Chapter 7: Plans, Specifications & Estimates (PS&E) Development

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Section 1: Introduction

Preliminary engineering and design elements common to both non-construction and construction projects are presented in the Local Government Projects Policy Manual (LGPP Manual) Chapter 4 – Preliminary Engineering and Design. Design elements unique to construction projects are included in this chapter, Plans, Specifications and Estimates (PS&E) Development. The PS&E phase of a local government (LG) construction project generally occurs after the execution of the advance funding agreement (AFA), completion of other project initiation tasks as described in Chapter 2 and after the 30 percent complete design is reviewed in the Preliminary Engineering and Design phase described in Chapter 4. This phase may run concurrently with tasks outlined in Chapter 5 – Environmental Compliance and Chapter 6 – Right of Way and Utilities. If the LG intends to seek federal funding, the project must comply with the provisions of 23 CFR §771.113. Proceeding with tasks concurrently is done with some risk by the LG if all of the environmental commitments have not been cleared.

Typically, a state letter of authority (SLOA) and possibly a federal project authorization and agreement (FPAA) are required prior to initiation of right-of-way acquisition and are issued by TxDOT upon the completion of the Environmental Compliance phase (see Chapter 5). The LG should coordinate with the TxDOT district office early in the PS&E phase of the project in order to proceed efficiently with design.

As noted in Chapter 4, environmental permits, issues and commitments (EPICs) are any permits, issues, coordination commitments,or mitigation obligations necessary to address, offset or compensate for social, economic or environmental impacts of a project. EPICs must be identified early in the Preliminary Design phase and carried through PS&E as described in Chapter 5. EPICs must be specified in the construction documents and will be monitored for compliance during the project and for a defined period of time after construction completion. Each section of this chapter of the LGPP Manual presents general information followed by topics containing more detailed information related to the laws and statutes regulating the activities associated with that topic. The sections describe procurement matters relating to engineering services; preparation of the plans, bid documents, specifications; and construction cost estimates, as well as detailing the processes needed to release projects for construction. The companion chapter of the Local Government Project Management Guide (LGPM Guide) contains the required practices and the responsibilities of the LG and TxDOT related to each topic.

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