Stephen Kooiman, Mechanical Team Leader at Prism Engineering, shares his thoughts on how company-wide quality management helps ensure quality is consistently applied across all Prism projects in the 2020 March/April issue of the INNOVATION magazine produced by Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia.
FIRMS EMBRACE QUALITY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS
Alison MacLeod, P.Eng., of MacLeod Nine Consultants, Ltd.—a structural engineering consulting firm in the heart of picturesque Rossland, BC—says the quality management systems that her firm committed to through Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Organization Quality Management (OQM) program is a way for her to raise the quality bar and help ensure she’s always delivering the best quality engineering for her clients.
“Engineering is all about planning, diligence, and documentation. [Quality standards] improves efficiency, and it’s good for projects. But it’s also good for my own confidence as an owner of a small company, that my firm meets or exceeds professional obligations,” she said.
The OQM Program is a voluntary certification program created by Engineers and Geoscientists BC that enables companies to demonstrate that they meet the quality management standards expected for professional engineers and geoscientists. Engineers and Geoscientists BC recently certified its 400th firm. To MacLeod, certification is assurance that she’s following top quality management practices, “I just I want to deliver the best quality product to my clients,” she says.
The voluntary OQM program for firms is serving as excellent groundwork for the quality management pillar of the forthcoming mandatory regulation of firms, as outlined in the new Professional Governance Act. Engineers and Geoscientists BC formed a task force on the regulation of firms, which proposed a model that includes three pillars: quality management, ethics, and professional development. The current OQM requirements will form the quality management pillar.
The current target date for implementation of this portion of the new Act is the summer of 2021.
To Stephen Kooiman, P.Eng., Principal and Mechanical Team Leader at Prism Engineering—a Burnaby-based firm that specializes in energy management, electrical and mechanical engineering, utility monitoring and sustainability consulting—OQM-style quality management is about instilling confidence in the quality of Prism’s work. “It’s like a commitment to owners that we’re serious about doing a good job,” he said. “We’re abiding by Engineers and Geoscientists BC standards, and not doing shortcuts based on price or speed.”
Kooiman says that company-wide quality management helps ensure quality is consistently applied across Prism projects. “Before, it was up to individual engineers,” he said, adding that consistency in this area means that staff can quickly onboard to almost any project at any time. “It definitely standardized [quality] across the company. Formalizing this was the biggest benefit, so everyone has a clear understanding, how we interpret the standards and what the expectation is.”
For more information on the upcoming requirements for the regulation of firms, visit egbc.ca/regulation-of-firms.