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Managing defects: the challenges

The challenge of better defect management

The construction industry now has the tools and data to anticipate faults before they may even occur. Particularly, the detection of clashes is now an integral part of BIM models, offering more perspective on the impacts and risks associated with construction sites. However, there are many stakeholders involved in construction projects. Remaining in control of non-conformities, faults or defects is a complex task for all project teams. Despite their complexity to manage, late detection of faults can have serious consequences: 

  • A first fault can lead to a cascade effect, ultimately leading the project to poor results 
  • Defects can have an impact on the operation of the building and jeopardise health and safety 
  • Defects can also be the cause of costly and time-consuming litigation 

Challenges also come from all defects being unique, without a proper process in place: 

  • A defect may not be noticed if the inspections carried out are insufficient or incomplete 
  • The lack of documentation of the tasks performed can hide possible problems, or prevent the identification of the sources of risk 
  • It can be difficult to define the responsibility of each person involved: certain tasks are sometimes not carried out because they have not been assigned, thereby creating defects during the work. 

The issue of task management is essential to better control project success, but defects can also arise even if with well-structured processes. The objective is then to know how to better identify these faults and to resolve them quickly to limit their impacts. 

How to improve the defect management processes?

Poorly structured defect tracking (most often based on manual lists and Excel documents) negatively impacts business efficiency and relationships. In addition to the risk of error and poor visibility into the progress of each patch, this type of method results in extremely long processing times. 

With this in mind, a task management tool could be the solution needed to reduce admin, decrease human error and ensure defects cause minimal impact to project times and budgets. 

Certain essential points should govern the choice of an efficient task management tool: 

Good documentation of faults 

  • Fill in each entry verbatim or using documents, plans and photos to improve communication with other stakeholders and fault analysis 

Better assign fault resolution 

  • Define a framework for processing, indicating a person in charge and setting deadlines for resolution 

Track task status and support stakeholders 

  • Set up alerts, notifications and clearly validate the resolution of problems 

Facilitate the field inspection 

  • Provide a space on a mobile terminal that allows non-conformities to be dealt with on-site 

Link any identified defect to a specific model or object 

  • To support the sharing of information around BIM, defects must be able to be attributed to an object, and therefore be shared effectively between the parties for swift resolution 

Thinkproject's defect management tool

Thinkproject aims to deal with non-defects earlier and in a more qualitative, rapid and traceable manner. The defect management process is based in the Common Data Environment (CDE), which lists exhaustive and current information. The CDE works in conjunction with the BIM model for concrete fault management, by model or by object. The objective of the task management tool is also to adapt the resolution of defects to the organisation of the site, so that this resolution does not slow down the progress of the project. 

The core functions of the module include: 

  • Customisable workflows, to adapt the treatment of non-conformities to the structure of the project 
  • Automatic creation of reminders and notifications, as well as validation procedures for achievements 
  • Field monitoring via the mobile application and complete documentation of faults with handheld devices 
  • Quantified indicators available in clear reports to understand the nature of the defects and their impact 

The functionalities of the defect management module allow you to take a closer look at the sources of errors and the risks associated with the project. More quickly located and better documented, non-conformities are dealt with efficiently and their impact on the rest of the project is greatly reduced. 

Further reading

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