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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > July 2006 > New NHI Course Presents Strategies for Managing Construction Workmanship
July 2006Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-027

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New NHI Course Presents Strategies for Managing Construction Workmanship

The many factors involved in constructing and inspecting a highway project to ensure the desired quality of the finished product, including legal liability, risk, and quality assurance issues, are the focus of a new 2-day course now available from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Highway Institute (NHI). Using real-life examples, "Managing Construction Workmanship" (Course No. FHWA-NHI-134055) looks at approaches that will help improve the quality of field decisions, with the goal of enhancing overall product quality and improving long-term system performance.

"With States facing serious attrition among their inspection forces, it's crucial to bring up new inspectors among the ranks to give them the confidence and skills they need to do the job to the best of their ability," says Christopher Newman of FHWA's Office of Asset Management. "While there is little substitute for on-the-job experience, this course educates field personnel in regard to the roles and responsibilities of inspectors, the acceptance of materials and what constitutes proper workmanship, and the concepts and factors involved in risk and engineering analysis."

On completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the components of workmanship as they relate to highway and bridge construction and assess their own inspection skills.
  2. Describe the construction team (owners, engineers, contractors, suppliers, and inspectors) and the roles of each team member in achieving good communication and quality workmanship.
  3. Link different types of specifications to the associated roles and responsibilities of the inspector, contractor, engineer, and owner.
  4. Identify situations in which legal issues related to inspection and inspector duties affect the performance of their assignments.
  5. Apply the basic concepts of risk assessment to case studies from construction inspections.

Participants will also learn about various successful State training and certification programs that lead to improved construction workmanship and quality, as well as how to locate training and certification programs in their own jurisdictions.

"With States facing serious attrition among their inspection forces, it's crucial to bring up new inspectors among the ranks to give them the confidence and skills they need to do the job to the best of their ability."

"The course allows participants to understand the nature of construction inspection as well as the expectations of both the department of transportation inspection staff and the contractor's staff in completing a quality construction project," says Bill Beuter of the Virginia Department of Transportation, which hosted the course in Thornburg, Virginia, in October 2005. "The course is very powerful in that it allows discussions about what constitutes a quality project."

The course is designed for field personnel, from engineers to technicians, who are involved in all aspects of highway construction. "The ideal audience for the course will have a mix of experience and responsibility levels so that agency-specific practices can be shared by more experienced participants with those who are newer to the field," says Newman. Course materials are also appropriate for project managers or resident engineers. The cost of the course is $270 per participant, with a minimum class size of 20 and a maximum of 30. Participants can earn 1.2 continuing education units.

NHI's new course on "Managing Construction Workmanship" covers the many factors involved in constructing and inspecting a highway project, including legal liability, risk, and quality assurance issues.
NHI's new course on "Managing Construction Workmanship" covers the many factors involved in constructing and inspecting a highway project, including legal liability, risk, and quality assurance issues.

For more information on the course content, contact Christopher Newman at FHWA, 202-366-2023 (email: christopher.newman@fhwa.dot.gov). To schedule the course, contact your local FHWA division office or the NHI Training Team at 703-235-0534 (email: nhitraining@fhwa.dot.gov), or visit the NHI Web site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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