The Framework of a Multi-Level Database of Highway Construction Performance Times


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Virginia Tech


Accurate and reasonable contract time is important to all aspects of a highway construction project. Unreasonably short contract times can raise the bid price, restrict qualified bidders from submitting bids, reduce the quality of the work, and increase the potential for legal disputes. Conversely, unreasonably long contract times encourage less qualified contractors to submit a bid and are a general inconvenience to the traveling public. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognizes this, and has recommended that all state highway agencies develop a standardized method for estimating contract performance time. To date, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) does not have an established method.

One major portion of this work is the development of the framework for a multi-level time estimating system to aid in the establishment of contract performance times. This system parallels the VDOT cost estimating process, refining estimates as design details become available along the Project Development Concurrent Engineering Process (PDCEP). Three distinct stages exist along the PDCEP that will facilitate the use of a tool for estimating contract time. Sufficient information to begin the conceptual estimate is known as the project enters the six year plan. The parametric estimate may commence as the project enters the scoping phase. Finally, details for the pre-advertisement time estimate are available upon project field inspection. The second major component of this work, the pre-advertisement estimating database system (BIDDS – Bid Item Duration Data System) was constructed during this work. BIDDS uses project information and characteristics to filter through historical performance time data, returning production data from similar projects. Production data is returned at the bid item level to assist in the estimation of production rates, for calculating activity durations.



multi-level database, estimate refinement, design progression