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Geosynthetics – QA vs QC

Online since 28.06.2017 • Filed under Professions - Construction Health & Safety • From Issue 21 page(s) 51
Geosynthetics – QA vs QC

Owners of facilities should be more involved in the quality control and quality assurance of geosynthetic installations.


It is a known fact that when a leak occurs in the geosynthetic liner system it is usually due to external factors and rarely because of poor workmanship of the installer. Therefore it is critical to have an independent person on site to prevent material damage, report if damage has occurred, and to resolve the problem and take preventive actions to ensure damage is limited. The best possible solution usually lies in employing a reliable independent third-party company who can be the eyes and ears during the installation process.


The differences between quality control and quality assurance is vast. Quality Assurance (QA) is a process-oriented exercise that ensures the installation of geosynthetic material is in line with the SANS 10409 national standard, manufacturers installation instructions, industry best practice and project specifications. Quality Control (QC) by comparison is a product oriented exercise and includes all the testing that must be carried out by the installer to ensure the quality of the seaming installation is correct.


Testing, is a product orientated process and thus falls in the QC domain. Testing for quality therefore is not assuring quality, it is controlling quality. In short: Quality Assurance makes sure you are doing the right things, the right way.

• Quality Control makes sure the results of what you’ve done are what you expected.


Independent third-party company should become the norm

An independent third-party company could be responsible for the quality assurance of the geosynthetic installation, also playing a vital role in different stages of a project.


 They can be involved when the project specification is compiled prior to tender, during the tender stage to assess the QA and QC processes and to be a communication channel between all the parties during construction; including owner, engineer, earthworks contractor and installer.


It is common practice in other industries to make use of an independent third-party company, but it is a new concept in the geosynthetic installation industry in South Africa and should become the norm for new installations to provide peace of mind to owners of facilities. NGQ Consulting is an independent third-party company specialising in quality assurance. The company offers vast experience in the geosynthetic installation process and a state-of-the-art software programme to co-capture QC information, providing the owner with a detailed project pack after completion.


NGQ Consulting

T +27 (0)79 875 5691




About the writer

The writer recently completed a Liner Integrity Survey Assessment (LISA), Construction QA/QC for Geosynthetic Installation, Construction QA/QC for Compaction Clay Liners and Geosynthetic Certification Institute Inspector Certification Programme course presented by the Texas Research Institute and is now certified by the Geosynthetic Institute as a Quality Assurance Inspector for Geosynthetic Material and compacted clay liners.

Issue 21

Issue 21

July 2017

This article was featured on page 51 of
To Build Magazine Issue 21.

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