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Construction Program Guide

Construction and Materials Quality Assurance

TRB Circular E-C037 (April 2002) defines Quality Assurance as "All those planned and systematic actions necessary to provide confidence that a product or facility will perform satisfactorily in service." More simply stated, Quality Assurance can be defined as "Making sure the Quality of a product is what it should be."

Various documents such as the National Quality Improvement Task Force Report on QA Procedures for Highway Construction (FHWA DP-89, June 1994) and the AASHTO Implementation Manual for Quality Assurance (February 1996) have outlined six critical elements of a Quality Assurance program. These elements include Quality Control (QC) by the Contractor, Acceptance by the Agency, Independent Assurance (IA), Dispute Resolution, and the use of Qualified Laboratories and Qualified Personnel by both parties.

Authority/Legal Basis

  • 23 U.S.C. 109 Standards (2020) Subsection (a) of 23 U.S.C. 109 requires that: "...the Secretary shall ensure that the plans and specifications for each proposed highway project under this chapter provide for a facility that will (1) adequately serve the existing and planned future traffic of the highway in a manner that is conducive to safety, durability, and economy of maintenance; and (2) be designed and constructed in accordance with criteria best suited to accomplish the objectives described in paragraph (1)..." Implementation of this requirement includes (but is not limited to) the promulgation of policies, procedures, and guidelines necessary to assure the quality of materials and construction on Federal-aid highway projects, and providing appropriate oversight of STD quality assurance practices and procedures
  • 23 U.S.C. 114 Construction (2020) Subsection (a) Construction Work in General -provides the statutory requirements for State Departments of Transportation to undertake and supervise the construction of highways located on a Federal-aid system, and also provides broad authority for the Secretary of Transportation to inspect and approve the construction work. This would include any quality assurance procedures used during construction.
  • 23 U.S.C. 315 Rules, regulations, and recommendations (2012) Provides the authority for the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe and promulgate rules and regulations for carrying out Federal-aid highway statutory requirements.


General Information
Other Resources
  • NHI Course 134042A - "Materials Control and Acceptance - Quality Assurance"
  • NHI Course 131032 - "Hot Mix Asphalt Construction". This course includes quality assurance practices for hot mix asphalt construction.
  • NHI Course 134055 - TCCC Construction Inspection, Workmanship, and Quality
  • NHI Course 134064 - Transportation Construction Quality Assurance (1.5 day)
  • NHI Course 134064A - Transportation Construction Quality Assurance (3 day)
Other Quality Assurance Web sites


Updated: 04/04/2023
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000