Article #203 Auditing the Process for Selecting the Design Consultant on Capital Projects Delivery

One of the common practices for capital project owners, in the public and private sectors, is to outsource the design development scope of work to a qualified design consultant also known as Architect/Engineer (A/E). The design development scope of work will usually include concept design (unless this was carried out by another Architect), schematic design, design development, construction documents, and sometimes site supervision. Usually, design consultants will be invited to submit their prequalification for the project owner to shortlist those to be invited to bid for the design development scope of work.

The book by Abdul Razzak Rumane (2019) Quality Auditing in Construction Projects, published by Routledge, UK details quality audit skills and processes for the capital project delivery including those for the design consultant selection. The audit checklists included in the book detail the audit methodologies for the assessment of the selection of designers. For example, the book detailed the quality audit process for the bidding and tendering process to select the designer (A/E) to design the construction project. The main objectives of performing this quality audit are to;

  1. Evaluate and assess process compliance with the organizational strategic policies and procedure
  2. Assess conformance to QMS and processes meet established quality system requirements
  3. Verify that all the major activities adequately performed and managed
  4. Examine that key risk factors are analyzed and managed to meet business requirements
  5. Check proper functioning and implementation of the project management system

Using Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb not only enables the project owner to manage all processes that need to be performed during the capital project delivery life cycle stages but also performs the quality audit needed to ensure conformance to the Quality Management System (QMS). One of the required documents to perform the quality audit are the checklists that will be used for each processor group of interrelated processes. For example, for the process of selecting the design consultant, a checklist will be created using PMWeb custom form builder. The checklist will have two sections. The first is the items to be assessed while the second is for the interview questions. For the questions section, the auditor needs to confirm whether the item needed to be performed was carried out or not by responding Yes or No and providing comments, if any. For the interview section, for each pre-defined question, there will be a field to capture the response and another field for comments, if any.

The attachment tab for the quality audit checklist will be used to attach all supportive documents for the audit which should be uploaded and stored in the relevant QMS Audit folder in the PMWeb document management repository. In addition, links to related PMWeb records as well as imported MS Outlook emails will be added.

The quality audit checklist form workflow will ensure that the form is reviewed and approved by the right project team members. The workflow will identify all needed steps, the duration for each step, responsibility for each step, actions that can be taken for each step, and the sequence for performing those steps. PMWeb also allows adding conditions to the workflow steps to incorporate the approval authority levels.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value over the US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and information systems featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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