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Section 4: Use of the Consultant Pool

Consultant firms who are under contract with the Bridge Division to perform bridge inspections in Texas are available for use by the districts. New inspection contracts are executed every two years by the Bridge Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division. The necessary procedures that must be followed by the districts to utilize these consultants is described below.

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Request for Consultant Inspection

The district must initially provide the following three items to the Bridge Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division with a lead time of at least three months:

  • A request in writing
  • The total numbers of bridges to be inspected broken out by county
  • An identification of the bridges as being on- and/or off-system
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Work Authorization Issuance

The Bridge Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division will send to the district a blank Work Authorization along with a fee schedule for the recommended consulting firm who has been contacted. The district then proceeds with the following:

  • Complete the Work Authorization and fee schedule.
  • Include description of where the bridge inspections will take place (multiple counties may be included in the same Work Authorization).
  • Complete the fee schedule with the number of bridges to be inspected by type.
  • Include the total dollar amount on the Work Authorization.
  • Contact the consultant firm and agrees to a termination date for the completion of the inspections, which is entered on the Work Authorization.
  • Send the Work Authorization to the inspection firm for signature.
  • Fill out and send to the Bridge Division a copy of the State Agency Uniform Nepotism Disclosure Form - June 2005.

The Bridge Division will execute the Work Authorization and notify the district and the consulting firm once the Work Authorization has been executed. The consultant may begin bridge inspections upon execution of the Work Authorization.

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Managing Consultant Bridge Inspections

To ensure that bridge inspections are performed in a competent and timely fashion, the district will perform oversight of the work by following these steps:

  • Verify the bridge inspection firm's Project Manager and individual Team Leaders against the list provided by the Bridge Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division.
  • Periodically visit the firm’s inspection teams in the field to verify team composition and to observe actual inspections.
  • When completed inspections are submitted by the consultant, the District Bridge Inspection Office should review at least 10 percent of the office work and perform field reviews of 7 percent of the field work.
  • When invoices are submitted to the district by the consultant, they should be reviewed and submitted to the Finance Division as soon as possible (TxDOT has a maximum of 30 days to process an invoice from the date it is received to avoid payment of interest). Date-stamp each invoice, whether transmitted by mail or electronically, with the date on which the receiving TxDOT district received the invoice.
  • The district should monitor the amount of completed consultant bridge inspections to ensure that additional structures that might be added as the work progresses will have sufficient funds in the Work Authorization.
  • If additional funds or time is needed to complete the Work Authorization, a request for a Supplemental Agreement must be made to the Bridge Inspection Branch of the Bridge Division at least 2 weeks before the termination of the initial Work Authorization.
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Evaluation of Bridge Inspection Consultant Firm and Project Manager

When the bridge inspections covered by the Work Authorization are finished, the district should complete an evaluation form provided by the Consultant Contract Office of the Design Division. Refer to the Consultant Certification Information System for the evaluation form at https://www.dot.state.tx.us/des/ccis/Sign_On.htm. Evaluations should be submitted within 30 days of the completion of the Work Authorization. Properly evaluating the inspection firms ensures the overall quality of the work provided by the consultant, and also aids in the consultant pool selection for the next two-year cycle. The evaluations should be based on the following criteria:

Project Manager Evaluation

  • Accuracy and Completeness of Deliverables: Information and/or quantities are correct. Technical judgment was exercised. Quality assurance measures are implemented - apparent that deliverables are checked prior to submission. The Project Manager should be evaluated on the number of errors in the work and if Quality Assurance methods have been implemented to prevent errors in the files before submission.
    • -15 points - Numerous files were submitted with significant errors and it is apparent that they were not checked before submission.
    • -12 points - A few files were submitted with significant errors and it is apparent that they were not checked before submission.
    • -9 points - Numerous files were submitted with errors that were not significant but made it questionable if the files were checked before submission.
    • -6 points - A few files were submitted that had errors that were not significant but made it questionable if the files were checked before submission.
    • 0 points - Few errors that were easily corrected.
    • +3 points -Very few errors that were easily corrected, it is apparent that files are checked before submission.
    • +6 points - No errors, it is apparent that a Quality Assurance process is in place to produce a quality product.
  • Deliverable Presentation and Format: Products are neat, organized, clear, and in conformance with applicable standards and requirements. The Project Manager should be evaluated on how well the reports were filled out and how the files and folders were put together.
    • -12 points - All files and/or reports are not per the contract or TxDOT standards. Folders are not put together in an acceptable manner. Forms used are in a different format than the TxDOT standard forms.
    • -9 points - A few files were not put together per the contract. Some of the submitted forms were a different format than the TxDOT standard forms.
    • -6 points - Folders and reports were acceptable, but need improvement.
    • 0 points - Folders, files and reports were satisfactory.
    • +6 points - Excellent presentation. Folders, files and reports exceed requirements.
  • Schedule Management: Generally adheres to the schedule and meets major deadlines. Also, proactive in addressing issues potentially affecting schedule. (Missed deadlines attributed to slow or poorly timed TxDOT responses should not count against the provider.) The Project Manager should be evaluated on making sure bridges are inspected with 30 days of the assigned inspection frequency and there was coordination with the District on the inspection schedule so as not to "compress" the schedule on the next inspection cycle. All inspection reports should be completed and returned to the District within 45 days of inspection.
    • -12 points - Missed deadlines and permitted bridge to be out of compliance in regards to their inspection dates; did not consult with the District and inspection dates are compressed for the next inspection cycle.
    • -9 points - Bridge inspections were in compliance but the 45 day requirement to return completed reports to the District were always missed.
    • -6 points - Bridge inspections were in compliance but the 45 day requirement to return completed reports to the District were periodically missed without notifying the District.
    • -3 points - Bridge inspections were in compliance but the 45 day requirement to return completed reports to the District were periodically missed (the District received notification of the late submittal).
    • 0 points - Deadlines met; effective schedule management.
    • +6 points - Compressed schedule met.
  • Responsiveness to Review Comments: Comments (many or few) are appropriately addressed within one review iteration. The Project Manager should be evaluated on making sure that review comments are addressed quickly and correctly.
    • -9 points - Multiple iterations are always required.
    • -6 points - Multiple iterations are routinely required.
    • -3 points - Multiple iterations are occasionally required.
    • 0 points - Comments are appropriately addressed within one review iteration.
  • Level of TxDOT Oversight: TxDOT's involvement is commensurate with project requirements. Additional time and attention is not required as a result of the provider's need for management or technical support. The Project Manager should be evaluated on how much additional time and attention was required by TxDOT to ensure that the provider would fulfill the requirements of the Contract.
    • -9 points - Significantly more than expected.
    • -6 points - Increased review time; TxDOT interaction needed on basic technical issues.
    • -3 points - More than expected.
    • 0 points - As expected; normal oversight.
    • +3 points - Less than expected; Project Manager's expertise and experience provided significant benefit; saved TxDOT time.
  • Project Manager Responsiveness/Availability: Project Manager promptly returns calls and e-mails. Is available for questions and meetings as needed.
    • -6 points - Problem with response rate and/or availability.
    • -3 points - Project Manager slow to respond; inconsistent availability.
    • 0 points - Responsive and available.
  • Coordination and Communication: There is a clear, effective communication structure. Issues are communicated promptly. Documentation and coordination is professional. Familiar with and effective in required/necessary external coordination (with the public, other agencies, etc.). The Project Manager should be evaluated on how promptly and accurately issues are related to TxDOT and other entities (cities or counties).
    • -6 points - Less than satisfactory.
    • -3 points - Acceptable, but lacks consistency; could be better.
    • 0 points - Good coordination and communication.
    • +3 points - Communication and coordination capabilities add to quality of project/ process.
  • Reliability/Responsibility: Takes responsibility - no excuses. Proactive in avoiding problems, bringing solutions to TxDOT, and obtaining necessary information, as appropriate. Stays on top of the situation.
    • -6 points - Unacceptable; expected TxDOT to solve issues.
    • -3 points - Acceptable, but needs improvement.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory; reliable and responsible.
    • +3 points - Above satisfactory; made TxDOT's job easier.
  • Subconsultant Management: Subs were well-managed. Issues, if any, were not apparent and were managed so not to interfere with production. Project Manager takes responsibility for all products. Poor subconsultant performance not an issue.
    • -6 points - Sub issues not managed well; coordination affected.
    • -3 points - Less than satisfactory.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory subconsultant management.
  • Scope Management - Supplemental Work: Scope changes (additional work) identified in advance and well supported, reasonable time and cost estimates provided. Concerns identified in a timely manner that could affect scope or schedule. The Project Manager should be evaluated on how well he manages additional work added (This additional work must be approved by the Bridge Division and added to the contract through a Supplemental Agreement.
    • -3 points - Less than satisfactory.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory scope management.
  • Contract Administration: Project Manager is familiar with and abides by the terms and conditions of the contract and/or work authorization. Coordinates with TxDOT as required, provides appropriate progress reports, and remains aware of end dates. The Project Manager should be evaluated on how well he meets the terms of the contract and work authorization.
    • -3 points - Less than satisfactory.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory; contract terms and conditions followed.
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Firm Evaluation

  • Responsiveness: Anticipates or responds timely to needs identified by TxDOT, such as adjusting resources in response to schedule demands, replacing project manager, task leaders, or other staff, if problems exist. The Firm should be evaluated on how well they can add additional resources or replace key inspection members if problems exist.
    • -15 points - The firm is non-responsive and problems are not addressed.
    • -12 points - The majority of issues are not addressed in a timely manner.
    • -9 points - Numerous issues were not addressed in a timely manner.
    • -6 points - Most issues were addressed in a timely manner but some issues were not addressed.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory, firm was responsive.
    • +3 points - Firm goes above and beyond normal practices in response to TxDOT needs.
  • Resource Management: Personnel/expertise and/or equipment are appropriately allocated. Promptly/adequately addresses staffing issues, when necessary. Minimum reallocation of staff throughout project life except for instances beyond the provider's control (retirements, resignations, dismissals, unexpected/excessive delays imposed by TxDOT or others).
    • -15 points - Personnel or equipment not appropriate; multiple changes in Project Manager or key staff.
    • -12 points - The majority of resource issues are not addressed in a timely manner
    • -9 points - Numerous resource issues were not addressed in a timely manner.
    • -6 points - Response to personnel or equipment issues were less than satisfactory.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory resource management.
    • +3 points - Minimum reallocation of staff when significant uncontrollable delays occur.
  • Invoicing: Neat, accurate, consistent, includes required back-up, prepared according to payment terms, and timely (according to contract terms).
    • -9 points - Frequently late or consistently submitted with problems.
    • -6 points - Less than satisfactory; periodically late; frequent problems.
    • -3 points - Needs improvement.
    • 0 points - Satisfactory; on-time; generally good form.
    • +3 points - on-time; exceptional form; saves TxDOT time.

Once an evaluation has been completed, print out a copy and sign. Send the signed version to the project manager of the firm being evaluated for review and comment. Make sure that the project manager has signed the evaluation after the review and any comments added. Have the project manager return the evaluation to the originating bridge inspection office. Send a copy of the evaluation form, with both signatures, to the Bridge Inspection Office of the Bridge Division. Enter any comments from the project manager of the evaluated firm into the Consultant Certification Information System through the previously used link.


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