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Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide
Appendix C - Sample Guidelines for Process Review / Product Evaluation Programs
California Division Office Procedure Memorandum
SUBJECT: Program Review/Product Evaluation Program
I. Table of Contents
This issuance supersedes the December 9, 1982, Procedure Memorandum "Process Review - Engineering Management Assessment Plan."
The purpose of this Division Office Procedure Memorandum is to describe the Program Review/Product Evaluation Program (PR/PE). The program provides a basis to fulfill requirements for the administration of the Federal-aid program as prescribed in regulations and directives. The program also evaluates the quality of the work performed and maintains lines of communication with responsible State and Local Agency representatives for the transfer of technology. Additionally, the program facilitates a continual evaluation of the Division's operations to ensure quality engineering and environmental processes and products.
In 1977, the California Certification Acceptance (CA) Plan was approved for Local Agency projects and amended in the same year to include all State-administered projects not on the Interstate system. This was the beginning of the California Division Office's process review program for conducting oversight responsibilities on CA projects. The process review program continued until 1991 when the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 was implemented. Major changes to Title 23 USC in program direction and permissive delegations to the States were introduced. A major provision of the new Act allowed the States to accept increased levels of authority that exempted various types of Federal-aid highway projects from FHWA project review and oversight. In response to the authority granted by this provision, FHWA entered into agreement with Caltrans, approved May 12, 1992, that provided Caltrans with the maximum delegation of authority allowed by law. This authority, granted through Stewardship agreements, delegated oversight authority to Caltrans for "Exempt" projects. In order to better address these program changes and new directions, it is FHWA's policy to increasingly rely on the State organizations for detailed, project-related actions. In keeping with this policy, the Program Review/Product Evaluation will be the California Division Office's primary mode of operation in carrying out its program oversight responsibilities. This does not preclude the use of other program monitoring techniques, including project-specific activities when appropriate.
Factors to be considered in advancing this policy include:
This Program Review/Product Evaluation Program will cover all activities for exempt projects on the National Highway System (NHS), projects administered under Certification Acceptance, and non-Title 23 activities for non-NHS projects.
V. Overview of the Program Review/Product Evaluation Program
The Program Review/Product Evaluation (PR/PE) program is an annual monitoring program that provides the Division Office with a control technique that documents and assures FHWA that State and local agencies are complying with Certification Acceptance procedures and Stewardship agreements. The PR/PE is performed through management reviews and special emphasis reviews. These reviews will evaluate the adequacy of the processes, procedures, and products developed by Caltrans in project development and construction activities. Based on these reviews, assurances can be established that a process is being implemented as intended and is producing the desired product. The purpose is to provide oversight and improvements of policies, procedures, techniques or methods on a statewide or area-wide basis. The PR/PE reviews can be broad in scope, covering a major activity or program such as conceptual studies, preliminary plan development, or PS&E preparation, or they can be more specific in scope, covering products or elements such as geometrics, pavement design/construction, safety, structures, etc. Occasionally a broad review could generate a specific review that could be addressed in an upcoming program or during the present year if it is deemed necessary.
The annual schedule for the PR/PE program will be developed through recurring and cyclical review activities. The recurring reviews are regulatory, statutory, or administrative requirements. As required by FAPG 640.115, the cyclical reviews are considered on a four-year basis and will be developed using special emphasis areas covering the State's administration of CA and exempt NHS projects. Detailed procedures for the development of the annual program schedule are discussed below.
The Program Review/Policy Coordination Section (PR/PC) will develop the annual engineering review schedule. The Planning, Research, and Environment (PR&E), Administration, and Right of Way (R/W) Offices will be responsible for developing respective annual review schedules in accordance with this D-memo with assistance from the Program Review/Coordination Section.
VI. Development Procedures for Annual Program Schedule
Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the Program Review/Product Evaluation Engineer(s) will develop the annual program schedule. The subject areas for review are identified from external sources (outside PR/PC) and from the list of special emphasis areas.
The external sources and special emphasis areas are explained below:
The process the Division Office will use to identify reviews that will be beneficial to FHWA and Caltrans is called the "criteria assessment model." The criteria assessment model is a process that will help evaluate and objectively rate each potential topic to determine the need for a PR/PE review. The criteria assessment was developed to consider five distinct areas in advancing the Division Office's program. They are as follows:
(The Criteria Assessment Review Form is shown below.)
The Program Review/Policy Coordination Section will convene a select group of FHWA and Caltrans officials, considering available time/resources, to complete the selection of reviews. The composition of this group is to be considered flexible. The number of individuals comprising this group should be large enough, yet variable, to provide for objectivity in the relative numerical rankings which are assigned during the criteria assessment. Each potential review topic shall be addressed in an objective and impartial manner when utilizing the model. The criteria assessments should not be viewed as absolute for selection or non-selection of a particular review. However, there should be documentation to support selection or non-selection when the criteria assessment ranking is overridden by management or executive decision-making.
The reviews completed may not be considered for the special emphasis list for the ensuing three years. At the end of the four-year cycle, the group of subjects dropped from consideration are then returned to the special emphasis area list. This method is repeated yearly by adding the subjects reviewed four years prior.
VIII. Program Approval and Review Procedures
The annual program schedules proposed by the R/W, Administration, and PR&E offices shall be submitted to the Program Review/Policy Coordination Section for compilation by September 15 of each year. Each office will be responsible for documenting the selection process.
Prior to the submittal and approval of the annual program schedule, a proposed schedule of review topics and assignments will be circulated to all staff members to assess the impact on other engineering and administrative operations within the Division Office. The Program Review/Policy Coordination Section will then submit the final annual program schedule and proposed review assignments to the Assistant Division Administrator for review and approval.
Establishment and conduct of reviews will be in accordance with the procedures outlined in Process Review Guide Memorandum D1601.
If at any time a review is considered to be unnecessary or excessive, cancellation or down scoping can be requested through the Chief, Program Review/Coordination Section. Documentation supporting the recommendation will be initiated by the Review Coordinator with final approval by the Assistant Division Administrator. While the review activities are proceeding, the PR/PE engineer(s) will coordinate and track all reviews performed by review teams.
Special Emphasis Areas
Construction (also see Contract Administration)
Contract Administration (See Non-regulatory Supp. FAPG 23 CFR 635A, para. 8a)
Administration of Federal-aid Projects
EEO, Civil Rights, DBE and Labor Compliance (also see Construction)
Planning and Research
Traffic and Safety
Criteria Assessment Review Form
The following decision factors shall be used in the process of evaluating the need for process review/product evaluations. Respond to each of the questions with a rating of 1 for low, 3 for medium, and 5 for high; the criteria assessment will summarize the ratings for each factor and subsequently determine the overall rating of all factors.