Accurate documentation during construction on Locally Administered Projects

Many Local Public Agencies (LPAs) have the desire to take advantage of the LAP program offered by VDOT and FHWA but the concept of accurate documentation and all that goes with it can seem daunting. The first thing to know about being involved in the LAP program is that both VDOT and FHWA want you to succeed and are there to assist those LPAs that desire to advance their program and take the necessary steps required to accomplish that goal.

The LAP program was created in order to allow LPAs more control over their infrastructure improvements but also to assist VDOT in improving that infrastructure more expeditiously by utilizing LPA staff to administer contracts and thereby reduce the workload placed on the Department by the increased transportation demands so prevalent today.

So, what is required to successfully document Construction activities on site in order to ensure that full reimbursement is achieved for applicable activities? Glad you asked…what follows is intended to be an introduction to Construction documentation as opposed to an all-inclusive list that stands on its own as a checklist.

Documentation IS the main deliverable for Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) services. The Daily Work Report (DWR) is the means by which this deliverable is achieved. An accepted acronym provided by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) is FAT, which stands for gathering Factual, Accurate, and Timely information on the project. The DWR should stand alone and tell a factual and detailed story of the activities on site for each work shift. Anyone reading the DWRs should be able to accurately understand what occurred on the project without having to know the history of the project. In order to eliminate the possibility of relying on the memory of inspection staff, DWRs must be generated in a timely manner. As such all DWRs should be generated within 24 hours of an events occurrence.

Even more than communication in emails, the information included in the DWR should be considered the main evidence that will be utilized to establish positions in a claim’s scenario. For this reason, there is no room for opinions or anything other than unbiased information regarding project activities. Presuming upon the reason why a Contractor did or did not take an action, unless a conversation was held wherein the information was received directly from Contractor personnel, is STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

In general, the following items are widely accepted as the minimum required for a standard DWR:

  • Date
  • Weather
  • Contractor’s Equipment
  • Contractor’s Staff Items of work & location (with reference to project schedule item numbers as applicable)
  • Materials delivered to the site (with required documentation)
  • Pay Items / Quantity of Work
  • Communication held (phone, e-mail, etc.)
  • Safety issues
  • Visitors to the Job Site
  • Delays (also noting cause of delay)
  • Changed conditions experienced – with details
  • Pay Items / Quantity of Work

VDOT has embraced what has come to be known as “The 7 R’s of Construction” when it comes to project documentation. In short, the point of CEI services is to ensure that the Right materials are put in the Right way, at the Right time, in the Right place, in the Right quantities, having the Right documentation in order to make the Right payment to the Contractor.

If your agency is looking to better understand the requirements of project delivery in the LAP program, we would consider it a privilege to conduct a lunch & learn session on topics of your choosing. If you are interested in advancing your program through a no obligation training session, please contact Emily Ripka at 804.466.0455 (mobile) or

Written by Paul Moose, PE, Locality Program Manager