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Last edited 11 Nov 2021
Failure modes and effect analysis (FMEA)
 What is FMEA and when is it used?
- When a process, product or service is being designed or redesigned
- When an existing process, product or service is being applied in a new way
- Before developing control plans for a new or modified process
- When improvement goals are planned for an existing process, product or service
- When analysing failures of an existing process, product or service
- Periodically throughout the life of the process, product or service.
 History of FMEA
FMEA was first used by the US navy in 1949 to understand and control the risks in their procedures, including operation of weapon systems. It was also used in the 1960’s for the Apollo missions and then from the 1970’s by the automotive industry.
It can be used by project teams to assess and control how a process or item can fail for example:
- Design – to check the feasibility of design prior to build
- Material – to ensure correct selection of material prior to build
- Construction – to understand risks in assembly prior to build
- Commissioning – to understand potential operational failures prior to use
- Changes to Plan – the potential risks resulting from having to change a process or an item
- Captures collective knowledge of team
- Improves quality, reliability and safety of the process
- Logical structured process identifying areas of concern
- Reduces development time and cost
- Quality led activity
Preparation for Workshop
Assembling the Team
Creating FMEA Template
 Consider potential failures (for each critical item / process list the potential points of failure)
Effect of failure
Cause of failure
 Assessment of failure
Risk Priority Number (RPN)
 Actions to be taken
- DFMEA – procedure used in engineering to explore the possibility of a design failing in a real world situation.
- PFMEA – procedure which focuses on the failures of a process
- FMECA – extension to FMEA which introduces an additional metric called criticality.
This article was originally written by Alan Grogan on behalf of the CQI Construction Special Interest Group, reviewed by members of the Competency Working Group and approved for publication by the Steering Committee on 1 May 2019.
--ConSIG CWG 20:27, 26 May 2019 (BST)
- Annex SL.
- Change control: a quality perspective.
- Cracking and building movement.
- Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis.
- How to write an inspection and test plan.
- Inspection and test plan.
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- Lifts and escalators: a quality perspective.
- Mobilisation to site: a quality perspective.
- Patent defects.
- Quality tools: fishbone diagram.
- Smarter systems predicting failure.
- Structural steelwork: a quality perspective.
- Why should quality be important to the construction industry?
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