Quality Management System Framework for Construction Companies Adopting ISO 9001

General Introduction


The construction industry in Saudi Arabia is the largest and fastest-growing market in the Gulf region (Samargandi et al., 2013). Its organisational culture, labour and material supply chain, business strategies, and management skills are different from other parts of the globe. For example, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has a strong economic standing, which leads its government to take the opportunity to spend money on many public-funded infrastructure projects. The KSA has experienced a construction boom with over 5,200 ongoing public infrastructure projects having a total value equal to US$819 billion (Argaam, 2021). However, Saudi Arabia failed to make real progress in achieving good management and organisational performance as most projects are experiencing delays and cost overruns (Abdellatif and Alshibani, 2019; Mahamid, 2013; Mosley and Bubshait, 2016). A proper QMS development and its practice throughout the project’s life-cycle and its associated organisations are essential to overcome these poor project delivery performances.


Accordingly, Al-Otaibi et al. (2015) discovered that Saudi Arabian construction firms’ performances could be promoted over their counter companies by effectively practising the Total Quality Management (TQM) system. In particular, the TQM has a strong positive correlation improving construction quality culture, which is a critical issue to the project owners. Mazher et al. (2015) studied the effectiveness of TQM in the Saudi construction industry considering four dimensions, such as quality control, management, assurance, and inspection. They applied regression analysis and found quality management and assurance have strong positive significance to the project quality assurance. Aichouni et al. (2014) conducted an empirical study on the adaptation challenges of some already developed quality management systems in the Saudi construction industry. They discovered that organisational culture is the main barrier to implement those tools and techniques in this region. In a further study in Saudi Arabia, Abazid and Gökçekuş (2019) discovered that organisational culture, higher authorities’ willingness to adapt and customize the TQM system, reliability and tangibility dimensions are the main problems in implementing a quality management system. Previous research in other countries also identified that specific company culture, business performance, strategy to quality control, country’s development policy, etc., are distinct and directly linked to the QMS of a company or organization (Bhatia and Awasthi, 2018; Fundin et al., 2018). Thus, a country or company-specific QMS development and practice is a critical need. However, no study in the KSA proposed any QMS model, which can readily be adopted or accommodated local construction issues and culture in construction quality management.

As construction projects usually involve large quantities of resources and many dynamic processes, achieving high quality is end-product-based and depends on managing interrelated organisational processes (Masuin et al., 2020). Among many factors, information system management, quality of reporting documents, recording of quality-related data like inspection, identified issues, and collaboration among the stakeholders to resolve the issues ensuring

intended quality control are significant to develop and practice standard QMS for an organization (Lee et al., 2020; Ma et al., 2018). The mere existence of information management and quality documentation does not necessarily reflect the presence of deep-rooted operational practices and procedures needed for ensuring the ultimate delivery of a well-operated Quality Management System (QMS). Some human factors such as level of learning, building dynamic capability, knowledge integration with a flexible strategy to a product or service are also significant to practice QMS throughout the production supply chain (Gutierrez-Gutierrez et al., 2018). These particular issues, i.e., the company’s culture and strategies to quality assurance, information documentation and management, and human factors in QMS, did not discover any previous study in the KSA. Thus, this paper aims to develop the Quality Management System (QMS) for construction companies in the KSA. In recent years, many researchers have focused on developing and adopting company-based QMS systems using the SERVIQUAL model, TQM, and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) tools (Bhatia and Awasthi, 2018). Towards developing QMS for the KSA construction industry, this study conducted a structured focus group interview with the experts of specific construction companies, followed by two case studies to develop company-specific QMS and its implementation guidelines based on ISO tools

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