Chapter 5: Control of the Work

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Section 1: Project Authority

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Authority of the Engineer

Article 5.1, “Authority of the Engineer,” of the Standard Specifications outlines the Engineer’s authority to observe, test, inspect, approve, and accept the work. The Engineer decides all questions about the quality and acceptability of materials, work performed, work progress, contract interpretations, and acceptable contract fulfillment. The Engineer acts as a referee in all questions arising under the terms of the contract. The Engineer’s decisions are final and binding.

The Engineer is responsible for:

Contract remedies that the Engineer may use to bring the contract into compliance and ensure safety, timeliness, and quality throughout the project include, but are not limited to the following:

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  • suspending the work without suspending working day charges,
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  • withholding estimates,
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  • requiring the contractor to remove and replace defective work, or reducing payment for defective work,
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  • removing an individual from the project,
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  • assessing liquidated damages to recover the Department's administrative costs, including additional project-specific liquidated damages when specified in the contract,
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  • conducting interim performance evaluation(s) requiring a Project Recovery Plan, in accordance with Title 43, Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §9.23,
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  • declaring the contractor to be in default of the contract, and
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  • in case of a default or contractor's failure to meet a Project Recovery Plan, referring the issue directly to the Performance Review Committee for consideration of further action against the Contractor in accordance with 43 TAC §9.24.

Change in scope of work may be grounds for additional compensation to the contractor; refer to Chapter 7, "Changes to the Contract," for more information. The Engineer must use proper engineering judgement when utilizing contract remedies and consider and document events outside the contractor's control, including consideration of sufficient time.

The contractor may dispute the instructions through proper channels when in disagreement with the engineer's decisions as described in the escalation ladder discussed at the Preconstruction Conference. Usually, the methods or procedures used in performing the work are the responsibility of the contractor. If the specifications or plans specify the methods or procedures to follow in performing doing the work, the Engineer has the authority to reject work done by other methods. The contract requirements prevail even though the contractor may claim that the other methods will result in equally good or better results. If needed, the contractor may submit a request for revisions in the contract in a timely manner.

The Engineer will issue written direction or approval to the contractor in a timely manner, as needed and when required by the contract. Document verbal direction or approval provided to the contractor in the project records. Subsequent to verbal direction or approval, issue written notification to the contractor documenting the Engineer’s actions.

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Authority and Duties of Inspectors

Article 5.10, “Inspection,” of the Standard Specifications outlines Department inspector authority and responsibilities. Inspectors are authorized to safely inspect all the work, and materials furnished. An inspector must thoroughly understand the contract, the relevant plans, specifications, special provisions, and the work schedule. This enables the inspector to inspect and judge the quality and thoroughness of the contractor’s work in comparison to the contract.

Inspector duties may include, but are not limited to:

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  • reporting the progress of the work as compared to the project schedule and contractor performance to the Engineer,
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  • assuring all materials used on the project are approved and listed on the appropriate Material Producer List, or have been tested as shown on the Material Verification Report prior to installation,
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  • notifying the Engineer and contractor when materials furnished or work performed fail to fulfill contract requirements,
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  • communicating to the contractor all problems in a timely manner or otherwise providing relevant information to the contractor to assist in the progress, safety (to workers and the public), and quality of the work.
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  • documenting all matters related to the prosecution of the contract and the progress of the work as required for payment through sufficiently detailed Daily Work Reports (DWRs),
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  • acting as the authorized Department representative to assure the contractor is following the project's plans, specifications, and special provisions and that any pay items are completed as detailed therein, and
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  • verifying that items of work needing attention by the contractor are not be paid at 100% until completed in a satisfactory manner. Deny or reduce payment for non-compliance with plans, specifications, and provisions.

When a dispute arises, the inspector may reject materials or suspend work while the Engineer makes decisions on the issue.

The inspector must not act as foreman, work for the contractor, or interfere with the management of the work. The inspector must not tell the contractor how to do the work unless specified in the contract.

Refer to Appendix A for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Technical Advisory 5140.28, “Construction Loads on Bridges.”

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Contractor’s Superintendent

In accordance with Article 5.5, “Cooperation of Contractor,” the contractor must designate, in writing, a competent English-speaking superintendent employed by the contractor. The superintendent must be experienced with the work being performed and capable of reading and understanding the contract. The contractor must ensure that the superintendent is available at all times, and able to receive instructions and act for the contractor.

The Engineer may suspend work without suspending working day charges if a superintendent meeting the specified criteria is not available.

Upon written request, the Engineer may remove from the project any employee or representative of the contractor (or subcontractor) who, in the opinion of the Engineer, does not perform work in a proper or skillful manner or who is disrespectful, intemperate, disorderly, uncooperative, or otherwise objectionable.

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