The National Academies

NCHRP 10-68 [Completed]

Guidelines for the Use of Highway Pavement Warranties

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: Trauner Consulting Services, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Sidney Scott
Effective Date: 7/7/2005
Completion Date: 3/31/2010
Comments: NCHRP Report 699: Guidelines for the Use of Highway Pavement Warranties

State highway agencies have used both asphalt concrete and portland cement concrete pavement warranties for many years. Under a pavement-warranty specification, quality is measured by the actual performance of the pavement as opposed to the properties of the pavement materials and methods of construction. Pavement warranties require the construction contractor to guarantee the postconstruction performance of the pavement. The shifting of postconstruction performance risk from the state highway agency to the contractor is perceived to reduce premature pavement failures, reduce costs, and increase pavement quality.

Some states that use pavement warranties have reported a reduction in costs and an improvement in quality, while others have not. For example, the Wisconsin DOT has reported significant quality increases and overall cost reductions through the use of 5-year performance warranties for asphalt concrete pavements. However, an evaluation of 3-year workmanship and materials warranties completed by the Colorado DOT showed no discernible impact on quality or cost.

Research is needed to investigate the use of pavement warranties by state highway agencies. Understanding the impact of pavement warranties will be beneficial to both state highway agencies and industry. Guidelines are needed for assisting state highway agencies in determining when to use warranties and how best to apply them.

The objective of this research is to develop guidelines for the project-level application of pavement warranties. The guidelines will assist state highway agencies in determining when and how to use warranties for construction of both asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.


PHASE I (1.) Collect and review information relative to the application of pavement warranties at the project level. This information may be obtained from domestic and foreign literature, contacts with state highway agencies, industry organizations, state legislatures, and other sources. Analyze the information collected and identify factors needed to properly determine when and how to apply pavement warranties (e.g., types of warranties, cost, quality, performance, development and implementation period, and degree of owner and contractor satisfaction). (2.) Based on the information gathered in Task 1, develop a project-level method that a state highway agency can use to determine whether the use of a pavement warranty is the best option for a particular project. Evaluation criteria used in the method shall include, at a minimum, initial construction costs, inspection and testing costs, life-cycle costs, initial construction quality, and pavement performance during and after the warranty period. (3.) Apply the method developed in Task 2 to highway pavement projects in no fewer than five state highway agencies. Vet the results with each state agency. Document the results of the evaluation and the vetting. Refine the method as appropriate. (4.) Submit an interim report documenting the work completed in Tasks 1 through 3. Meet with the NCHRP panel to review the interim report and discuss the method for determining whether the use of a pavement warranty is the best option for a particular project. Work on Phase II will not begin without approval of the NCHRP panel.

PHASE II (5.) Based on panel guidance during the interim meeting, finalize the method developed in Phase I and develop guidelines for application of the method. (6.) Develop guidelines for how to best use pavement warranties in the construction of highway pavement projects. The guidelines shall address the following:
      • Selection of performance criteria;
      • Length of warranty;
      • Quality control and quality assurance;
      • Risk allocation;
      • Enforcement provisions (e.g., retainage, bonding, payment, prequalification)
      • Corrective action;
      • Exclusions and limitations (e.g., spot repair, preexisting conditions, acts of God);
      • Dispute resolution;
      • Incentive provisions; and
      • Implementation considerations (e.g., organizational structure, staffing needs, training needs, pilot projects and phase-in).

(7.) Draft proposed revisions to Appendix B-2 (a supplemental technical provision to the Guide Specifications for Highway Construction, 1998), of the AASHTO Primer on Contracting for the Twenty-first Century. (8.) Draft a proposed supplemental technical provision for the warranty of portland cement concrete pavements. The proposed provision will be suitable for inclusion in the AASHTO Primer on Contracting for the Twenty-first Century as Appendix B-3. (9.) Submit a final report documenting the entire research effort. Include the draft warranty specifications and the project-level application guidelines as a separate appendix.

Update: Research is currently underway. NCHRP Project 20-07 (201), "Use of Warranties in Highway Construction," was funded by the the AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways (SCOH) for $100,000 through NCHRP 20-07 Program, Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways. Since research on NCHRP Project 10-68 was just starting, NCHRP felt the most efficient thing to do was incorporate Project 20-07, Task 201 into Project 10-68 via a contract modification. An additional $100,000 was added to the original $300,000 funding for Project 10-68 and the scope of Project 10-68 was increased to include the folling tasks:
    Task 1. Collect and review information relative to the application of warranties in highway construction. The scope shall not be limited to pavement warranties but shall include all warranties used in highway construction. The information should be collected from domestic and foreign literature, state highway agencies, industry organizations, state legislatures and other organizations.

    Task 2. Develop a synthesis of the state of practice of warranties in highway construction. Specific items to be addressed in the synthesis shall include but not be limited to:

        • Length and extent of warranty;
        • Performance measures;
        • Risk allocation (including factors beyond the contractor's control);
        • Enforcement provisions;
        • Retainage;
        • Bonding requirements for the contractor;
        • Dispute resolution; and
        • Up to date guide specifications for construction and pavement warranties.

    Task 3. Identify areas of practice where gaps exist in either the use or effectiveness of highway warranties. Develop a strategy for advancing the use and effectiveness of highway warranties.

    Task 4. Present and vet the results of the Task 2 Synthesis and Task 3 Strategy to the AASHTO/ARTBA/AGC Joint Committee. Conduct a forum with members of the Joint Committee to solicit input on improving the Task 3 strategy.

    Task 5. Submit a draft final report as a separate stand alone appendix to the Interim Report for NCHRP Project 10-68.

    Task 6. Submit a revised final report as a stand alone document for publication and dissemination by NCHRP.

    Product Availability: The work associated with Project 20-07(201) Use of Warranties in Highway Construction was completed and a final report submitted for review by the Project 10-68 panel and approved.  The 20-07(201) work only involved Phase I of Project 10-68.  The completed final report for Project 20-07(201) was submitted to AASHTO after panel approval.  The final report for Project 10-68 has been published as NCHRP Report 699 Guidelines for the Use of Highway Pavement Warranties and is available with this link.  The CD-ROM, containing the Automated Decision Tool and Appendices A, B, and C, is also available for download as an ISO image.  Links to the ISO image and instructions for burning a CD-ROM from an ISO image are available with the above final report link.

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