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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Implementation of the Materials Certification Process
Project Researcher: Sidney Scott, Trauner Assoc.
Project Manager: Dan Johnston
Research Period: 1/1/1999 - 1/15/2000
Cost: $70,000.00

Problem Statement:Previous research (Study SD96-06 Improvement of the Materials Certification Process) studied the legal and regulatory requirements of the material certification process and proposed alternative strategies for certification which would be simpler to administer, save time and be more cost effective. However, the research did not arrive at a final consensus among the research panel or the Department on how to implement the recommendations.

Implementation of the new processes requires decisions by the Department about the level of certification needed for specific materials and a commitment to implement the new processes. To reach these decisions many people must reach a consensus on the certifications for each material. This is a detailed set of tasks which need a person or team to have responsibility for accomplishing the desired results. Currently, it is difficult for the Department to assign responsibility to any one person or team because of the press of work and the complexity of the set of tasks.

The purpose of this research project is to provide the necessary assistance to the Department to implement a modified Material Certification process integrated into the existing framework of project management and material acceptance requirements. The project will achieve our goal of a streamlined, meaningful certification process which will minimize the installation of materials without proper certification, eliminate redundancy and unnecessary paperwork and still improve on the existing process.

Findings: Although the research has not completed as of this date, the project has resulted in the adoption of several procedures which will improve efficiency while reducing paperwork without affecting quality. First, the Department will adopt the use of Umbrella Certifications for items such as guardrail, lighting systems, signing, chain link fencing and traffic control where one certificate listing all critical components will be all that is required. High strength bolts must have separate certification and are not included in umbrella certifications. Assurance will be maintained using random audits of contractor material certification documentation. Additionally, all visual inspection documents will be incorporated into our developing computerized Construction Management Program eliminating a significant portion of project paperwork. Approved products lists and certified suppliers will also be incorporated into this system so that the inspector only need varify that a given material is on a computerized list. No certifications will be required for these items.

Research Objectives:
1  To facilitate the restructuring of our material certification process including changes to the Material Sampling and Testing Requirements (MSTR) and Required Samples, Tests and Certificates (RSTC).
2  To generate the documentation needed to implement the revised material certification process.
3  To provide training and support for the transition to the new system.

Research Tasks:
1  Review research results from SD96-06, panel recommendations, minutes of the June, 1998 meeting on implementation of the research, the Materials Manual and other pertinent documentation.
2  Meet with the technical panel and other appropriate personnel to review the work plan for the project.
3  Meet with the Region Materials Engineers, other appropriate DOT personnel and contractors to review the MSTR and RSTC and discuss modifications to the existing process.
4  Produce correct and complete definitions of and verification methods (especially DOT 25's) for tiers of construction materials including Manufacturer's Certifications, Approved Products List, Certified Plants, Certified Suppliers and Umbrella Certifi
5  Develop the umbrella certification process and provide recommended guidelines for other processes.
6  Submit a proposed tiering structure for all materials requiring certification.
7  Revise tiering structure after review and incorporate into revised MSTR and RSTC documents.
8  Provide a material certification implementation plan including a time line, training requirements including a pilot project and potential compatibility with the proposed Construction Management and Payment System (CM & P).
9  Develop administrative procedures and specifications for insuring material certification compliance (e.g. retainage) after conducting a series of meetings with DOT and contractors.
10  Provide training of DOT personnel and contractors as well as any necessary process modifications prior to final implementation.
11  Submit a final report summarizing relevant literature, research methodology, findings and conclusions.
12  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

Documents Available:
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