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The National Academies

NCHRP 10-125 [RFP]

Update Bridge Construction Requirements

Posted Date: 1/17/2023

  Project Data
Funds: $800,000
Contract Time: 36 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of each interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 7/10/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Ahmad Abu-Hawash
   Phone: 202.334.2257
   Email: aabu-hawash@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 3/7/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023

ATTENTION PROPOSERS: A request for proposals for NCHRP Project 10-125 was originally released on October 26, 2022; no award was made. The purpose of this Research Project Statement is to initiate a new competition for this project. This Research Project Statement has been slightly modified from the original statement. The project budget has been increased from $700,000 to $800,000 with an increased contract time of 36 months. The specified completion time for Phases I and II has been removed to allow for flexibility. Proposers shall include the schedule for Phases I and II in their research plans.

BACKGROUND

In 2020, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Bridges and Structures (COBS) completed a project to investigate the use and effectiveness of the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications (BCS). The project included a questionnaire to each state to determine the use of the document, a review of the document contents, the development of a prioritized approach for reorganizing and maintaining the document, and the development of prioritized recommendations for updating the document. The study concluded that the AASHTO LRFD BCS is being used by many state transportation agencies (STAs) on a regular basis, justifying future updates and maintenance. The study recommended (1) converting the document to a guide specification, (2) adding commentary similar to the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, and (3) updating existing content and adding new content as needed to be consistent with current industry standards and STA specifications. The study provided options for reorganizing the AASHTO LRFD BCS.

Research is needed to develop recommendations for updating the bridge construction requirements to be considered by the AASHTO COBS in its next update to the AASHTO LRFD BCS.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this research is to develop recommendations for effective bridge construction requirements that align with current bridge design and construction methods to provide clear expectations and minimize ambiguity. 

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

TASKS

Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.

PHASE I—Planning

Task 1. Conduct a literature review of state-of-the-practice documents on bridge construction requirements/provisions. The review shall include published and unpublished research conducted through the NCHRP; FHWA; industry groups; and other national, state, and pooled-fund sponsored research. The review shall include AASHTO's “Evaluation and Updating of the AASHTO LRFD BCS Final Report” (BCS Report) and other national and industry specifications and guides that include bridge construction requirements/provisions.

Task 2. Synthesize the results of the literature review to identify the knowledge gaps related to the research objective. These gaps should be addressed in the final product or the recommended future research as budget permits.

Task 3. Propose a plan, to be executed in Phase II, to achieve the research objective. At a minimum, the plan shall include:

  • A recommended approach for reorganizing the AASHTO LRFD BCS content, including references and commentary, using the Reorganization Option 1 presented in Section 4.1 of the BCS Report as a starting point. Updates may include modifying existing language and adding or deleting content.
  • A review of each section of the AASHTO LRFD BCS to develop recommendations for additions/changes/deletions.
  • A priority list for updating the sections of the AASHTO LRFD BCS.
  • A preliminary outline and table of contents of the draft language being proposed for consideration by AASHTO to incorporate in the next update of the AASHTO LRFD BCS (hereafter called AASHTO Deliverable).
  • A template for the proposed requirements to maintain consistency across all sections/subsections. The format shall meet the current AASHTO formatting guidelines.
  • A process to track changes and identify source documentation for changes and additions to facilitate future maintenance.
  • A plan to identify and engage stakeholders (e.g., industry, organizations, etc.) to seek input on the state of the practice.
  • A plan to collaborate with the AASHTO COBS technical committees to incorporate their ongoing initiatives that impact the construction specifications and facilitate implementation.

Task 4. Prepare Interim Report No. 1 that documents Tasks 1 through 3 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase II. 

Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 1 by the NCHRP, the research team will meet with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.

PHASE II—Execution

Task 5. Execute the plan according to the approved Interim Report No. 1 and update the preliminary outline, table of contents, and format of the AASHTO Deliverable after consideration of the panel’s review comments.

Task 6. Develop a complete sample section of the AASHTO Deliverable to be selected by the NCHRP. This section should be publication-ready with an appropriate level of detail. Include documentation of engagement with stakeholders and COBS technical committees. 

Task 7. Prepare Interim Report No. 2 that documents Tasks 5 and 6 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase III. 

Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 2 by the NCHRP, the research team will meet with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase III of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.

PHASE III—Draft Language Development

Task 8. Develop the remaining sections of the AASHTO Deliverable according to the approved Interim Report No. 2.

Task 9. Prepare Interim Report No. 3 that documents Task 8 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research no later than 6 months before the contract end date. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase IV.

Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 3 by the NCHRP, the research team will meet with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase IV of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.

PHASE IV—Final Products

Task 10. Revise the AASHTO Deliverable after consideration of the panel’s review comments.

Task 11. Plan and conduct an in-person workshop with the panel to review the draft AASHTO Deliverable. Revise the draft AASHTO Deliverable according to the outcomes of the workshop.

Note: The costs for the workshop, including invitational travel for 10 attendees and the costs associated with catering service for up to 20 attendees, should be included in the detailed budget for the research. For the purpose of estimating these costs, assume that the workshop will be held at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. The TRB will cover costs associated with NCHRP panel member travel.

Task 12. Submit the final deliverables, including (1) the AASHTO Deliverable, (2) a final report that documents the entire research effort, and (3) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” See Special Note J for additional information.

Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.

 SPECIAL NOTES

A. The research team should anticipate making presentations to appropriate technical committees at meetings of the AASHTO Committee on Bridges and Structures.

B. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2022. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow.

C. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8 ½” X 11” paper, and the entire proposal must not exceed 60 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected. For other requirements, refer to chapter V of the instructions.

D. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs have been modified to include a revised policy and instructions for disclosing Investigator Conflict of Interest. For more information, refer to chapter IV of the instructions. A detailed definition and examples can be found in the CRP Conflict of Interest Policy for Contractors. The proposer recommended by the project panel will be required to submit an Investigator Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form as a prerequisite for contract negotiations.

E. Proposals will be rejected if any of the proposed research team members work for organizations represented on the project panel. The panel roster for this project can be found at https://www.mytrb.org/OnlineDirectory/Committee/Details/6755. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

F. Proprietary Products - If any proprietary products are to be used or tested in the project, please refer to Item 6 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals.

G. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively knowledgeable in the problem area. The project panel will recommend their first choice proposal considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) how the proposer approaches inclusion and diversity in the composition of their team and research approach, including participation by certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; and, if relevant, (6) the adequacy of the facilities. A recommendation by the project panel is not a guarantee of a contract. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS - the contracting authority for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) will conduct an internal due diligence review and risk assessment of the panel’s recommended proposal before contract negotiations continue.

Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 11 of the proposal.

H. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academy of Sciences. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academy of Sciences. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB's Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB's policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, "Use of Copyrighted Material," in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.

I. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a "federally" Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.

J. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.

The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, and others in order to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.

K. If the team proposes a Principal Investigator who is not an employee of the Prime Contractor, or if the Prime Contractor is proposed to conduct less than 50% of the total effort (by time or budget), then section five of the proposal should include: (1) a justification of why this approach is appropriate, and (2) a description of how the Prime Contractor will ensure adequate communication and coordination with their Subcontractors throughout the project.

L. All budget information should be suitable for printing on 8½″ x 11″ paper. If a budget page cannot fit on a single 8½″ x 11″ page, it should be split over multiple pages. Proposers must use the Excel templates provided in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs.


Proposals must be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/7RhQM119F1C9XUadbJlF 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 3/7/2023.

This is a firm deadline, and extensions are not granted. In order to be considered for award, the agency's proposal accompanied by the executed, unmodified Liability Statement must be in our offices not later than the deadline shown, or the proposal will be rejected.

Liability Statement

The signature of an authorized representative of the proposing agency is required on the unaltered statement in order for TRB to accept the agency's proposal for consideration. Proposals submitted without this executed and unaltered statement by the proposal deadline will be summarily rejected. An executed, unaltered statement indicates the agency's intent and ability to execute a contract that includes the provisions in the statement.

Here is a fillable PDF version of the Liability Statement. A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at https://www.adobe.com.


General Notes

1. According to the provisions of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 21, which relates to nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs, all parties are hereby notified that the contract entered into pursuant to this announcement will be awarded without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

2. The essential features required in a proposal for research are detailed in the current brochure entitled "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals". Proposals must be prepared according to this document, and attention is directed specifically to Section V for mandatory requirements. Proposals that do not conform with these requirements will be rejected.

3. The total funds available are made known in the project statement, and line items of the budget are examined to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of funds to the various tasks. If the proposed total cost exceeds the funds available, the proposal is rejected.

4. All proposals become the property of the Transportation Research Board. Final disposition will be made according to the policies thereof, including the right to reject all proposals.

5. Potential proposers should understand that follow-on activities for this project may be carried out through either a contract amendment modifying the scope of work with additional time and funds, or through a new contract (via sole source, full, or restrictive competition).


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