Relevance of Quality Assurance (QA) systems to civil and environmental engineering. Need, Benefits, Common standards.

Essay by t59University, Master'sD, April 2004

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Quality engineering is supposed to be responsible for determining and planning the work of the rest of the department. Quality engineers should collaborate with design engineering concerning a new product's performance characteristics and meet with manufacturing engineers concerning the way the product will be manufactured. In that way quality engineers can determine how the product should be inspected, tested, and controlled during its life both in and outside the company. Detailing these requirements, training people to accomplish them, and measuring results are what quality engineering is all about.

Thus we shall take an interest in the relevance of Quality Assurance (QA) systems especially to civil and environmental engineering.

First we shall define the need and what quality assurance can achieve, then analyse its benefits and look at how widely with which common standards it is used.

Quality arises from a basic need namely the consumer's one that can be expressed or not.

Therefore Philip B. Crosby wants to define quality as "conformance to requirements". Service providers especially need it, but also organisations which are often membership based. They need to make sure that what they do for their service users and for their membership is up to a good standard. Up to standard can mean many different things however, from meeting basic legal minimum standards to the standards expected by service users, to the standards that you are funded to achieve. But it must be remembered that product safety is not a legal problem, it is an ethical one. As an example relating to civil engineering the case study of the Water of Marseille Company's laboratory is significant. It sets about all the drinking, waste and industrial water analysis in Southern France. It advises on purification and water treatment. Even if "quality is free" as Crosby said, this company has...