The QAE should conduct an incidental or unscheduled inspection on a contractor's work. This surveillance method is not an accurate way to decide a contractor's complete performance and should not be the primary means for evaluating the contract. This method is useful in finding out if a contractor is having difticulties. The method is also useful to help in predicting or validating any future problem that was possibly overlooked during the scheduled OIC meetings. An example of this type of problem is material deliveries or schedule problems.
The key to obtaining satisfactory performance from contractors is good government surveillance of a contractor's performance. Haphazard surveillance by untrained personnel is an invitation to poor performance. Historically, some work is more prone to poor quality, such as concrete, heating, and air conditioning, or similar work, that is usually hidden from view. Most government contractors are honest and do not cut corners, but the few who do require monitoring and correcting deficiencies immediately. The QAE is the primary frontline person in contract management and serves as the eyes and ears of the contract manager and the OIC.
The two most important requirements that a QAE must have, to do a good job, are the contract requirements and the contractor's work schedule. The first requirement dictates exactly what work the contractor is to do. It also dictates what the QAE is to evaluate. The work schedule is necessary so the QAE will know precisely when the work is occurring. Obtain this information before the contractor begins any work. Also, the contract manager and QAE can include any modifications to the QA plan and schedule since development was before the awarding of the contract.
After development of QA plans and schedules, normally they remain unaltered for the life of the contract. Conduct contract surveillance strictly according to the QA plan and schedule. Note any contractor discrepancies. The QAE must fully document them and alert the contract manager. The QAE or contract manager will notify the contractor to correct the discrepancies.
At the end of each surveillance period (usually 1 month each), analyze all documented surveillance results to decide the contractor's complete level of performance. There are several courses of action available if the contractor's performance is below acceptable standards. These courses of action are as follows:
1. Making monetary deductions against the contractor for all observed and documented cases of noncompliance. This can be done despite the contractor's overall performance.
2. Issuing a verbal or written warning to the contractor.
3. Issuing a contract discrepancy report (CDR).
4. Issuance of a show cause letter.
The OIC may take one of the above actions. However, "termination by default" must be coordinated with the commander of the engineering field division. It is important that the QAE provides and maintains good documentation despite the course of action taken to correct poor contract performance.
The development of an effective evaluation schedule should be of the highest priority to the QAE. The evaluation schedule permits the QAE to plot where he or she should be on any given day of the week. By developing a balanced inspection schedule, the QAE can plan and execute the QA work load. This enables the QAE to make the most efficient use of available time. The surveillance schedule serves the following purposes:
1. It optimizes time.
2. It provides for management control.
3. Combining the schedule with evaluation reports provides an accurate audit.
Contract surveillance must cover all hours of operation. Schedule random observations at night, on weekends, and on holidays when services are done during these periods. Monitor areas on a set schedule including these in the monthly schedule. This monthly schedule will always show where and what the QAE is monitoring.
Figure 8-2 shows an example of a QAE's schedule. This example shows only a 6-day schedule. The QAE makes up enough sheets to cover the entire month. After preparing the schedule, mark it "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" and never show it to the contractor.Continue Reading