Executive Summary

The Quality Assurance and Quality Control Guidelines were first published in 1992 and this constitutes the first update to that document. The Quality Assurance and Quality Control Guidelines are for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grantees that are undertaking design, construction, or equipment acquisition programs. FTA requires grantees undertaking major capital programs to prepare a Project Management Plan (PMP) that includes a Quality Plan. Even for those projects not considered major, a Quality Plan can be a useful management tool for guiding activities to ensure project quality.

For grantees undertaking multiple projects, the development of a project Quality Plan should be an outgrowth of a functioning quality management system. A comprehensive quality management system is comprised of a written quality policy, a written plan, written procedures, a management that supports and takes responsibility for quality, and personnel who undertake quality assurance and quality control activities.

Chapter 1 provides an introduction to quality, including guideline objectives, definitions, and a brief overview of various quality topics and QA/QC in the context of project and construction management. Also in Chapter 1 are descriptions of what makes up an effective Quality Management System, perspectives on quality from the standpoint of the service provider and user, a description of the inter-relationships and balances among quality, costs and schedules, an overview of the barriers to QA/QC and suggested resolutions, and a description of how to use these guidelines.

Chapter 2 provides a description of the elements of a quality management system. The elements should be considered in the development of detailed quality procedures. The fifteen quality elements are as follows:

  1. Management Responsibility
  2. Documented Quality Management System
  3. Design Control
  4. Document Control
  5. Purchasing
  6. Product Identification and Traceability
  7. Process Control
  8. Inspection and Testing
  9. Inspection, Measuring, and Test Equipment
  10. Inspection and Test Status
  11. Nonconformance
  12. Corrective Action
  13. Quality Records
  14. Quality Audits
  15. Training.

Organization of the quality functions for a project should be tailored to the grantee's organizational needs and management structure.

Chapter 3 discusses alternative approaches that depend on the type of capital project, the size of the project, and the use of consultants for project management. Whatever the approach, the grantee has overall responsibility for an effective quality management system and needs to maintain some oversight responsibility for the project quality. Also covered in Chapter 3 is an overview of the use of independent assurance programs, QA/QC in design-build projects, information on test lab accreditation, a description of the value engineering process, and a section on software quality assurance.

Chapter 4 discusses the development of a project Quality Plan. This is an evolutionary process, during which different levels of detail are appropriate at the different project phases. The Quality Plan should be developed as part of the Project Management Plan at the end of the project planning phase, and should be modified as required to provide adequate project quality guidance during design, procurement, and construction. The authority and responsibilities of each component of the project organization need to be clearly defined, extending from grantee senior management to consultants, suppliers, and contractors. The Quality Plan needs to provide details of the quality management system requirements to be applied during the design process, including any quality assurance requirements to be carried out by design consultants. The Quality Plan should define the quality management system requirements to be carried out by construction contractors, construction management consultants (CMC), and equipment manufacturers. The Quality Plan should describe the quality oversight activities (e.g., reviewing, monitoring, auditing, etc.) to be undertaken by the grantee to assure that the plan is followed and effective.

Following Chapter 4 are the appendices that include selections from transit quality programs, selected documents from Long Island Railroad’s Quality Management System, and seven case studies. These appendices are provided as references.