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Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-12-0042
Project Name:   Analysis of Construction Quality Assurance Procedures on Federally Funded Local Public Agency Projects
Project Status:   Active
Start Date:  September 3, 2012
End Date:  June 30, 2014
Contact Information
Last Name:  Duval
First Name:  Richard
Telephone:  202-493-3365
E-mail:  Richard.Duval@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Infrastructure Analysis and Construction Team [HRDI-20]
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   This study investigates construction quality assurance practices used on locally administered Federal-aid highway projects. The study covers various types, sizes, and scopes of transportation projects delivered by local public agencies. The study involves collecting, organizing, and analyzing data from various State highway and local public agencies. The research product is a report outlining current quality assurance practices on local public agency projects, including areas of weakness and successful practices.
(1) Document current construction quality assurance practices used on locally administered Federal-aid projects. This should include materials sampling and testing, as well as inspection.
(2) Identify specific areas of weakness in quality assurance practices on local public agency projects.
(3) Identify existing successful practices that could potentially improve construction quality assurance on locally administered projects.
Background Information:   An increasing number of Federal-aid highway projects are being administered by local public agencies (LPAs). It is currently estimated that local public agency (LPA) projects account for approximately 20 percent of the Federal-aid program. Section 1904 of SAFETEA-LU revised §106 of Title 23 of the United States Code, broadening the States' oversight responsibilities and requiring that subrecipients of Federal-aid funds have adequate project delivery systems for projects approved under this Section. This Section also states that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will periodically review the monitoring of subrecipients by the States.In 2006, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a national review of locally administered projects. The objectives of the review were to “Assess the administration, oversight, and stewardship of local public agency Federal-aid projects” and to identify areas for improvement. Findings from the program review included: Extreme differences in the local public agency (LPA) Federal-aid project activities.Varied, limited, or nonexistent State LPA oversight activities.Local public agency (LPA) Federal-aid project risks vary widely.Federal-aid program guidance to LPA could be improved. The team determined that there were noncompliance issues in almost all areas of project delivery. One area of concern is oversight of construction quality. The report states, “The Team found that design and construction quality was highly variable, and the quality and availability of records made it difficult to verify compliance. Material testing was often either not done or was undocumented leaving project quality and durability questionable.” In addition, the report outlined the following points: Most States performed no construction inspections of LPA projects unless the project was on a State route.The local officials in charge of projects have a very limited knowledge of materials sampling frequency and testing needs.Even where the municipalities use consultants to accomplish materials sampling and testing work, there is a need for more basic knowledge within the LPA so they know what services they should be buying and what documentation should be incorporated in the project records.Minimal evidence of quality assurance testing documentation existed in local files. It is clear from these findings that construction quality assurance practices on many locally administered Federal-aid projects are in need of improvement. However, before this can be accomplished, a more detailed understanding of the problem is needed. A study of current construction quality assurance practices on LPA projects would document the extent of the problem and the specific issues needing improvement, as well as identify existing best practices.
Product Type:   Other
Research report
Technical report
Test Methodology:   Surveys with State Highway Administrations (SHAs), data collection and analysis
Expected Benefits:   Best practices guidance for quality assurance on locally administered projects.
Deliverables: 1. Name: Develop guidance in the form of a report, webinars, and training materials for States to provide acceptable oversight of the States Quality Assurance (QA) program and ideally the QA programs recommended by Federal Highway Administration for Local Public Agencies (LPA).
Product Type(s): Research report, Technical report
Description: Report outlining results of project and best practices guidance.
2. Name: TechBrief summarizing the Quality Assurance (QA) oversight guidelines for States for local public agencies.
Product Type(s): Techbrief
Description: TechBrief summarizing project.
3. Name: PowerPoint and training guidance material.
Product Type(s): Other
Description: Presentation outlining project results.
FHWA Topics:   Roads and Bridges--Construction and Project Management
TRT Terms:   Quality Assurance
Best Practices
FHWA Disciplines:   Construction and Project Management
Pavement and Materials
Subject Areas:   Construction


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