Quality management of components fabricated offsite

The construction strategy put in place by the project consists largely of fabricating  components offsite for subsequent delivery to the site for installation. Each of these steps is framed by very stringent technical requirements for quality and durability, and a rigorous quality management system.

On a project of the size of the new Champlain Bridge, some fabrication and construction activities will inevitably encounter technical challenges that in some cases will lead to nonconformities. The contract between SSL and Infrastructure Canada governs the identification and tracking of these, until their resolution. When an irregularity is raised, the only focus is: correct the situation so that the permanent works are in conformity.

As of the end of November 2017, here are the figures regarding the notices of non-compliance since the beginning of the project :

  • Nearly 3,000 notices of non-compliance were reported for all fabrication and construction activities.
  • Nearly 2,500 notices of non-compliance are specific to the new bridge, of which 74% have been resolved.
  • Nearly 500 notices of non-compliance are specific to the highway portion of the project, of which 72% have been resolved.
  • Nearly 1,500 notices of non-compliance were reported at the plants, and 79% of these were resolved.

Quality management is particularly important at the offsite fabrication stage. For the steel suppliers, there are several levels of quality control in each of the plants around the world.

  • All project steel suppliers have a contractual obligation to obtain certification from the Canadian Welding Bureau.
  • All plants are subject to various controls (Non-Destructive Testing) conducted by external laboratories (under the responsibility of Infrastructure Canada, the Independent Engineer and SSL).
  • Each steel component fabrication plant has at least one SSL representative on site.
  • A final validation of the documentation attesting the condition of the components before their delivery is carried out by a quality representative of the suppliers and by an SSL representative.
  • If corrections need to be made, they are identified and communicated to the teams.
  • A decision is then made to repair the component at the plant, or to send it directly to Montreal to correct on site.

Nonconformities are part of the fabrication process. We have thousands of components manufactured in different plants and on the complete lot, there may be some that present technical challenges or nonconformities. The resolution and processing of these are an integral part of the process of continuous improvement of the quality of our methods and processes. Once the components have been corrected, they comply with the technical requirements set out in the project agreement. No permanently installed components are defective.