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2023 N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 1027 Guide to Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining Transportation Infrastructure Construction Inspectors Christofer M. Harper Jon Elliott Paul Goodrum Manideep Tummalapudi Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO Daniel Tran Mamdouh Mohamed University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Timothy R.B. Taylor Hala Nasseradine University of Kentucky Lexington, KY Ryan Grith Steve Waddle Kentucky Transportation Center Lexington, KY David Hoyne GPI, Inc. Montpelier, VT Julie Kliewer DRB Consulting, LLC Minneapolis, MN Subscriber Categories Construction â¢ Education and Training Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Ofcials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed, and implementable research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing state departments of transportation (DOTs) administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local or regional interest and can best be studied by state DOTs individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transporta- tion results in increasingly complex problems of wide interest to high- way authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniquesâthe National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), United States Department of Transportation, under Agree- ment No. 693JJ31950003. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRBâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRBâs relationship to the National Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of special- ists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs iden- tified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transportation departments, by committees of AASHTO, and by the FHWA. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation (R&I), and each year R&Iâs recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Direc- tors and the National Academies. Research projects to address these topics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Academies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs. Published research reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to https://www.mytrb.org/MyTRB/Store/default.aspx Printed in the United States of America NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 1027 Project 23-05 ISSN 2572-3766 (Print) ISSN 2572-3774 (Online) ISBN 978-0-309-68771-3 Library of Congress Control Number 2022951768 Â© 2023 by the National Academy of Sciences. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the graphical logo are trade- marks of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, APTA, FAA, FHWA, FTA, GHSA, or NHTSA endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the FHWA; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board does not develop, issue, or publish standards or specifi- cations. The Transportation Research Board manages applied research projects which pro- vide the scientific foundation that may be used by Transportation Research Board sponsors, industry associations, or other organizations as the basis for revised practices, procedures, or specifications. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names or logos appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report.
e National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. e National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. e National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. e three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. e National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. e Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. e mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. e Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. e program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 1027 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Waseem Dekelbab, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs, and Manager, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Sid Mohan, Associate Program Manager, Implementation and Technology Transfer, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Ann M. Hartell, Senior Program Officer Dajaih Bias-Johnson, Senior Program Assistant Natalie Barnes, Director of Publications Heather DiAngelis, Associate Director of Publications NCHRP PROJECT 23-05 PANEL Field of AdministrationâArea of Agency Administration Darrin P. Beckett, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (retired), Frankfort, KY (Chair) Gary E. Angles, Ohio Department of Transportation, Columbus, OH Lori A. Copeland, Idaho Transportation Department, Garden City, ID Stephen T. Muench, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Randall S. Over, Columbus State Community College, Middleburg Heights, OH Shawn A. Smith, Maine Department of Transportation, Augusta, ME Sharon D. Taylor, North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, ND Lee E. Upkins, Jacobs, Mableton, GA Felix R. Gonzalez, FHWA Liaison Glenn Page, AASHTO Liaison
NCHRP Research Report 1027: Guide to Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining Transporta- tion Infrastructure Construction Inspectors (Guide) describes approaches that state depart- ments of transportation (DOTs) can use to build and sustain a construction inspection workforce. The Guide will be of interest to those responsible for recruiting, training, and managing inspectors for transportation infrastructure projects. State DOTs rely on the construction inspection process to verify that construction work on transportation infrastructure projects meets standards and specifications and is in compliance with approved plans. The transportation construction inspectors (CIs) who perform inspections may be state DOT employees, or a state DOT may draw CIs from local governments or private sector firms. In recent years, forces affecting the CI workforce are creating challenges for state DOTs. Many state DOTs are facing high rates of attrition and loss of institutional knowledge as seasoned CIs retire or the agency workforce is downsized. At the same time, fewer individuals recognize construction inspection as a career option. As a result, the number of candidate CIs is projected to be inadequate to meet current and future needs. CIs are trained and certified for expertise in one or more specific areas, such as earthwork, structures, and pavement. Most inspection certifications are issued by a state DOT, but others are regional, with reciprocity agreements between state DOTs allowing for greater flexibility in the CI workforce. In addition, the work of CIs is changing and becoming increasingly technical. Remote and mobile inspection applications require CIs to be conversant with wireless and digital communications, competent with a range of software applications, and adaptable when technology tools change or are upgraded. Inspection technology is anticipated to continue to evolve as emerging technologies, such as autonomous inspection vehicles, are adopted. CI training and certification programs need to keep pace with these changes as well as new developments in how training can be delivered using remote and hybrid technologies and teaching methods coupled with effective mentoring and internships. Under NCHRP Project 23-05, âGuidance for Training and Certification of Construction Inspectors for Transportation Infrastructure,â Colorado State University was tasked with developing strategies for recruiting, developing, and retaining a CI workforce with knowl- edge, skills, and abilities aligned with current and future inspection needs at state DOTs. The research included a survey of staff at state DOTs and private sector firms on CI competen- F O R E W O R D By Ann M. Hartell Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
cies, training programs, certification requirements, and career development. Results of the survey were analyzed along with the results of a series of targeted interviews and a review of research and other publications. The Guide is accompanied by NCHRP Web-Only Document 337: Training and Certification of Construction Inspectors for Transportation Infrastructure, a presentation summarizing the project, and a memorandum describing how the Guide can be implemented by state DOTs and their partners. These materials can be found on the National Academies Press website (nap.nationalacademies.org) by searching on NCHRP Research Report 1027: Guide to Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining Transportation Infrastructure Construction Inspectors.
1 Chapter 1 Introduction 2 1.1 The State of the Construction Inspector Workforce 3 1.2 Guide Development 4 1.3 How to Use the Guide 8 Chapter 2 Needs Assessment and Recruitment 9 2.1 Identify Construction Inspector Needs 10 2.2 Evaluating Education, Experience, and Certification Requirements 13 2.3 Hiring In-House Full-Time and Seasonal Construction Inspectors 14 2.4 Recruiting Internal and External Candidates 14 2.5 Hiring Third-Party Consultant Construction Inspectors 15 2.6 Evaluation Metrics for Construction Inspector Recruitment Programs 15 2.7 Summary of Needs Assessment and Recruitment Strategies 17 Chapter 3 Core Competencies and KSA Assessment 17 3.1 Construction Inspector Responsibilities 17 3.2 Construction Inspector Core Competencies 21 3.3 Core Competency and Responsibility Matrices 23 3.4 Individual Assessments and Training Needs 25 3.5 Summary of Core Competencies and KSA Assessment Strategies 26 Chapter 4 Training and Certification 26 4.1 Training Strategies 32 4.2 Certification/Qualification Strategies 36 4.3 Recertification Strategies 37 4.4 Evaluation Metrics for Training and Certification Programs 37 4.5 Summary of Training and Certification Strategies 39 Chapter 5 Retention and Career Development 39 5.1 Retention 41 5.2 Continuing Education Opportunities 42 5.3 Cross-Training 42 5.4 Knowledge Management 44 5.5 Internships 44 5.6 Mentoring 46 5.7 Career Paths and Advancement 47 5.8 Evaluation Metrics for Construction Inspector Career Development Programs 48 5.9 Summary of Retention and Career Development Strategies C O N T E N T S
49 References 51 Glossary 53 Acronyms Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at nap.nationalacademies.org) retains the color versions.