Alternative Quality Management Systems for Highway Construction

Project delivery methods in the construction industry have evolved and so have quality management systems. Changes in the roles of owners and contractors in delivery systems range from the highway standard design-bid-build system to design-build/public-private partnership agreements where the responsibility for quality management is shared to varying degrees between the contractor and owner. The design-bid-build system uses the traditional highway quality management system (referred to in this project as the baseline quality management system) with detailed contractor quality control requirements strictly monitored by the owner. The attraction of alternative project delivery methods is the transfer from owner to contractor of some measure of project responsibility that may include design, finance, and/or quality management. These alternatives may result in substantial savings to the owner from lack of design error and omission claims, lower cost of capital, and reduced employment of project management and inspection forces. These alternative project delivery methods have proven to be efficient and effective in many types of construction and are increasingly making inroads into the highway construction arena. One aspect of alternative project delivery methods that may be applied to highway construction now is the application of alternative quality control systems that emphasize contractor quality control and assurance. These new systems allow owners to have confidence through a verification of contractor quality system process. As an example, a formal quality management system, under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)--ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems--Requirements integrates quality management from the suppliers through the contractors to the owners. It requires post-project reviews and publishes ratings of contractor performance. During the project, the owner verifies that the contractor's quality management plan is in force, rather than providing extensive, detailed specifications and conducting the on-site tests required by the baseline quality management system. Another alternative method is the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' quality management system. This system provides extensive, detailed specifications and permits on-site testing by contractors. Research is needed to provide guidance on the use of alternative quality management systems for highway construction projects. The objectives of this research are to (1) identify and understand alternative quality management systems and (2) develop guidelines for their use in highway construction projects.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-83

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  USA  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC    20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Reynaud, David

  • Start Date: 20100501
  • Source Data: RiP Project 22354

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464199
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-83
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:38PM