Section 5: Plans, Specifications & Estimates (PS&E) Requirements

After determining the best option(s) from Section 4 for the project, PS&E requirements should be addressed to provide the prime construction contractor with adequate information to perform work activities in the most safe and efficient manner possible.

The PS&E should integrate all the pieces together to provide the basis for the construction contract(s). Details explaining the activities that must be provided (if any), how they will be accomplished and who will be responsible should be included in the PS&E.

Again, early coordination with the divisions and FHWA is important when incorporating hazardous material contamination activities into the PS&E. DES field coordination personnel can help districts develop plans, specifications and estimate requirements based on the method chosen for preventive action during construction. ENV personnel can help to determine monitoring and testing requirements and to coordinate preventive action plans with TCEQ. The GSD can assist in the preparation of an emergency contract or purchase order. These contracts may be prepared in advance, so they are ready to execute if there is a strong certainty of encountering contamination. ENV can assist in obtaining environmental engineering services.

Emergency contracts, pre-arranged purchase orders or change orders to perform preventive action (Options 2, 3 or 4, respectively) can be used for known contamination sites and when unanticipated contamination is encountered during construction. If an investigation or the environmental site assessment indicates there is a chance of encountering contamination, the provisions of Item 6.10 – Control of Materials of the Standard Specifications for Construction of Highways, Streets and Bridges would apply. If contamination is encountered during construction, preventive action can be accomplished by issuing an emergency purchase order for a specialty contractor, a purchase order for a state specialty contractor already under contract to the district, or a change order allowing the prime construction contractor to perform the work or hire a subcontractor. In any case, TxDOT must hire an environmental consultant to perform tests, develop preventive action plans and coordinate with regulatory agencies. If there is a strong likelihood that contamination will be encountered, these services should be coordinated with ENV early to ensure consultant availability, avoid costly delays and allow the consultant to monitor for PELs while the prime construction contractor works in potentially contaminated areas.

If Option 2 (emergency contracts), 3 (pre-arranged purchase orders), 4 (change orders) or 6 (the responsible party option) is chosen, it may only be necessary to include plan notes to inform the construction contractor that contamination is possible. Environmental site assessment and investigation reports can be made available to prospective bidders. If known contamination exists, the plans should include as much information as possible about the location/nature of the contamination and reiterate the provisions of Item 6 for encountering contamination. The plans should minimize interruption to the prime construction contractor's operations. If possible, work sequencing should be developed, allowing the prime construction contractor to work simultaneously in other areas while the specialty contractor performs preventive action at the contaminated site.

For all of the options discussed above, monitoring of PELs can be performed by TxDOT's environmental consultant, or plan notes can be added to supplement Item 6 provisions and require the prime construction contractor to monitor PELs in accordance with OSHA requirements. A note can require the prime construction contractor to employ an industrial hygienist to monitor PELs in areas suspected or known to be contaminated; this allows the prime construction contractor to work until the need arises for a specialty contractor. With respect to monitoring PELs, consideration should be given to the responsibilities of TxDOT's environmental consultant. It may not be economical to employ a consultant during construction activities when there is only a slight chance of encountering contamination or where contamination amounts/levels are minimal.

When conditions require the use of a TxDOT specialty contractor to perform any preventive action activities — as opposed to the prime construction contractor — plan notes or details may be added to the PS&E alerting the contractor of potential contamination. Any information provided in the PS&E will allow the prime construction contractor to better prepare an accurate bid based upon possible delays and areas excluded from work.

Option 5 should be used only in exceptional cases. If chosen, justification must be provided to DES during the project development phase. Approval from the Administration through DES is required to allow preventive action work to be incorporated into the PS&E. When Option 5 is chosen, it is necessary to add provisions to the PS&E requiring the prime construction contractor to perform preventive action activities. The level of detail needed in the plans will increase substantially.

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The plans should show contamination location(s) and handling requirements. Detailed information that may be provided as part of the plan includes:

  • Project Layout Sheets indicating the locations of potentially contaminated sites and the preferred locations of stockpiles that may be needed within the project limits
  • Contamination Layout Sheets that may be used to show the contaminated sites in greater detail than the project layout sheets, if needed
  • Sequence of Work Sheets developed to minimize impact to construction and traffic and clearly delineate potentially contaminated sites
  • Quantity Sheets developed to separate construction items involving special description codes for work in contaminated areas; this aids in cost accounting and recovery efforts.
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Several special provisions may be required to allow the prime construction contractor to work with contaminated materials. General notes can be added to supplement the information provided in the special provisions and special specifications. TxDOT's environmental consultant will be instrumental in developing plan specifications for the preventive action work. Some of these specifications are explained as follows:

  • Special Provision “Important Notice to Contractors (Contamination Information)”: This special provision provides information concerning location, monitoring and testing requirements and responsibilities, excavation and de-watering procedures, as well as general preventive action information.
  • Special Provision to Item 7 – “Legal Relations and Responsibilities to the Public”: Item 7 should be supplemented by a special provision providing for any additional insurance that may be required and for the prime construction contractor’s Health and Safety Plan. This special provision should indicate that a portion of the work is located within a contaminated area. The Health and Safety Plan should conform to all federal and state requirements for contractor personnel involved in construction activities within contaminated sites. Compliance with this plan is required for all contractors' onsite personnel. Additionally, a special provision to Item 7 should be included requiring the prime construction contractor to obtain a minimum amount of insurance, based on the limitations of amount of liability in the Civil Practice and Remedies Code - Section 101.023, to protect TxDOT. The prime construction contractor could include additional coverage, but it would be subject to competitive bids as overhead (special provision to Item 7). It is assumed that the bonding company would require pollution liability insurance for the contractor's bond for the project.
  • Special Provision “Control of Materials”: 6.10 - “Hazardous Materials” should be amended to require the prime construction contractor to be responsible for removal or disposition of hazardous materials on any site owned or controlled by the State.
  • Special Provision to Item 110, “Excavation”: 110.2 - “Construction” should be supplemented to provide information for handling contaminated excavation. 110.4 - “Payment” should be supplemented to provide special bid item descriptions to separate out the costs that are actually attributable to the contamination.
  • Special Provision to Item 400 – “Excavation and Backfill for Structures”: 400.3A - “Excavation” should be supplemented to provide information for disposal of contaminated excavation and de-watering activities. 400.5 - “Payment” should be supplemented to provide special bid item descriptions itemizing the costs actually attributable to the contamination.
  • Special Specification “Impermeable Liner”: This specification may be needed to prevent contaminants from re-entering newly constructed storm sewers.
  • Other: Special provisions should be provided for other items of work involving excavation of contaminated materials, such as drilled shafts and retaining walls.
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The estimate should provide special bid item description codes for all items involving excavation of contaminated materials. This provides accountability for possible cost recovery actions.

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