Assessment of ISO 9001 and TQM implementation

in Construction Projects



By Dr Lalamani Budeli

South Africa




The effects of a quality management system or its effectiveness towards projects and organizational performance have remained questionable in the minds of many engineering and project management professionals. The high cost of implementing the management system requires that the results bear fruit to the organization. An ISO 9001 accredited organization is expected to implement quality management system requirements for all its area of business including projects, facilities, people, training, services, and equipment.

This research focused on ISO 9001 used as a tool to continually improving engineering project deliverables performance (product) to streamline operations while reducing costs. Barriers to total quality management (TQM) implementation in projects were also evaluated. A case study, a survey questionnaire was divided into two categories: ISO 9001 implementation and barriers of TQM implementation. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how implementing ISO 9001 and TQM can address the project process continuous improvement, combining both a project-level and an organizational-level perspective as well as sustaining organizational continuous improvement of project management processes and capabilities.

Keywords: Project quality management, ISO 9001, total quality management (TQM)


Adams, McQueen & Seawright (1999-563) indicated that ISO 9001 family of standards has been developed to assist in all organizational sectors irrespective of size, type, and activity to implement and operate an effective project quality management system. Aarts & Vos (2001-181) said that the solicitation of quality international standards is beneficial to plant owners, service providers, regulators, and users. The standard is widely adopted to improve competitiveness around the world, but with mixed success according to Anderson & Sohal (1999-871). There is much criticism of ISO 9001 certification because it is not a risk-free undertaking and that it does not guarantee improved performance due to the high cost associated with its implementation, said Beaumont, Sohal & Terziovski (1997-8). Varies studies confirmed that ISO 9001 certification is too expensive, resource-consuming, time-consuming, neutral,  formalized and that cost far exceeds the benefits derived according to Brah, Wong, Madhu & Rao (2000-11).

On the other hand, organizations are increasingly dependent on each other for business, and standardization needs to meet the changing expectations of regulatory authorities, stakeholders, and society. Taylor (1995-41) assumed that the risks of doing wrong are high today requiring that the management system have to be carefully positioned according to international standards because customers and manufacturer distance has increased due to globalisations. Sun (2000-168) supposed that the project quality management system needs to be supported by the organization’s strategy, policies, and goals to enjoy more benefits from this certification. Zhang (2000-10) specified that quality may be considered as a strategic competitive tool, and organizations cannot afford to ignore the strategic implications of quality for their competitive position and that ISO 9001 has capabilities of generating a competitive advantage only if management is committed to program implementation from a strategic perspective. Easton& Jarrell (1998-258) proposed five ISO 9001 performance perspectives are financial, Customer perspective, process perspective, growth perspective, corporate mission perspective.

Singels, Rüel & Van der Water (2001-66) whispered that quality management is a philosophy of continuous organizational success through customer satisfaction, based on the participation of all employees in continuously improving processes, services, and products. It is also evident that willingness and the ability to change and to improve, based on innovation lessons learned and benchmarking, are necessary components within the quality management approach. Deming classifies 14 points summarising and operationalizing his philosophy (Known as Deming 14 points). Goetsch and Davis (2013-12)


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How to cite this paper: Budeli, L. (2020). Assessment of ISO 9001 and TQM implementation in Construction Projects; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue IX, September.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/pmwj97-Sep2020-Budeli-Assessment-of-ISO9001-and-TQM-in-construction-projects2.pdf



About the Author

Dr Lalamani Budeli

South Africa


Dr Lalamani Budeli obtained his degree as an Engineer in Electrical Engineering at the Vaal University (VUT), BSc honors in Engineering Technology Management at University of Pretoria (UP), Master in engineering development and Management at North West University (NWU), Master of business administration at Regent Business School (RBS) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Development and Management at North West University (NWU), Potchefstroom, South Africa. Currently, he is a managing director of BLIT, an engineering, research, and project management company based in South Africa.

His research interests include project portfolio management, agile project management, plant life cycle management, advanced systems analytics, project early warning system, and the use of artificial intelligence in project management. Currently, he is spending most of the time on research that is looking at the development of system and application that uses the latest technology like block chain, internet of things (IoT), Big data, and artificial intelligence. Lalamani Budeli can be contacted at budelil@blit.co.za.

To view other works by Dr. Budeli, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/lalamani-budeli/