Quality Assurance Observation Certification “QAO Certified™”
“This Quality Assurance Observation Certification (QAOC) Program is a milestone for Old Republic Construction Program Group. We fully endorse and believe this will revolutionized the approach that is typically taken in a construction project. In the years to come we believe you’ll see the QAO Certification gain the same type of notoriety as a LEED Certification simply due to the fact that developers, contractors and insurers alike can all rest easy in knowing they won’t be paying out massive settlements for Construction Defect Claims.”
A “QAO Certified™” (Quality Assurance Observation Certification) award, is a designation issued to a project team by OAC Management Incorporated, which certifies that certain Program Requirements and protocols have been followed throughout the completion of a project. When a structure receives this designation it has achieved true “Sustainable Quality.” While green construction has recently gained popularity, we believe that a QAO program must be implemented to truly make a structure sustainable. Quality Assurance Observation is the act of verifying, at predetermined incremental stages, the condition of a particular scope of work, activity, task or assembly, meets and/or exceeds the distinctive characteristics, properties or attributes that have been specified and defined.
In order to achieve the designation of “Certified”, a project team must first be trained by OAC Management personnel on procedures required throughout the Quality Assurance Observation period. Once trained, the project team must then demonstrate the necessary skills in completing the protocols defined in the QAOC Program Requirements. Throughout the project OAC Management staff will evaluate that certain reports, matrices and checks have been completed and followed. Should deficiencies be identified, the project team is notified and corrections to those items found to be in non-compliance must be corrected.
Once the project is complete, OAC personnel then meets with the project team to “close-out” the certification process. This final review is used to determine that all project documentation in the QAOC Program Requirements is intact, properly filed and easily accessible to those deemed authorized.
In completing a Quality Assurance Observation Certification program, the owner, developer, contractor and insurer are assured a world class product that meets and/or exceeds the highest of industry standards for installation and that verifications have been performed throughout the life of the project.
This Quality Assurance Observation Certification program is recognized by Old Republic Construction Program Group, Inc. – the insurance company that underwrote The Ritz Carlton® Residences & Club at Vail.
 The QAOC Program Requirements for The Ritz Carlton® Residences & Club at Vail were conducted on the building envelope, waterproofing and interior demising walls only.
The Evolution of Quality Assurance Observation Certification
With what started out as a philosophy and theory 5 years ago, by one of the nation’s largest insurance underwriters for the construction industry, Old Republic Construction Program Group (ORCPG) set out to create a “Quality Control” program that would all but erase the skyrocketing trends of construction defect claims that has plagued their industry for decades. Eleven projects, five years and $3 Billion dollars later, they have finally reached their goal – a Quality Assurance Observation Certification program that they not only endorse but believe will rival the culturally popular LEED Certification.
Working closely with a Professional Owner’s Representation company that specializes in Project Management and Quality Assurance Observation, OAC Management Incorporated was brought in by ORCPG and Vail Resorts Development Company (VRDC) to help them define a set of QAO Program Requirements that would not only set them apart and keep them at the top of the resort industry, but would also capture the (3) most common construction defects that so often appear after a project is complete – water infiltration, sound mitigation and air infiltration. In successfully following a stringent set of reporting guidelines, inspections, matrices, verifications and photo documentation throughout the construction process, VRDC has taken steps to preserve the most important element that any company aspires for when reaching for greatness – and that is, Brand Preservation.
Now, after having met the expectations that were defined in the QAO Program Requirements, OAC Management Incorporated and Old Republic Construction Program Group are awarding Vail Resorts Development Company the first of its kind “Quality Assurance Observation Certification” on their most recently completed project, The Ritz Carlton Club & Residences.
You can achieve the highest level of certification offered by the United States Green Building Council (i.e. LEED); you can pass every inspection required under the International Building Code; you can get every Federal Tax credit offered by Energy Star; and you can pass every inspection required by third party and municipalities; and when your project is complete, you can still end up with a product that has major construction defects. With a Quality Assurance Observation Certification program, you won’t necessarily eliminate every potential problem, but you can be certain you will dramatically reduce the number of potential issues that you could otherwise have to face after the project is complete – thus eroding profits and damaging the brand that you have worked so hard to preserve.
“We have projects throughout the country and have dealt with every major QA/QC firm and really feel that the work performed by OAC Management on our three Vail projects is second to none”
– Richard Livermore
Executive Vice President
Old Republic CPG, Inc