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    Quality assurance in architecture: processes and not ‘tick boxing’

    Branko Miletic

    According to Crone architect Maria Guardala, quality assurance (QA) in the architectural process encourages designers and architects to consider design holistically, and ensure design criteria such as the vision of the project, client requirements, planning and statutory requirements have been met.

    This goes hand in hand in the delivery stage, where QA facilitates the management of a project, which ultimately leads to good quality outcomes for the building.

    “QA is ultimately about processes. Good sustainable design can be achieved with strong understanding of guidelines, checklists and a rigorous review process involving specialists in this field,” says Guardala.

    “Here at Crone, we go through this process and benchmark our projects against our own and exemplar ones in the industry.”

    Asked whether some architects under-estimate the importance of QA in a design process, Guardala says “Yes and no”.

    “I think at times, there is a misconception that QA is a ‘tick boxing’ exercise and is a separate process to what architects already do. Architects are already trained to have good processes in the way they design and document. Once architects begin to realise the added value from these processes, they then can take full advantage and improve the workflow,” she says.

    However, technology has become very much a ‘QA-enabler’ according to Guardala.

    “With various new software such as 3D information modelling coming out, we can definitely streamline certain processes and make them easier and more efficient. This applies to design, documentation and project management.”

    “The challenge then is not to rely on the software completely and ensure we are checking and validating the outputs,” she says.

    Asked what are the most important QA concepts that architects need to adhere to, Guardala says there are two major concepts that she thinks are important.

    “Talking to people is important, and don’t fear reviews. We are all human, we all make errors and miss things throughout a process. Therefore, it is important to get a fresh set of eyes to look at the work during various stages and assess if what we are doing is right. QA is not just about sitting in isolation, going through processes, and ticking checklists,” she says.

    “Talk to your colleagues, share knowledge and experiences and review each other’s work.” Guardala notes.

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