Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 52-06. Agency Use of Quality Control Plans for Administering Quality Assurance Specifications

Modern quality assurance (QA) specifications promoted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognize the state departments of transportation’s (DOT’s) responsibility for monitoring the contractor’s quality control (QC) activities, conducting agency inspection, and conducting acceptance sampling and testing. Research and training focused on acceptance sampling and testing is currently available, and national, regional, and state certification programs have been developed to support those efforts. Research and training on reviewing the contractor’s QC plan and appropriate methods of DOT oversight of QC inspection and testing activities are more limited. QC plans are usually written by contractors and approved by DOTs, based on DOT requirements and specifications. Well-developed, proactive QC plans should be used to reduce process variability and prevent rework as well as to aid in delivering projects on-schedule and within budget. However, QC plans are often boilerplate or are developed only to be used to meet agency QC specification minimum requirements. Based on the historical quality of QC plans submitted, some DOTs have even stopped requiring QC plans to be submitted. Research has confirmed the importance of QA in transportation projects, and further research is needed in the areas of contractor QC, including adequate agency oversight of the QC plan. The objective of this synthesis is to document the various QC requirements used by DOTs, including how QC plans are reviewed, accepted, and monitored to achieve project specifications and what actions are being taken by an agency when QC plans are not being followed. Information gathered should include (but is not limited to): (1) Requirements of contractors regarding QC plans for various project delivery methods; (2) Guidance and/or templates provided by DOTs for QC plans; (3) Minimum certifications/qualifications for QC personnel required by agencies; (4) QC plan review and approval/acceptance processes used by DOTs; (5) DOT compliance monitoring and inspection of contractor implementation of QC plans; (6) Incentives that DOTs are using to encourage effective and/or innovative QC; (7) Actions that an agency takes when QC plans are not followed; (8) Innovative efforts in construction quality control; and (9) Consideration of risk in oversight of QC plans. 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 52-06

  • 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:

    Harwood, Leslie

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Kansas, Lawrence

    1530 West 15th Street
    Lawrence, KS  United States  66045
  • Principal Investigators:

    Tran, Dan

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

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739553
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 52-06
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:06PM