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Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide

5. Summary

  • Construction program management includes stewardship, oversight, leadership and technical support, and promotion of continuous quality improvement and new technologies.
  • Construction program oversight has evolved from a project-specific to program-level emphasis. In the process, a variety of inspection techniques have been developed and should be considered for use under appropriate circumstances. While overall program guidance is provided in regulations and by FHWA's headquarters, division administrators have been given flexibility to manage their programs. Along with this delegation of authority comes responsibility and accountability. Much of this has been passed along to the individual division construction program manager (district engineer or equivalent staff position).
  • Public agency oversight requires accountability that should be documented. The division should maintain a record of significant findings, recommendations, and their resolution. This is typically a portion of the division office's stewardship procedures.
  • In addition to inspecting construction projects for acceptance purposes, inspections are required to obtain up-to-date information on problems and changes; to evaluate the work and the State's project management; to provide technical assistance and promote programs; to gather information for special reports; and to maintain rapport with STA project personnel.
  • The reporting of construction inspection activities is necessary to document FHWA's efforts to carry out its assigned responsibilities to convey information about projects to appropriate parties within FHWA and the STA in accordance with Federal law and regulations.
  • Inspection activities included in the division office's construction management program should be planned and scheduled using an appropriate combination of inspection techniques, in keeping with directives and guidelines that have been established, and in consideration of individual State characteristics and conditions.
  • All inspections should have a review objective and a review plan, the form and comprehensiveness of which will vary with the type and detail of the review. Review guidelines and preliminary review activities will also contribute to a successful inspection.
  • The list of possible items to be covered on an inspection is extensive. Possible items for inspection coverage and a list of work items for the reviewer's consideration are listed in the text and in the sidebar "Items to Consider for Review."
  • Supportable facts, observations, opinions, hearsay, conclusions, and recommendations are all of value in construction inspection reports, but the inspecting engineer should be specific in identifying each. Unsupported hearsay should be avoided.
  • The use of specific inspection report forms has been suggested for ease of report identification (see Appendix G). Following a reasonable consistent format for report writing helps to make the report orderly and easy to follow.
  • An effort should be made to make reports reasonably self-sufficient without making them overly bulky. The inclusion of photographs and sketches can frequently be of value. Suggestions for writing quality reports are included in the text and in Appendix F.
  • Division offices should route reports to appropriate parties internally and externally to ensure that they are informed of significant construction program activities.
  • Engineers making findings and recommendations on construction projects have the responsibility to prepare a timely report.
  • Technology transfer and quality assurance program activities are important integral elements of the total construction inspection program.

The key to a successful construction management program is the acceptance of responsibility and accountability by the field engineer and support from FHWA management.

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Updated: 11/25/2013
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000