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Management of Pavement Warranties

"Managing Warranties and Examples"


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) intends to continue supporting and encouraging the use of pavement warranties throughout the United States. This is the third in a series of documents intended to provide guidance on the use of pavement warranties. The documents are arranged to address various highpoints that should be considered in all warranty programs, independent of the source of funding or routes. The first document provides agencies with information to gain an understanding of what warranties are and why they should be used. The second document discusses the selection procedures for pavement warranties and includes specification development, bonding or guarantee issues, project selection, along with acceptance and verification procedures for warranty projects. In addition, it presents warranty experiences from various states. This third document is intended to provide information on the management of a pavement warranty program along with examples of warranty specifications.

Managing A Warranty Program

While there are several choices in the types of warranties that can be used for pavements, the most benefit can be gained through the use of performance warranties. Performance type warranty specifications have been documented to reduce the life cycle costs of the facility by improving the performance of the pavements. To continue the trend toward improved pavement performance it is important to examine and to implement the best practices and lessons learned by agencies in the United States and abroad. The successful use of pavement warranties is dependent upon the understanding of the contracting requirements as well as the support of all parties involved. While there are many potential benefits such as improved performance, there are also adjustments that will need to be made within the highway construction industry, the agency, and in the bonding programs in the agencies.

There are a number issues that need to be considered as part of the management of a pavement warranty program with the first being an understanding that the acceptance of a warranty project consists not only the specific construction activities as required by the project, but also the verification of the pavement performance.

Management of pavement warranty programs includes the actions by the agency to address not only the initial development of the specifications, but also the coordination with various departments and field divisions within the agencies to verify the performance of the warranted pavement during the warranty period. Management responsibilities also include the establishment of responsibilities within the agencies to address the overall warranty program to coordinate review of, and the updating of, the construction specifications and the verification processes. Management should begin at the agency's central office and then disperse throughout the agency in multiple areas including development, pavement management, operations, construction, and materials.

One of the key elements during the development of the warranty specifications is partnering. Partnering is an element that is critical in the initial decisions regarding warranties within the agency and with industry throughout the warranty periods of the various projects.

The agency's pavement warranty programs should include a "pavement warranty management committee". This committee should include members from the agency's management, research, pavement management, construction, operations, materials, as well as industry representatives and federal representatives as applicable. The pavement warranty management committee should establish warranty taskforces to address the details of the warranty program(s) and report back to the committee for approvals. Separate taskforces for both Hot Mix Asphalt and Portland Cement Concrete are recommended due to the differences in the warranted items, however the specifications themselves should be similar in format within the agency.

The pavement warranty management committee needs to initially consider the scope of the warranties for the agency to be advanced, i.e., materials and workmanship, or performance warranties. Subsequent decisions may be regarding the evaluation of the agency's pavement management data in the establishment of the warranty distresses, thresholds, and remediation, together with coordinating the projects evaluation with the rest of the agency's program required partnering activities and should be discussed by the respective taskforces.

Management of the program has to include all the same elements that were initially utilized and has to evaluate the program.

  1. The Number of and Types of Warranties. The management of the program will differ if the agency has a single or limited number of warranties, as compared to hundreds of warranties. The Michigan DOT for example uses a lot of materials and workmanship warranties and has established a central office clearinghouse for the data but has delegated the verification of warranty projects to the field. The Colorado DOT as well as the Indiana DOT are maintaining their programs in their central offices. In the case of Indiana, the monitoring of the programs is combined with their pavement management program which minimizes the duplication of the pavement evaluations. Their pavement friction program reports separately to the construction division, which has overall responsibility. However an agency organizes the warranty management program, it has be known that the construction project cannot be accepted until the warranty verification is completed, even if it takes three, five or more years.
  2. Warranty Data. The pavement data collected during the life of the warranty projects is very critical to the monitoring of the program as this updated information will be incorporated into subsequent warranty projects. Warranty specifications themselves have to be adjustable, or at least reviewable, year-to-year. The establishment of the initial threshold data would have been set based on data from projects built several years ago. Due to construction and materials program changes over the years, pavement performance indicators have to change as well. The agency's decisions regarding the initial thresholds may need to be revised based on further experience. For example, for short-term performance warranties on HMA pavements, if the initial rutting threshold was established as 0.5 in. (13 mm) in 5 years and the performance data now suggests that it should be less than that, it is the management of the warranty data that will make it happen.
  3. Field Verification Process. Field verification can include visual inspection to identify areas that may need closer inspection. The frequency of inspections depends on the type of warranty. As a minimum all warranties need to have a final acceptance inspection conducted at the end of the warranty period. For performance warranties, periodic verifications could be coordinated with the pavement management evaluation program to acquire comprehensive data, while visual inspections that occur more frequently serve to supplement the data or trigger closer inspection. The agency's pavement warranty management committee will need to develop a process within the agency to complete the acceptance process of the warranty projects. Results from this process not only complete the requirements for past warranty projects, but also generate the data for subsequent revisions in the program or the specifications.

Examples Of Warranty Specifications

There are a number of agencies that are using pavement warranties in their highway contracts. Table 1 summarizes a few agency examples of warranty specifications and links to the documents are provided below.

Table 1. Summary of Pavement Warranty Examples
 Warranty Specifications
Materials & WorkmanshipPerformance
New ConstructionMIINCO
Preventive MaintenanceMI  


Materials & Workmanship - Rehabilitation


Materials & Workmanship - New Construction
Michigan Department of Transportation. Special Provision for Materials & Workmanship Pavement Warranty New/Reconstructed Bituminous Pavement
PDF Version

Materials & Workmanship - Preventive Maintenance
Michigan Department of Transportation. Special Provision for Pavement Performance Warranty for Micro-Surfacing (Capital Preventive Maintenance)


Performance (Short-term) - New Construction
Indiana Department of Transportation. Warranted HMA/SMA Pavement
PDF Version

Performance (Short-term) - New Construction
Indiana Department of Transportation. Warranted PCC Pavement
PDF Version

Performance (Short-term) - Rehabilitation
Indiana Department of Transportation. Warranted Micro-Surfacing
PDF Version


Performance (Long-term) - New Construction
Colorado Department of Transportation. Revision of Section 403: Warranted Hot Bituminous Pavement System

Performance (Long-term) - New Construction
Colorado Department of Transportation. Revision of Section 403: Warranted Portland Cement Concrete Pavement System

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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