Avoid the Common MistakesDecember 15, 2011
The following is a list of common errors observed on federal-aid projects. These mistakes have resulted in project delays and, at times, a loss of federal funds. If you would like to point out another common mistake to help others, please let me know so I can update the post..
- Agency performs preliminary engineering, utility relocation, or right-of-way (R/W) work prior to authorization.
- Agency advertises project prior to construction authorization.
- Agency certifies the project is in the FSTIP at the time of authorization request - but the project is not in the FSTIP, or the scope is different from that indicated in the FSTIP.
- Agency does not have their annual DBE program approved prior to their request for authorization.
- Agency proceeds with final design, utility relocation, or R/W acquisition prior to environmental clearance.
- Agency changes the scope, funding, or construction limits during the environmental process without noting the revisions or re-evaluating their effects in the project studies.
- Agency does not obtain or adhere to required permits or conditions.
- Agency does not ensure that environmental mitigations and restrictions are met.
- Agency obtains CEQA approval, but not NEPA approval.
3. Consultant Selection
- Agency does not include applicable Federal contract provisions in consultant contracts.
- Agency inappropriately awards consultant contract without open, competitive, qualification-based selections.
- Agency does not get pre-award audit for consultant contract over $1,000,000, or executes contract prior to pre-award audit.
- Agency begins property acquisition discussions with owner prior to environmental approval and/or appraisals being completed.
- Agency fails to upgrade a certification 3 to a certification 1 or 2 prior to opening bids.
- Agency does not obtain specific authorization to relocate utilities or does not obtain approval of utility agreement.
- Agency hires consultants that are not qualified to appraise and acquire property.
- Review appraisers are not being hired to review consultant’s appraisals.
5. Construction Award
- Agency awards to other than the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.
- Agency awards to suspended or debarred contractor.
- Agency negotiates work with low bid contractor prior to award.
- Agency does not have an approved Quality Assurance Program prior to construction authorization.
- Agency awards contract to lowest bidder who doesn’t meet the Federal DBE requirements, without documenting a good faith effort.
6. Non-Competitive Bidding
- Agency uses sole source, force account labor, or it’s own equipment or materials in construction without documenting and obtaining required approvals.
- Agency does not enforce contract DBE provisions with regard to utilization, substitution, or good faith determination and documentation.
8. ADA & Design Standards
- Agency does not conform to ADA design standards, such as installing curb ramps where needed, or not correcting substandard ramps within project improvement area.
- Agency does not incorporate design standards into plans, or does not document design exceptions/approvals to applicable standards.
9. FHWA Form–1273
- Agency does not incorporate FHWA Form–1273 into construction contract or does not enforce its provisions (i.e.: EEO, civil rights, wages, materials, subletting, safety, clean air & water, lobbying, convict labor, hiring preferences, Buy America, use of trainees, etc.).
- Agency fails to perform check of federal wage rates within ten days prior to bid opening.
10. Construction Oversight
- Agency does not provide adequate oversight, enforcement of labor compliance requirements, and quality assurance of construction to ensure completion in accordance with plans, specifications, and contract provisions.
- Agency does not maintain adequate construction records to document compliance with federal law.
- Agency does not adequately document contract change orders.
- Agency does not submit a materials certificate or does not implement an approved testing program.
- LAPM, Chapter 17.
- Agency does not meet the requirements as provided in the “Buy America” clause and allows the use of foreign made steel or iron in permanent improvements.
- Agency does not adequately maintain the completed project.
If you’re unable to get the referenced LAPM chapter links on this page, the Division of Local Assistance updates the LAPM here.