The dynamism of the markets and the demanding requirements of the different actors in the production chain pose to this strategic sector the need to permanently adopt these international standards of efficiency, safety and environmental management. That’s where ISO standards come in handy.
Quality management is one of the fundamental pillars of business competitiveness, specially to face an increasingly dynamic and demanding environment characterized by constant pressure to meet deadlines and constant changes in market requirements.
This complex challenge has led to the need to standardize, worldwide, the quality and efficiency requirements required for any company that aspires to position itself in a competitive position.
This scenario allowed the consolidation of an effective set of measurement tools, known as “ISO standards”, which allows the quality management of any organization to be clearly and precisely quantified.
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In this way, based on the guidelines established by each of the existing ISO standards (defined and updated by the “International Standardization Organization”), it is necessary that companies meet certain parameters of work, hygiene, sustainability, efficiency and safety, among other critical variables for its performance.
This provides, both suppliers and end customers, the absolute certainty that the company or organization that has ISO certifications meets the quality standards directly related to any of the mentioned areas.
From a technical point of view, ISO standards are aimed at ordering the management of a company in the different areas that are part of its daily work. To fulfill this function, they are made up of various standards and guides related to specific management systems and tools. These can be applied to any type of organization within the economic, industrial and productive ecosystem.
Although they are voluntary, the high international competitiveness, accentuated by the globalizing processes of the world economy, as well as by the growing power of consumers, has led to such standards obtaining wide international recognition and acceptance. This situation has allowed them to position themselves as the most accepted standard in practically all markets.
In this way, companies or organizations that today have an ISO certification, due to their productive quality, energy efficiency or environmental management, have a transcendental competitive advantage over those that do not have such support.
Importance for the construction sector
Construction is not the exemption for this process. Furthermore, today it is essential that any of its actors have the respective ISO quality certifications that are required on their sector, since it is one of the most important in the world economy. Not only because of its contribution to urban and road development, but also because it constitutes one of the largest sources of worldwide employment.
Therefore, it is essential that construction companies lead their development within the parameters demarcated by ISO standards. Only in this way will they meet the demanding quality certifications required to position themselves competitively in a market that poses new and demanding requirements every day.
These objectives not only imply deepening typical aspects of their work, such as the quality of inputs and raw materials, preparation of the workforce, and the levels of safety or efficiency in production processes, but also other areas of the current social environment, as efficient use of natural resources, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.
Considering that construction brings together various fields of activity, including multiple suppliers of products and services, its quality management takes on special multidisciplinary relevance.
This complexity translates into the need to regulate various aspects related to quality management. This implies, in turn, considerably expanding the range of application of ISO standards, with the objective of guaranteeing the efficiency of all the processes that are part of their daily work.
Among these, the following subjects can be highlighted:
Construction is a sector very susceptible to being regulated by new national and international environmental regulations, since its activities can easily translate into over-exploitation of natural resources, and increase in levels of environmental pollution. In the same way, they can also have a negative impact on other related factors, such as waste management and the use of hazardous materials, among others.
Investigation and development
Construction is, at the same time, a sector in continuous growth and experimentation. For this reason, it must be permanently regulated in everything area related, for example, to innovation strategies, development of smart buildings and new use of materials.
Safety is also of vital importance in a strategic sector such as construction. This is because, due to its nature, it is always prone to suffer a high rate of accident and even mortality among its workforce. Consequently, this scenario demands the correct application of ISO standards specifically related to this matter.
Specific ISO standards for the construction sector
From these considerations already exposed, it is possible to establish that the main ISO standards that must be applied in the construction sector are the following:
The ISO 9001 standard is of vital importance in this, and in other sectors, since it is in charge of guaranteeing the quality of the production process and the final satisfaction of the client, as well as of other strategic members of the production chain, such as: suppliers, distributors, supervisors and workers, among others.
This standard regulates all procedures related to safety at work and the prevention of risks and / or accidents at workplace. A fundamental task for this sector, since it has been subject to risk levels much higher than those present in other productive activities. In this context, elements such as: worker safety, transport of materials, use of equipment such as harnesses, helmets and other protection elements, implementation of special measures, and regulation of electrical networks, among others, are specifically regulated.
The strong process of incorporating productive and industrial activities into the new circular economy model requires that all companies belonging to the construction sector must comply with the environmental measures detailed in this standard. Especially if they intend to maintain their position in a market that is increasingly controlled by “ethical” and environmentally responsible consumers.
In this specific area, aspects such as: waste management, CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, use of non-polluting materials, renewable energy sources, materials reuse or recycling policies, and efficient use of raw materials, among others, are regulated.
This particular standard guarantees full accessibility, without restrictions or discrimination, to any type of construction, building and facility. Therefore, it regulates areas such as the construction of ramps for people with disabilities, special signs, accesses, facilities, forklifts or mandatory elevators.
Construction must continually experiment with the search for new materials and technological or design innovations that guarantee greater efficiency in the production process. Therefore, it is natural that the sector is also regulated by this standard, which manages everything related to R + D + I processes (Research, Development and Innovation).
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