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 contractor may dispute the instructions through proper channels when in disagreement with the engineer’s decisions.

Usually, the methods or procedures used in doing the work are the responsibility of the contractor. If the specifications or plans specify the methods or procedures to follow in 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.

Issue written direction or approval to the contractor in a timely manner as needed and when required by the contract. Note verbal direction or approval provided to the contractor in the project diary. Subsequent to verbal direction or approval, issue a written notification to the contractor documenting the engineer’s actions.

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Authority and Duties of Inspectors

Article 5.7, “Inspection,” of the Standard Specifications outlines department inspector authority and responsibilities. Inspectors are authorized to inspect all the work, materials, and equipment used on the project. 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:

  • reporting the progress of the work and contractor performance to the engineer
  • notifying the engineer and contractor when materials furnished or work performed fail to fulfill contract requirements
  • communicating to the contractor all problems in a timely manner
  • documenting all matters related to the prosecution of the contract and the progress of the work as required for payment in the project diary
  • following the plans and specifications and acting as the authorized department representative.

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.

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Contractor’s Superintendent

In accordance with Article 5.5, “Cooperation of Contractor,” of the Standard Specifications, 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. Work may be suspended if a qualified superintendent is not available, however working day charges will not be suspended.

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