Quality control is a critical element in the design process. It is the difference between a smooth building process and one fraught with change orders and issues in the field. Recently, Ruhnau Clarke Architects celebrated a rare achievement- submitting a set of drawings to the Division of the State Architect (DSA) for review and receiving 0 comments. While it is unrealistic to expect a perfect set of drawings for every project, we strive to achieve the highest levels of quality control by  emphasizing people, process, and tools. With an integrated, collaborative team, a sound process and the tools to help merge the two elements efficiently, we are able to set a high standard for our projects, and ultimately, our clients. 

We sat down with Project Manager Jessica Morley  and drafters Iris Barrientos and Omar Alvarez to find out how their team was able to accomplish this rare achievement.

As a project manager, what are you particularly mindful of during the design process?

Jessica:  “ Before we (my team) starts a project, we discuss the project programmatically.  We print out the QAQC check list from the library drive tools for PMsand discuss what items logically pertain to the scope of work. From that point on we bring the QAQC check list to our weekly meeting and review them as we go. We discuss what the items on the list mean, not just check them off. We get into some pretty deep discussion on what ‘done' is.

We also use the DSA-3 form to avoid having our projects sent back from DSA at intake. That list is also a help to use in and ON-GOING basis rather than just at the end before submittal."

What tools are you utilizing to implement an effective Quality Control process within your team?


  • Quality Assurance / Quality Control Checklist
  • Ruhnau Clarke Architects Office Standards
  • Ruhnau Clarke Architects CAD Standards

"We create weekly Friday progress reports to submit to Jessica. These are also a great communication tool for team collaboration and are very useful in updating the Project Manager on the status of the project, the tasks that were accomplished during the past week, and any questions or concerns that are still lingering. "

Jessica:  "Right now we are going through a process in 3D software called Clash Detection. “Navisworks Manager” it is software that detects the intersection of any element that we draw with any other element in the model.

That means where anything collides, we can determine if it is supposed to collide or pass through or if it needs to be corrected, moved or resolved."

Iris:  "As a team, frequent and effective communication is essential. Whenever there is a question it is important to clarify and talk about it rather than doing the “go with the flow” approach. We discuss not only what needs to be done but why it is being done. This helps us have a better grasp on the projects we are working on."

This team demonstrates the importance of communication and thorough reviews. They use tools to help them be more efficient and visualize the project, but it is their collaborative nature and emphasis on understanding “why” that really helps them achieve a high level of quality control.