)
3. Rework to the original specification
4. Replace

I believe our OP is asking about the time to disposition.

Depending of the scope of work, options 1 and 2 may be out of the contractor’s control.
 
#6
Put it in the contract. Contract clauses can state that no progress will be recognized for nonconforming work, that failure to correct nonconforming work authorizes owner to withhold payment, and that owner can have someone else correct the work and backcharge. All of that is pretty good motivation, and if in the contract, you’ll get no argument later.
Yes, that’s fine but the contract is in place and now very unlikely to include this as a requirement going forward.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Yes, that’s fine but the contract is in place and now very unlikely to include this as a requirement going forward.
Can you then add the contractor’s documented procedure for closing product nonconformities to the list of submittals that must be submitted to your organization for approval?
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#8
Yes, that’s fine but the contract is in place and now very unlikely to include this as a requirement going forward.
Though your position is not the best without the contractual language suggested, NC product is still non-conforming and your contractor is not keeping up their side of the bargain. You still can nudge them by (1) appealing to their professionalism and goodwill (always preferable), or (2) reminding them that product that is "not in accordance with the contract" cannot be recognized as progress, and you're in your right to delay payment or to backcharge for corrections.

By the way, the quoted comment itself is a search for containment. It makes the point that owners are not so much interested in corrective actions, but in correction/containment. In contrast to manufacturing, construction is more often a one-off relationship. However, do take corrective action by modifying your contracting process so that this issue does not recur in your future projects.

I’d like to develop some criteria for the extension of NCR’s for valid reasons
Valid reasons for NCRs are only that the work does not meet either contract terms or applicable law. If the work meets such requirements, or, worse, if the requirements are ambiguous or insufficient, then the contractor may have an argument that their work is good. You may need to issue a change order instead, or brace for a dispute.
 
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