Responsibility of the Owner

Where should ultimate responsibility for a project’s overal fail­ure be placed? This must fall on the shoulders of the owner who initiated and put together the financial outlays for the project’s work. Following this same line of thinking with regard to a proj­ect’s quality goals falling short — problems that range from poor quality final products to the project’s non-conformity with various required specifications — this, too must ultimately be the respon­sibility of the owner or owner’s representative, for having failed to communicate sufficiently or successfully the required specifications to those charged with executing the project. The TQM approach therefore mandates that the contractor gathers and maintains all data required for the project’s execution, and that the consultants’ office assembled by the owner has the responsibility to ensure that the contractor is thus equipped.

Figure (8.1) shows the relationship between owner, contractor, and consultant / engineer. Its lines of information exchange traffic clarify the principal complexity of such a triangular relationship, simultaneously illustrating how any breach in QA/QC by any one of the parties affects the other parties.

Based on the specifications, the contractor or manufacturer deter­mines the price and schedule based on the quality of the product itself. For them to achieve success on this front, however, it is in the first instance the responsibility of the owner to identify the required specifications of the project.

Figure 8.1 Relation between owner, contractor, and engineering company.

The selection of the contractor (i. e. the "manufacturer") is one of the most important and most serious responsibilities of the owner or representatives of the owner. The owner starts with selecting the Engineering Office. At the start of execution, the owner has to choose the contractor. Therefore, the owner or owner’s represen­tatives have a responsibility to gather enough information about the previous work experience of the engineering office and the contractor, and whether they had performed a similar project in the past. Reinforcing this responsibility is the simple fact that the owner is uniquely positioned in this triangular relationship to keep the full and actual financial situation of the project under constant review and ensure that the other two partner-groups are in a position to fulfill their obligations to the delivery of the project.