March 2017 Vol. 25, No. 1

Current Issue | Previous Issues | Subscribe | Download

Minnesota LTAP Exchange banner

e-Construction delivers—smarter and faster

Every Day Counts is the FHWA’s initiative to advance a culture of innovation in the transportation community in partnership with public and private stakeholders. Every two years, FHWA works with state departments of transportation, local governments, tribes, private industry, and other stakeholders to identify a new set of innovative technologies and practices that merit widespread deployment through EDC. EDC-4 (2017–2018) builds on the progress of earlier rounds.

Through round four of Every Day Counts (EDC-4), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is promoting e-Construction to help deliver transportation improvements smarter and faster.

e-Construction is the creation, review, approval, distribution, and storage of highway construction documents in a paperless environment. These paperless processes include electronic submission of all documentation by all stakeholders, electronic document routing and approval (e-signature and workflows), and real-time management of all documents in a secure digital environment accessible to all stakeholders through mobile devices and webbased platforms.

The documented seven-year e-Construction return on investment for construction management, project collaboration, mobile devices, and electronic bidding tools ranges from 200 to more than 700 percent. e-Construction time savings have averaged 1.78 hours per day, per inspector, and inspectors have collected up to 2.75 times more data. In addition, cost savings have been reported at about $40,000 per construction project, per year. All of this adds up to improved efficiencies in the highway construction program.

EDC-3 promoted e-Construction as an effective way to transfer and use electronic documents in construction, and it has been successfully demonstrated using various tools and technologies in states nationwide. EDC-4 will continue to provide the core knowledge, support, and impetus for stakeholders to venture into and mainstream e-Construction while highlighting the tools needed for successful implementation.

e-Construction highlights

The Arizona DOT uses electronic signature technology for construction contract documents, which allows faster turnaround time between the agency and contractors. Plans and specifications for projects are advertised on the Arizona DOT website and are available in a digital format for download. As a result, the agency has reduced its use of paper plan sets by more than 30 percent.

In Connecticut, using mobile devices has allowed project inspectors to access the construction reporting system and other resources in the field, reducing travel time and increasing productivity. The Connecticut DOT implemented the use of electronic signatures on internal documents, reducing transit time and eliminating thousands of printed pages. The agency piloted the use of digital signatures externally on construction orders signed by the project engineer, supervising engineer, and contractor, cutting a 20- to 30-day approval process to three to five days.