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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-107 [Final]

Effective Construction Project Staffing Strategies for Transportation Agencies

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Research Agency: University of Kentucky
Principal Investigator: Timothy Taylor
Effective Date: 6/28/2016
Completion Date: 9/30/2018
Comments: In publication.

BACKGROUND
 
Transportation agencies continue to struggle with constrained resources, often resulting in staff reductions. At the same time, agencies are challenged to ensure that legal, environmental, and other requirements are met and documented for all federal- and state-funded projects. As a result, many agencies have decided to hire full- or part-time consultants, create limited-term positions, or recruit co-op or similar staff in order to supplement their workforce. In order to provide more unified and efficient use of resources, there is a need to analyze current staffing practices, the use of supplemental resources, and the types of work being outsourced. Research is needed to develop guidance to help transportation agencies understand alternative ways to effectively and efficiently balance program oversight responsibilities using agency staff, consultants, and contractors.
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The objective of this research is to develop guidance for staffing transportation construction projects that (1) identifies current contracting methods and associated staffing used by transportation agencies; (2) identifies staffing strategies; (3) identifies knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualifications required for project inspection and testing staff; and (4) recommends best practices for balancing project oversight responsibilities using agency staff, consultants, and contractors for transportation construction projects.
The guidance should address a broad range of activities related to staffing of transportation construction projects such as, but not limited to the following:
  • Identifying variables for consideration (e.g., workforce labor agreements, peak and non-peak construction periods, types of consulting contracts and contracting methods, material sampling and testing, risk-based inspections, and success measures);
  • Evaluating the impact of technologies to inspect and manage transportation construction projects;
  • Identifying types of projects being outsourced;
  • Identifying consultant levels of responsibility and approval authority;
  • Developing effective procedures, protocols, and tools for resource acquisition and allocation; and
  • Developing a workforce planning toolkit with various optional inputs for project size, delivery method, cost, geography, required staffing, complexity, and technologies.
RESEARCH PLAN
 
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan proposed must be divided into 2 phases with tasks, with each task described in detail. Phase 1 will include the results of the research that (1) identifies current contracting methods and associated staffing used by transportation agencies; (2) identifies staffing strategies; (3) identifies knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualifications required for project inspection and testing staff; (4) outlines the guidance to be developed in Phase 2; and (5) lists proposed attendees for the Phase 2 workshop. An interim report will be prepared and a face-to-face meeting held with NCHRP to discuss the results of Phase 1 and the work plan for Phase 2. The project schedule shall include 2 months for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report. No work will be performed on Phase 2 without NCHRP approval. Phase 2 will include the development of the guidance as well as a workshop at the Keck Center in Washington, DC, to critique the guidance.The final deliverables shall include (1) final guidance for staffing transportation construction projects that (a) identifies current contracting methods and associated staffing used by transportation agencies; (b) identifies staffing strategies; (c) identifies knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualifications required for project inspection and testing staff; and (d) recommends best practices for balancing project oversight responsibilities using agency staff, consultants, and contractors for transportation construction projects; (2) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating all other specified deliverables of the research; (3) a PowerPoint presentation, with talking points, of the guidance that can be tailored for specific audiences; (4) a one-page fact sheet describing for executives the value of the guidance; and (5) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.
 
STATUS: In publication..
 

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