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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-07-020
Date: December 2006


Guidelines for Establishing and Maintaining Construction Quality Databases

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Construction quality databases contain a variety of construction-related data that characterize the quality of materials and workmanship. The primary purpose of construction quality databases is to help State highway agencies (SHAs) assess the quality of materials production and placement, including the establishment of pay factors for quality. A secondary purpose is to support other agency activities, including performance analysis and improvements to current standards and specifications. These databases have become a critical component in construction quality assurance (QA) programs.

Increasingly, SHAs are recognizing that the more data that a database contains, the greater potential there is for agency staff to use and analyze the data and thereby benefit from it. Agency staff also may integrate information assimilated in a construction quality database with other databases, such as State pavement management systems (PMS) and maintenance records. Integrating databases enables agencies to perform more advanced analyses, such as the type of research needed to develop or refine performance-related specifications, warranty specifications, innovative contracting procedures, and material/ process pay factors, and to check the design adequacy of material or validate assumptions about a structure’s design. For an integrated system to be effective, the construction quality database must be well constructed and its attributes clearly defined to permit widespread use within an agency. The study upon which this TechBrief is based, Advanced Quality Systems: Guidelines for Establishing and Maintaining Construction Quality Databases (FHWA-HRT-07-019), provides a detailed description of an ideal construction quality database. FHWA developed this description based on best practices synthesized from several agencies.