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REPORT
This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-008    Date:  July 2016
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-008
Date: July 2016

 

Analysis of Construction Quality Assurance Procedures on Federally Funded Local Public Agency Projects

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FOREWORD

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is interested in identifying challenges and best practices related to construction quality assurance (QA) for local public agency (LPA) projects, making recommendations to improve the effectiveness of both State transportation department oversight and LPA management of construction QA and ensure that construction QA complies with Federal-aid requirements. In response to prior Federal and State reviews that have found significant weaknesses or inconsistencies in construction QA practices for LPA projects, this report documents current construction QA practices from both State transportation department and LPA perspectives, identifies specific issues or areas of weakness in QA practices, identifies existing successful QA practices, and makes recommendations that can be implemented to generally improve construction QA across the full spectrum of LPA projects and State transportation department programs. One proven method to improve the consistency and effectiveness of construction QA is to develop a robust LPA certification process. Other key recommendations include the development of LPA-tailored specifications and standards, construction QA-specific training, and use of a risk-based or tiered system of construction QA based on the LPA project purpose and scope.

Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high- quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

 

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-15-008

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Analysis of Construction Quality Assurance Procedures on Federally Funded Local Public Agency Projects

5. Report Date

July 2016

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Linda Karen Konrath, Leslie Ann McCarthy, Sidney Sco

8. Performing Organization Report No.

None

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Hill International, Inc.
One Penn Square West
30 S. 15th Street, Suite 1300
Philadelphia, PA 19102

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-12-C-00028

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Federal Highway Administration
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

 

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HAAM-20

15. Supplementary Notes

The Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative was Richard B. Duval, PE (HRDI-20) (202)-493-3365.

16. Abstract

Approximately 20 percent of the Federal-aid highway program is invested in local public agency (LPA) infrastructure projects, which is a significant portion of total Federal funds allocated to highway construction projects in the United States. In response to previous Federal and State reviews that have found significant weaknesses or inconsistencies in construction quality assurance (QA) practices for LPA projects, this report documents current construction QA practices from both State transportation department and LPA perspectives, identifies specific issues or areas of weakness in QA practices, identifies existing successful QA practices, and makes recommendations that can be implemented to generally improve construction QA across the full spectrum of LPA projects and State transportation department programs. Recognizing that there are significant differences in LPA capabilities and project types, the recommendations consider both large and small LPAs, and differences among State transportation department programs. The recommendations applicable to all project types and programs include better communication among project partners through stakeholder meetings, QA training, and statewide LPA guidelines and manuals focusing on construction QA. For larger LPAs with more capabilities, LPA-tailored specifications and standards, LPA certification, and the use a risk-based or tiered system of construction QA based on project purpose and type are recommended. For smaller LPAs with fewer resources, continued State transportation department oversight and independent assurance and the use of qualified consultants for construction QA are recommended.

17. Key Words

Quality assurance, Construction, Local public agency, Certification, Risk

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
http://www.ntis.gov

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified.

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified.

21. No. of Pages

213

22. Price

NA

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 2. FINDINGS
CHAPTER 3. EVALUATION OF FINDINGS
APPENDIX A. STATE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT SURVEY

APPENDIX B. LPA SURVEY

APPENDIX C. STATE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT INTERVIEW FORM

APPENDIX D. LPA INTERVIEW FORM

APPENDIX E. PROCESS REVIEW SUMMARY TABLE

APPENDIX F. VDOT LPA RISK FACTOR AND LEVEL OF OVERSIGHT ASSIGNMENT

APPENDIX G. STATE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT SURVEY RESULTS

APPENDIX H. LPA GUIDANCE MANUALS

APPENDIX I. PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF S&O AGREEMENTS

APPENDIX J: LPA SURVEY RESULTS

APPENDIX K: INTERVIEW SUMMARIES

APPENDIX L. SUMMARY OF FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NHS, NON-NHS, AND SERVICE CONTRACTS (“CONSTRUCTION: CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION, FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS SUMMARY,” 2009)

REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

LIST OF FIGURES

 

LIST OF TABLES

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AASHTOAmerican Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 
ACECAmerican Council of Engineering Companies 
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act 
APWA American Public Works Association 
ARRA American Reinvestment and Recovery Act  
CA Certified Agency 
Caltrans California Department of Transportation 
CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation 
CEI Construction Engineering and Inspection 
CFR Code of Federal Regulations 
EDC Every Day Counts 
EEO Equal Employment Opportunity 
FDOT Florida Department of Transportation 
FHWA Federal Highway Administration 
GDOT Georgia Department of Transportation 
HMA Hot Mix Asphalt 
IA Independent Assurance 
IDT Idaho Department of Transportation 
LAP Locally Administered Project (Program) 
LPA Local Public Agency  
LTAP Local Technical Assistance Program 
MaineDOT Maine Department of Transportation 
MC Management Consultant 
MDOT Mississippi Department of Transportation 
Mn/DOT Minnesota Department of Transportation 
NACE National Association of Corrosion Engineers 
NCDOT North Carolina Department of Transportation 
NCHRP National Cooperative Highway Research Program 
NHDOT New Hampshire Department of Transportation 
NHS National Highway System 
ODOT Ohio Department of Transportation 
OE Open Ended 
OIG Office of Inspector General 
Oregon DOT Oregon Department of Transportation 
PMIT Project Management Improvement Team 
QA Quality Assurance 
QAP Quality Assurance Program 
QAR Quality Assurance Review 
QC Quality Control 
QPL Qualified Products List  
ROW Right-of-Way 
SAFETEA-LU Safe, Accountable Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users 
SHS State Highway System 
S&O Stewardship and Oversight  
VDOT Virginia Department of Transportation 
WisDOT Wisconsin Department of Transportation 
WSDOT Washington State Department of Transportation 

 

 

 

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101