Why I Hate Corrective Actions And Why You Should Avoid Raising Them


CAR is a well known abbreviation to everyone who works in a Quality- related role across all industries (and not only in construction).

For those who are not familiar with the term, CAR stands for Corrective Action Reports.

Corrective Actions are probably representing the absolute essence of Quality Management and Lean techniques:

you should provide a solution that will eliminate the root cause of the problem and it will not only just provide a correction.

ISO:9001 standard clearly demands that a Corrective Action is always applied to nonconformities.

But how are Corrective Action Reports being treated in construction industry today?

It’s not a secret that raising an NCR is almost like a taboo nowadays and it could even initiate endless arguments and discussions.


Simply because people don’t like them!

Who likes to be judged anyways? 

So, what happens instead?

We all agree to rename some NCRs as CARs.

And then everyone is happy…As simple as that!

Sakichi Toyoda was not joking at all…

Raising CARs instead of NCRs is a common practice in construction industry and even a common practice for professional third party auditors who visit construction projects and companies.

Is that really helping the organization or it’s just something we do as quality professionals in order to avoid the confrontation with the management and the auditees?

So, apart from following up the NCRs, we also have to follow up the CARs and if they are closed or not.

Don’t get me wrong: the corrective actions need to be recorded and obviously taken.

But what’s the point of raising CARs instead of NCRs?

What’s the point of treating Corrective Action Reports as Minor NCRs?

Whenever there is a Corrective Action somewhere, there must be a nonconformity as well!

Raising CARs can be used to hid real issues andd problem in an organisation just because we don’t want to “see ourselves” in the mirror and face off the real problems.

The CAR should always be raised in order to close out the nonconformity and it shouldn’t be treated as a light NCR.

Blame culture and NCR-phobia is an unnessecary disease within construction industry (and probably in other industries as well but I can’t say anything about other industries…)  and unfortunately it will take a lot of effort to be abolished as a culture (if ever).

What Can You Do In Order To Avoid The NCR-Phobia?

Training, quality toolbox talks to raise awareness, face to face discussions, workshops, quality campaigns and continuous battles on the field to convince people that is not a bad thing.

People are afraid the things that they don’t know.

It’s in our hands to change these perceptions and put things at the right perspective.

Even if we are talking about stubborn colleagues or narrow minded bosses (not uncommon in construction industry).

What do you think…?

  • Luis Miguel Aleixo

    People don’t hate Corrective Actions, people don’t like corrective actions if they perceive these don’t add any value to the process in question. Then if this is the case, people needs to understand that it is in their hands to change the process so that it will be relevant to what they do. Those that like to hide their incompetence by orchestrating campaigns against processes that are in place to improve the performance of the organization, either they make an effort to understand this, either they need to be in positions where they are irrelevant to the ongoing processes.

  • Waggler

    NCRs are meant to be used only to control nonconforming product. Costly product nonconformities may result in a CAR to remove the root causes from the system.

    Auditors may issue Corrective Action Requests (note that CARs are Requests not Reports) to address system and process nonconformities.

    The nature and evidence of these product, process and system nonconformities is agreed with the person or persons responsible at the time of issue.

    The only bad nonconformity is the one you do not know about.

  • Mohammed Misbahuddin Asif

    I personally feel people in construction industry focus more on fast track sequence wherein when it comes to schedule …Unfortunately Quality is compromised. Probably ending at the recieving end… leading to additional cost of non conformance. I would be more than happy if the CAR could replace NCR with actual implementation and results. However, if people do not like the term Non Conformance. It sounds more of self esteem and egoistic approach.

  • PIN

    that’s very true Mohammed.
    Unfortunately there is an NCR-phobia in the industry and it definitely has to do with the I-know-it-all attitude of many people in the industry…

  • PIN

    I am not sure if the Auditors should issue CARs.
    When there is something that needs to be corrected, that immediately means that there is something non-conforming. .
    But i fully agree that the worst nonconformity is the one that you don’t expose…

  • PIN

    That’s correct Luis.
    When i am saying that i hate Corrective Actions , I basically mean I hate them when they are raised instead of Nonconformities as minor NCRs.
    that is absolutely wrong.

  • gilbert

    Thank god! someone understands the purpose of these processes. We go further and discuss how preventitive action fit in and NCR dispositions: use as is / repair requiring customer approval….

  • PIN

    Do you agree that in many cases people raise CARs instead of NCRs to manipulate the stats?

  • gilbert

    Maybe. for some reason people think that one is more severe than the other. not sure though that it is done intentionaly to “manipulate stats”.
    NCR as Waggler states is for product nonconformances. CAR / PAR is for system. System issues include: Audit, NCR trend, Employee Suggestion, Major NCR or customer satisfaction- that is it!
    There should never be one for one NCR / CAR…
    The purpose is key to understanding how all these documents work together…

  • gilbert

    please read this old MIL-STD spec on nonconformance and Corrective Action – not sure why things have degraded to this extent over the years– i think we should go back to the source : https://www.expresscorp.com/media/pdf/specs/MIL-STD-1520C.pdf

  • PIN

    I don’t think that NCR is only for the product. This is nowhere written to be honest and it’s a wrong interpretation in my opinion.

  • PIN

    That’s a great read Gilbert!
    Clear definitions that are no different than the ones on the latest ISO 9001 standards.
    I don’t think there is any argument on the terminology.
    It’s the implementation that complicates hinga.
    And in most cases it’s senior management who don’t understand peoper quality management and its benefits for the company.
    That’s how we got here…

  • gilbert

    note that a product is a service in a service organization… therefore NCR is only for Product! Anyone out there agree?

  • PIN

    I agree on that. No argument!
    But if an internal process is not followed then that is going to be an NCR as well even if it is bot actually affecting the product directly.
    Hope we agree on that…

  • gilbert

    Ha Management! then we need to educate management- dificult job. As long as these processes are not used correctly the stats are meaningless.

  • gilbert

    no, the minute we have process not followed we are looking at a CAR. This is a system issue and the process needs to be inforced or revised.