As mentioned in my previous post titled “Quality Control and Nonconformity”, confusion generally existing on this issue does not seem to do much with the definition of an NC but actually concerns with when to initiate an Nonconformity Notice (NCN). One can’t deny that there could be many Nonconformity (NC) in a construction project, going by it’s definition. However, all the NCs do not necessitate NCNs. This is where the confusion creeps in, that is, which NCs call for NCNs. Virtually, anything and everything found not conforming to stipulations during inspection are NCs. Does that mean one simply keeps initiating NCNs for all or most of them and create lot many paperwork ?
To cite a simple example, filling of earth in compacted layers in a foundation of a heavy structure or in the sub-grade of a road may be considered. Compaction density tests such as core cutter test, sand replacement test etc. are conducted in order to varify whether a compacted layer has met the specified density criteria or not. Say, a compacted layer has been offered for inspection and upon testing few tests have been found to have failed. These are instances of NCs by definition. One may argue whether to generate NCNs for such cases or not.
In case of the above example, while one argument may favour raising NCNs and record the same in black and white, a counter argument simply may suggest resolution of the same through on-the-spot verbal communication ensuring recompaction, retesting and acceptance. That counter argument may insist that since these are cases of “work in progress” or “still developing situation” where identification and resolution of NCs is a continuous process occuring every hour or second hour and hence, the same should be sorted out through verbal instructions without bringing in unnecessary paperwork. The same argument could further stress on initiating NCNs for such NCs only in those cases where verbal instruction are ignored and subsequent stage, in this example a subsequent layer, is commenced without approval.
Another example can be a nonconforming valve in a piping network. In that scenario, a valve has been idenfied which is neither of approved make nor does it fulfil all specified requirements. Upon identification the contractor quickly agrees to resolve the issue within hours and does so. It clearly is a case of NC, but whether is worth raising an NCN is not that clear though. The inspecting person might love to record his finding and his efficiency through an NCN while other argument might consider it absolutely unnecessary as the issue has already been sorted out verbally and instantly.
Such examples prompt me to sum it up as follows: An NCN is to be generated when all of the following conditions are oblidged — a) The executing agency has offered the work for inspection to a competent inspection agency such as a consultant, a third party or the client itself as and how required. Unless offered, an argument can always dismiss it’s necessity in a “still developing situation”. b) The NC identified is a major or vital one. Any construction project would involve plenty of trifle NCs which, even if ignored, would hardly make any difference. c) The situation involving the NC is not exactly a cakewalk and hence can’t be set right instantly. This could necessitate recording the status in black & white as otherwise the same could be overlooked later. d) The situation involving the NC may be a simple one, yet can’t be overlooked and the contractor has refused to resolve it.
But then, there always could be space for further argument, counter argument, interpretation etc. and those would be welcomed.