Quality control of constructions: European trends and developments

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    Purpose: This paper aims to evaluate the quality control systems for constructions in seven countries in Europe with the purpose to trace innovative approaches and best practices that can serve as examples for other countries. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a series of research projects carried out over a number of years. The research results were updated in 2016 with a desktop research project in seven European countries. The results from this latest project form the heart of this paper. The information is organised into tables that describe and analyse the main features of the quality control systems of the countries (e.g. scope, focus and main characteristics of the procedures and quality demands on building professionals). Findings: Several similar trends can be recognised in the quality control systems of the various European Union (EU) countries. Quality control is getting more and more privatised and the control framework is setting checks and balances throughout the construction process. Other findings are that scope and focus of the statutory control is unbalanced. Within the control processes emphasis is put on the safety aspects of complex constructions. Far fewer demands are made on the quality of the builders. Re-orientation of the building regulatory framework seems to be needed. Research limitations/implications: The paper only focusses on European countries where private quality control is established and on selected topics. The findings are based on desktop research and not on the practical experiences of the stakeholders involved in the countries studied. Practical implications: The paper draws some important recommendations for policymakers in the building regulatory field. It suggests both an enhancement of the effectiveness of the quality control procedure as well as the commitment of builders to comply with the regulations. Social implications: The quality of constructions is essential for the wellbeing and safety of its users, its occupants or its visitors. This applies to the whole range of quality aspects: structural- and fire safety, health, sustainability and usability aspects. The analyses and recommendations of this paper aim to contribute to an improvement of the overall construction quality. Originality/value: The paper makes an original contribution to the (limited) literature that is available in this field. The results can be used to situate the quality control systems of each member state within the EU, to assess the main trends, and it can be used as a guide to develop strategic choices on possible improvements in each country.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-161
    JournalInternational Journal of Law in the Built Environment
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Building regulations
    • Construction quality
    • European Union
    • Privatisation
    • Quality control
    • Sustainability


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