The construction phase involves the transfer of contract plans and documents to the Resident Engineer and the construction process. The construction phase may require continued involvement from the Environmental Section, consultants, or resource agencies to ensure that the project is proceeding in accordance with permit conditions and requirements. The construction phase is complete when the Construction Section provides a copy of the completion / acceptance memo to the Project Manager.
Construction Inspections and Meetings
Required environmental commitments, environmental special provisions, mitigation or other environmental issues should be discussed at a pre-construction conference to ensure the contractor is fully aware of all environmental mitigation issues. This conference is attended by the contractor, Project Manager, resident engineer, a representative from Technical Services (including the Environmental Section) and/or the consultant. Resource agency staff may also be invited to meetings for projects with more substantial resource impacts or mitigation. The contractor's sequence of construction, type of equipment for performing various tasks, and methods of construction are presented. The pre-construction conference gives each party the opportunity to express their concerns relative to their specific interests. The Resident Engineer must be fully knowledgeable about the concerns of the resource agencies, environmental special provisions, and how mitigation is expected to be carried out.
Project Inspections During Construction
Representatives from resource agencies quite often visit the project site during construction to inspect the progress of the work. Generally, these visits are satisfactory and many of the representatives do not choose to attend the final inspection. VTrans Environmental Specialists also typically inspect construction sites to monitor progress and compliance with special provisions and mitigation requirements.
Any resource agency that has a concern relative to any aspect of the construction on a project may require an on-site meeting as a permit condition, and that requirement can be incorporated into the project special provisions. This is quite common when construction is required close to or in sensitive wetlands, or archeological or historic resources. It is critical that the requested resource agency specialist be available for scheduled meetings along with the agency's resource specialist so that decisions can be made at this meeting, limiting the contractor’s basis for claims of project delays.
After notice from the Contractor of presumed completion of the project, the Construction Section, in coordination with the Project Manager and Technical Services, will schedule a date for a final inspection of the project. If the inspection finds all work completed, the Contractor will be informed in writing of the acceptance of work, as of the final inspection date. If the work is not complete, or unsatisfactory, the Contractor will be given instructions for corrective action. The corrective action must be completed to the satisfaction of the Resident Engineer and the Project Manager before the project will be accepted. Resource agencies or other interested parties may be invited to the final inspection.
After the construction work has been completed, a schedule of post-construction monitoring of mitigation sites or other project components may be undertaken. Post-construction mitigation monitoring, if required, typically lasts for two to five years following construction, and involves at least annual visits to the site to monitor progress and identify problems. Monitoring may involve formal data collection such as vegetation plots, photographs at photo stations, water measurements, or other methods. Typically, a brief report is prepared and distributed to resource agencies following annual monitoring. The monitoring schedule, methods, and reporting procedures are determined earlier in project development, as part of mitigation planning.