Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 52-14. 3D Digital Models as Highway Construction Contract Documents

During the last several years, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have been collaborating with construction contractors and consultants to overcome the challenges to sharing construction information digitally. Now many DOTs have developed procedures for using 3D engineered digital models during design and have piloted sharing those 3D models with the contractor in a digital format for roadway construction. State DOTs have also been exploring the feasibility of using those 3D models as construction contract documents. There are numerous technical, procedural, risk management, and legal issues that arise when the construction contract medium changes from paper or electronic files (such as 2D PDFs containing plan sheets) to digital 3D models. Since there are not yet any nationally defined standards or guidelines to reference, DOTs have addressed these issues independently in different and creative ways. The objective of this synthesis is to document current DOT practice for delivering 3D digital models to highway contractors and the use of these models as part of the legal construction contract document. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Extent of use of 3D models for informational purposes and as contract documents; (2) Identification of the controlling digital contract documents (sometimes called “model of record”); (3) Access control for the “model of record” digital contract documents; (4) Managing authorized changes to the contractual 3D models including who pays for the changes; (5) Methods for document retention and data security; (6) Scope of using 3D models as contract documents (e.g., aspects of the highway project that are depicted in the models, the level of metadata and detail in the models); (7) Procedures for quality control and quality assurance of the digital contractual and supplemental data; (8) Risk mitigation strategies (e.g., partnering and previewing the 3D models in advance of the letting, contract liability issues); (9) Outlays made by DOTs to use 3D models in contracting; (10) Sample consultant design and inspection scopes of work; (11) Sample construction special provisions; and (12) Effect on construction bid prices as a result of using contractual digital contract documents. Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 52-14

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Kentucky, Lexington

    Kentucky Transportation Center
    College of Engineering, 176 Raymond Building
    Lexington, KY  United States  40506-0281
  • Principal Investigators:

    Nassereddine, Hala

  • Start Date: 20200501
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739677
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 52-14
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:05PM