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Construction Administration

Best Practices: Streamlining Compliance with Technology

June 24, 2023

Infrastructure construction projects generate huge volumes of data—and the complexity keeps increasing. Asset owners, consultants, contractors and other stakeholders must manage a tangled web of funding sources, workflows, compliance issues and reporting requirements. There is a growing need for data to become more connected to enable collaboration across planning, design, construction and asset management. Everyone needs to be working with the same set of data to complete projects successfully and with full accountability.

It’s never been more important to have the right systems and processes in place to capture, collect and record information in an auditable digital environment that allows for collaboration across disciplines. Let’s break down how technology facilitates some of the most common types of audits in the industry.

Bidding: Submissions, Letting and Analysis

Key Issues:

Preventing rigging or manipulation and ensuring fair competition in bidding is essential for maintaining trust and integrity in our industry. Agencies need to be able to audit and analyze patterns in bid behavior and verify that the process is competitive. This requires the ability to detect irregularities such as front loading and unbalanced bidding.

It is increasingly viewed as a best practice to conduct pre-award analysis to validate that bids are within normal historical ranges and trends. The recent spike in inflation has made assessing historical bid prices more challenging, but also more important. In an environment where costs are harder to predict, stakeholders need more comprehensive data and analytical tools to understand the bidding landscape and ensure that the process is fair, secure and transparent.

Technology and Best Practices:

AASHTOWare Project™ contains several features that help facilitate auditable record-keeping, including cost estimation, standardized bid setup and preparation of bid documents in a secure system with built-in business rule validation and error checking. The introduction of AASHTOWare Project Data Analytics™ Software as a Service is helping agencies take the next step forward in analyzing data to ensure compliance and accountability, delivering enhanced analytical capabilities in a simplified SaaS user experience.

Using an online bidding platform like Infotech’s Bid Express™ brings additional value and functionality to help eliminate errors, ensure the security and auditability of the bidding process and associated documentation. Enabling online bidding can also increase the number of bids per project by 40-70% to promote a healthy, competitive marketplace.

Inspection Workflows

Key Issues:

Historically, inspection reports—and vital details like material usage and quality checks—were captured on paper and digitized after the fact by scanning paper forms or manually typing reports based on hand-written notes. This disjointed process introduces multiple potential sources of error and requires redundant data entry. Details could easily be omitted or misreported, resulting in delayed or incorrect payments to contractors, inadequate information for future maintenance planning and other negative consequences.

Capturing data right the first time is essential, both in the short term to complete projects successfully, and over the long term to be prepared for audits and support effective management over the full asset lifecycle.

Technology and Best Practices:

The ability to capture accurate data at the source is critical for ensuring that your projects are ready to stand up to an audit, and reliance on paper forms for inspections has long been a weakness from an audit perspective. Technology helps asset owners and field crews address this issue head-on.

Today’s best practices center on giving inspectors the tools to create a secure digital audit trail starting at the moment of data capture. Infotech has tackled this challenge with our Appia® solution. Appia provides a simple, streamlined interface for creating and submitting digital daily reports in the field using a tablet or phone. This enables inspectors to capture comprehensive data at the job site and mitigate the risk of errors—helping ensure their work is audit-ready and there is a reliable source of truth for as-built information. Inspectors are able to spend up to 75% more time in the field, focused on capturing accurate data instead of traveling back to the office in time to enter reports.

Contract Administration

Key Issues:

Infrastructure projects frequently use funding from multiple sources including federal, state and local government budgets, special use-it-or-lose-it grants and programs, and a variety of private contributors. It’s vital to ensure a smooth distribution of those funds as work is completed.

Making sure contractors are paid for their work in a timely manner has also become an increasingly hot issue in our industry. Prompt payment requirements apply both at the federal and state levels, with growing scrutiny of subcontractor payment verification practices by the FHWA and state agencies. At the same time, owners and prime contractors must maintain compliance with requirements to allocate appropriate amounts of work to disadvantaged business enterprises.

Technology and Best Practices:

AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights and Labor™ is a great tool for contract and payroll management and reporting. However, increased federal scrutiny of prompt payment issues in particular has created new challenges for state DOTs, as well as local agencies and contractors.

States are under pressure to not only keep records, but engage in proactive monitoring and enforcement of prompt payment rules. While this remains a challenge for the industry as a whole, new solutions like Infotech’s Signet™ service are helping bridge the gap between existing system and business processes to streamline compliance in these areas.

Ohio recently implemented the Signet service for prompt payment compliance, resulting in a 40% increase in subcontractor payment verification and a dramatic 70% reduction in the amount of time dedicated to recording payments by contract administrators. These improvements were made possible by a streamlined reporting process with automatic reminder emails based on state and federal requirements.

The Bottom Line

Successfully managing infrastructure projects demands more data—and collaboration—than ever before. In an increasingly complex and connected business environment, it is a challenge to keep data secure and auditable while enabling collaboration across the asset lifecycle. Infotech is focused on simplifying compliance and audit concerns with technology solutions for bidding, contract administration and inspection workflows.


Joe Flynn
Sr. Marketing Specialist
As a Sr. Marketing Specialist at Infotech, Joe creates content and develops data-driven strategies to engage and inform stakeholders in the construction industry and public works agencies nationwide.