Over the last few months, I have heard various experienced and knowledgeable experts state (emphatically no less) totally contradictory opinions regarding quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC), and commissioning. One considered commissioning as a portion, or subset, of an overarching QA/QC program. Another insisted that QA/QC is an embellished aspect of what we consider level-2 commissioning, i.e., construction progress inspections. Some believe QA/QC is the realm of the general contractor (GC) and others that true QA/QC must be performed independently, like by qualified commissioning agents. Most seem to agree on what independent, third-party commissioning entails, that it begins and ends with each project, and that it addresses the entire project from design, construction, testing, documentation, and training vs. just the construction phase. But there were many differing opinions as to whether commissioning is part of QA/QC or if QA/QC is part of commissioning.
I believe one source of confusion begins with combining QA/QC together as if they represent the same thing. They do not. In my opinion, QC is a tool, commissioning is a process for using the tool, and QA is a continuous process improvement program that can be implemented on a project-by-project basis through commissioning.