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Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide

Appendix F (continued)

Subcontracting

Report Item Comments
Names of six subcontractors have been submitted for approval to date with an additional three pending. Of these, four are Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). The DBE contract goal was $40,000. The subcontractor approvals submitted far exceed these contract goals. It is important to keep track of subcontracting and compliance with DBE subcontracting goals.

Labor Compliance and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Performance

Report Item Comments
A check on labor compliance (payroll data) showed compliance with contract provisions. While most labor compliance responsibilities have been turned over to the State, occasional checks are appropriate.
It was found that in some cases the "Project Site Labor and EEO Standards Interview Forms" were not completely filled out or contained information that did not correlate with the payrolls. In some cases the dates, the contractor's name, or the interviewer's name was not included on the form. In other cases the employee's job title or pay rate did not match that listed on the payrolls. It is recommended that training or guidance on conducting the job site interviews be issued to the field personnel responsible for the interviews. It is important to keep track of labor interviews as they are a critical portion of labor compliance verification.
It was reported that DBE participation on this project has been satisfactory. We need to know if there is appropriate DBE participation on projects. Where direct observation is not possible, we need to rely on feedback from project personnel.
Contract DBE goal was 8 percent of the total contract amount. This goal has been met as follows: (A list followed of firm name, bid item, amount, and percentage of total contract.) Specifics on how goals are being met should be reported. Desirably, the inspecting engineer should report DBEs actually on the job, performing a commercially useful function, and supervising the work being done.
This inspection included reviewing various DBE project records. During this review it was found that some of the DBE's employees were on the prime contractor's payroll. A meeting has been set up at State headquarters to discuss this matter with civil rights personnel. The inspecting engineer should not only report on goals and attainment but also from time to time review office records regarding DBE operations. In this case, when determining whether a DBE is an independent business, records documenting personnel actions, ownership of equipment, etc., should be scrutinized. A finding such as this one is significant and may affect a firm's eligibility. A followup meeting with appropriate STA staff is a "good call."

Safety and Handling of Traffic

Report Item Comments
It was reported that the approved traffic control plans (TCPs) had been working in a satisfactory manner on this project. Reports from project personnel are of value, but it was surprising that this comment was not reinforced by personal observation.
Some deficiencies in construction signing (mainly drums and barricades) were noted. The citation of deficiencies should be as specific as possible. Was the problem in reflectivity, placement, or some other aspect?
The construction traffic control was observed carefully throughout the length of the project and found to be exceptionally good. This comment reflects a detailed review of the situations.
There have been several reviews on the traffic control by the State's traffic section during the life of the project. From these reports, the traffic control used appeared to have improved since our previous inspection. Commenting on the State's management as well as observed conditions is of value.
The detour was well marked for two-directional traffic. Striping was very visible, and the numerous reflector buttons indicate that visibility at night is probably very good also. Barrels and candle delineators were up, as appropriate, through the entire length of the project and appeared to be in very good condition. The inspecting engineer has provided information to support the conclusion that the use, location, and maintenance of traffic control devices are all being adequately handled.
All flag persons were properly equipped with hard hats and orange vests, and appeared to understand proper flagging procedures. In this instance, it is apparent that all aspects of the flagging operation had been evaluated; however, if the flag person's operations were observed, the area engineer should report that the flag person demonstrated an understanding and use of proper techniques.
During a field review, it was noted that a piece of heavy equipment was parked in the median area. This hazard was brought to the attention of the inspectors, and steps were taken immediately to have the contractor move the equipment.
The comment made here reflects an awareness of unsafe conditions and shows a product of the inspection effort.
The detour appears to be operating in a satisfactory manner. The project engineer indicated he had made a night inspection of the detour to insure that nighttime operation was satisfactory. Several minor adjustments were made as a result of this nighttime inspection. Good coverage of the item being reviewed is provided by combining firsthand observation with reports of those items that could not be reviewed during the inspection.

Changes, Extra Work, and Time Extensions

Report Item Comments
The final contract cost is expected to exceed the contract bid amount by 26 percent. Since early notice of the overrun will probably not be used for fiscal control, this comment is of little value without more explanation.
The final project cost will be approximately $700,000-an overrun of about 10 percent. Major items making up the overrun are: (list followed) Specific comments such as this are more of value than the general comment noted above. If possible at this time, the FHWA position regarding the overruns should be reported.
The final project cost overran the original authorization by approximately 22 percent. The majority of this overrun was due to encountering a very wet subgrade that required a considerable amount of subexcavation and importing of embankment materials. Overruns also occurred in temporary striping, stripe removal, cement-treated base and asphalt paving. This comment goes a step further and identifies the reason for the major overrun as well as the items involved. This level of detail is desirable.
Several change order documents were discussed and found satisfactory. This discussion may have been of value at the time, but the failure to be specific makes the comment meaningless to anyone other than the principals involved.
There have been three COs to date on this project. CO No. 1 was reviewed in detail. The file contained adequate justification for making changes on the project as directed by CO No. 1. This specific comment is much more appropriate than the one above.
The slide area mentioned in a previous report has moved enough to cause displacement of the new pavement surface. If movement continues, stabilization work may be required. Any corrective work could best be handled separately from this contract. An anticipated future problem has been identified. This note, which serves to alert readers of the possible need for action, also contains FHWA's suggestion for contracting the work.
The material had to be removed from the deck surface. This requirement had not been specifically noted in the plans or special provisions. The contractor may request extra compensation for this work. The possible need for change orders or claims on work, which has already been accomplished, should also be noted.
The contractor has submitted a request for a time extension, which is currently being reviewed. This comment concerning a time extension is of little value without additional information. Since the discussion is appropriate, it should have been expanded.

Environmental Commitments

Report Item Comments
Material source cleanup will be coordinated with the Fish and Game Commission, as a small stream passes through the source area. Environmental sensitivity and mitigation efforts have been properly noted without being limited to items included in the applicable environmental document.
There was one location at Sta 13+90 on the north side of the new roadway near Kincaid Lake with an excessive amount of silt accumulation. It is recommended that a floating boom be installed on the south side of the roadway to keep any silt from entering the lake. There was also quite a bit of silt in the pond area on the north side of the roadway at Sta 51+55. A large amount of silt was exiting the side slope and entering the pond. It is recommended that a large rock dam/sediment basin be constructed along with a rock ditch at the toe of the slope to prevent this situation from reoccurring. The inspecting engineer should make sure that bodies of water receiving direct runoff be adequately protected. Structural controls are often used as a second or third line of defense to capture sediment as it leaves the site. A continuing effort is needed to address environmental concerns. Construction inspection reports should acknowledge these efforts.
During this final inspection, wetland plantings were visually observed to be healthy and well maintained. The types of plants and spacing matched the requirements committed to in the project's environmental assessment. It is important that the inspecting engineer know about all prior environmental commitments and document that all measures were carried out.

Staffing and Project Control

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I found the project adequately staffed with experienced personnel to adequately inspect the testing and construction procedures on the project. Project staffing and qualifications are appropriate items for evaluation and reporting.
The project is presently being staffed with adequately trained and experienced personnel (10 employees). This comment provides additional information by quantifying the staff size.
The engineer crew was considered adequate but minimal. If the contractor elects to double-shift, it will not be possible to cover all operations with the existing staff. Evaluations should also anticipate future needs.
The city's project manager advised that the city electrician had inspected the electrical wiring at all signals. Notes regarding outside inspections are desirable.
During the inspection, I noted several major work items being accomplished on this bridge rehabilitation project without the required STA project inspector on the project. Resteel appeared high, and the stripped forms showed pockets of honeycomb. A review of the project diary showed that all available inspectors were assigned elsewhere. The State felt the test results and periodic spot inspection for this work were reasonable. I have asked that each major work item receive at least the "minimum" level of inspection required by specifications and the State construction manual. I have also arranged a meeting with the district engineer before I recommend further action.
This series of comments on staffing findings is not unusual. It could probably occur on most projects today. The area engineer noted a problem, observed the process, and discussed observations with STA project and district construction personnel. FHWA's position was set for that project, and when the resolution or future corrective action was beyond the project level, the field engineer stated the next course of action.
Overall, the contract administration and sampling and testing were found satisfactory. The minor discrepancies found during the inspection were immediately taken care of to the satisfaction of FHWA. The project staff needs to be commended for a job well done. Appropriate compliments to the project staff are appreciated.
The project engineer and crew are complimented for keeping the engineering costs to a minimum, especially when considering the isolated location of the project. Performance under unusual circumstances is worthy of recognition.
This was a difficult project to construct in that it had constant heavy traffic and was in a rather tight work area. The completed work looked very good. This is a reflection of the good job done by both the contractor and the State's project manager. Contractors should also be complimented for quality performance.

Claims and Potential Claims

Report Item Comments
The contractor has submitted seven claims totaling $379,221.41. Following is a brief discussion of each including the current status: (amounts, facts, alleged claims, and initial State analysis of each has been omitted here for brevity). The recording of claims and potential claims permits FHWA to begin evaluation of their merits at an early date. Specifics are of value here.
Longitudinal bracing was required for the detour by the railroad and State. There has been a minor dispute over this item.
In this case, a dispute has been identified, but the value of the comment is limited since neither the nature of the dispute nor parties involved, i.e., contractor, railroad, State, etc. were included.
While excavating on June 9, the contractor broke a water line. A repair joint was installed by the contractor. Since there was less than 38 cm (1ft) of cover over the pipe, the contractor will be filing a claim. The water line was there before the existing roadway was built.
In this instance, the facts upon which the claim is based have been appropriately noted.
The contractor has filed a notice of intent to file a claim for additional excavation quantity at Pier 5. Contract plans provide for pay limits for riprap excavation at a 1:1 slope. Based on observations at this inspection, it appears that the contractor is accomplishing an excavation slope of 2.5:1 or 3:1. The project manager is taking appropriate action to resist such a claim.
Contractor actions affecting claims should be recorded as was done here. The State's position on the claim is also of value.

Evaluation of Design and Potential Maintenance Problems

Report Item Comments
The project engineer noted that the major problems with the plans were related to the fact that the utility locations, which were based on information obtained from the utilities, were not verified in the field. The circumstances responsible for the preparation of inaccurate plans have been appropriately recorded here. In this instance, additional reconnaissance should have been made.
The project manager advised that a small concrete retaining wall was added adjacent to the railroad tracks. It was required by the railroad agreement but was somehow overlooked in the plans. Design oversights occur for a variety of reasons. Identification of the source of oversight may help to prevent future occurrences.
A free right turning movement is not presently operating as was expected. During our observation, approximately 50 percent of the time, the lead vehicle stopped and waited for a short time before realizing that they were in a free movement lane. It appears that the location of the signal heads for the through movement is causing the confusion. These signal heads will be relocated over the appropriate lanes and additional signing and radius work will be provided on the right turn. Where facilities do not function as designed, changes may be required. The feedback of this information to design may be of use in improving future designs.
One shaded area just westerly from the Beaver Creek crossing did not take the cover aggregates very well. This area may require minor work next year. The identification of potential maintenance items serves to point out areas that should be monitored for performance. This identification may also be of benefit in achieving future design and construction improvement.
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Updated: 11/25/2013
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000