The effectiveness of quality assurance systems towards delivering low-cost housing in Cape Town South Africa
The study investigates the effectiveness of quality assurance systems in the delivery of low-cost houses in Cape Town South Africa. As an endeavor to deliver adequate social housing in Cape Town‟s disadvantaged and underdeveloped communities, the study is aimed at ensuring that National Housing Code as set by Department of Human Settlement concerning the overall resultant quality of houses constructed is adhered to. There are several studies on resultant quality and quality assurance of low-cost houses (LCH) in the entire country, of which skill inadequacy has been highlighted as the major concern. This is because of the sluggish improvement in quality of the low-cost houses constructed. However, skill inadequacy of construction workers has been reported in developed and developing countries, and consequently poorly impacts on the delivery of low-cost house construction projects. The human resource (labour) is the significant tool to adequate use of materials and plant for the achievement of the project objectives. The study identified six objectives directed towards establishing an instrument that will ensure appropriate application of quality assurance systems in the delivery of low-cost house construction, hence improving the resultant quality of low-cost houses being constructed. The first objective identifies the existence, prevalence and depth of the poor resultant quality in low-cost housing areas; the second objective identifies the quality assurance systems in current use in construction of low-cost housing; the third objective evaluates the extent to which the existing quality assurance systems used assist in current low-cost housing construction; the fourth objective evaluates the effectiveness of quality assurance systems in current use; and fifth objective determines whether the poor resultant quality is the consequence of poor application of the system or the lack of knowledge from the professionals involved. Finally, the last objective is to establish the mechanism to ensure the effective use of quality assurance systems in the construction of low-cost houses. The research adopted a mixed methodological approach, with a use of quantitative questionnaires completed by beneficiaries and structured qualitative interviews conducted with the building inspectors, contractor and designer. The research questionnaires were designed to understand the perceptions of beneficiaries on the day to day structural performance of their houses. The structured interviews were designed to understand the knowledge of building inspectors, the contractor and the designer about the quality assurance systems and their applications in the delivery of low-cost houses, In the main study, one hundred (100) questionnaires were administered and hand- delivered to all three areas identified as Delft, Khayelitsha and Langa. Seventy three (73) questionnaires (73%) were duly completed, returned and analysed with Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22. The key findings included the use of unskilled workmanship, limited knowledge of quality assurance systems by the building inspector, contractor and designer, and inappropriate procurement systems as well as benchmarking used. This thesis is both theoretical and practical research and is limited to books relevant to quality assurance and quality of low-cost houses and data retrieved from interviews and questionnaire surveys. The selection criteria for inspectors should incorporate skill in quality assurance. The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) criteria for appointment of contractors to carry on works should not be just a saying but also be put into practice. It should also at least refer to three previous completed projects to ensure the profile of the contractor is in accordance with the statutory requirements of NHBRC.
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