Fabrication Shop Inspection of Bridge Components – Michigan Requirements

01.31.19   Tiffany D. Vorhies, NACE CIP-2 | More by this Author

Fabrication Shop Inspection of Bridge Components – Michigan Requirements

Fabrication shop inspection of bridge components is a hot topic for local agencies in Michigan. SME takes calls and questions every day from representatives of cities, villages, road commissions, fabrication shops, contractors, and consulting engineers. We're sharing our list of the most commonly asked questions along with answers that might help you navigate the maze and meet all MDOT requirements.

The information below is based on SME’s years of experience managing fabrication shop inspection work for the state and for local agencies. We do not speak on behalf of MDOT, the FHWA, or any specific local agencies.

Q: When am I required to follow the state inspection requirements?
A: In general, if any state or federal dollars are involved, MDOT standard specifications and the MDOT MQAP Manual must be followed. If the project was let through the MDOT Letting site, then state or federal dollars were involved. Note: Per 1.02.02A, the local agency can submit their own QA procedures to the FHWA for approval.

NOTE: If state or federal dollars aren’t involved, inspection is still required per the MDOT standard specifications. The difference is that the owner/engineer of these projects must define the level of inspection. Some elect to follow the MQAP manual and some modify the requirements.

Q: Where do I find the MDOT inspection requirements?
A: Most of the requirements are in the MQAP Manual. However, the MDOT standard specifications and special provisions may have additional requirements. First, check whether your special provisions require additional reviews, then the MQAP Manual is your next step. Chapter 7 of the manual is a good place to start, as it has an index of specific items and a basis of acceptance table. This will indicate whether fabrication inspection is required. You can also contact SME for help when trying to determine inspection requirements.

Q: How do I find my items in the MQAP manual?
A: There are a few options. You can key word search the electronic version, but the quickest way is by knowing the standard specification section of your items. The MQAP Manual numbering correlates to the standard specification section numbers.

Q: Can the local engineer elect to waive inspection requirements?
A: We get this one a lot. The general answer is that funding can be compromised if the inspection requirements are waived. We have heard of several cases where funding was reduced because some inspections were not performed. We have also assisted local agencies with after-the fact testing in order to receive payment. (Note: this is never cheaper and requires an elaborate approval process from state and federal representatives, sometimes involving destructive testing and rebuilding of components.)

Q: What do third party companies provide as documentation of inspection?
A: SME compiles one comprehensive final pdf package in general accordance with MDOT’s Structural Fabrication Unit’s E-construction Process. We use MDOT’s bookmarking template and checklist so you can quickly find specific documents. The package includes: documents from the fabricator, material test reports, QC reports, inspection documents, Buy-America step certifications, important emails, drawings, and any other applicable documentation per the checklist.

If you have questions regarding fabrication shop inspections of bridge components or need help navigating the MDOT requirements, contact Tiffany D. Vorhies, NACE CIP-2.

Click here to view a list of all of the fabrication shops SME regularly visits.


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