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46 condition ratings, with ±1 condition state being a common Germany value (see Table G12). In Germany, QC is a matter for the individual states. The fed- Benchmarks in Quality Assurance Reviews eral ministry has no direct involvement. Bridge data and the use of the bridge management system are monitored by DOTs that perform QA reviews of samples of bridge inspection BASt. When errors in data are apparent, the federal ministry reports can track accuracy of condition ratings as a benchmark is notified and the state is asked to resolve the errors. of program quality. Various aspects of program compliance, such as timely completion of inspection reports, completion by South Africa staff of refresher training, and up-to-date bridge lists each might serve as a measure of program quality. Most DOTs include In South Africa, QC is performed by inspection consultants. these aspects in QA reviews. Few DOTs reported the use of any Typically, the degree-extent-relevancy component ratings of these as benchmarks (see Table G13). and inspectors' notes are compared with supporting pho- tographs. Inspection data are entered into SANRAL's bridge Disqualification of Inspection Program Staff management system by consultants. Printouts of these data must be reviewed and signed by inspectors. In addition, the Fifteen of 32 DOTs reported on grounds for disqualification bridge management system performs automated checks of of inspection program personnel. Common concerns in- inspection data. cluded timely completion of work (4 DOTs), accuracy and consistency of inspection findings (10 DOTs), and inade- quate response to QA advice for improvement to perfor- Sweden mance (3 DOTs) (see Table G14). Sweden uses standard inspection forms and the existing Six DOTs allow requalification of team leaders after re- bridge record to guide inspectors and to ensure that all training. Remedies for poor performance, short of disqualifi- needed inspection tasks are completed. There is no indepen- cation, include additional training, counseling or coaching, dent review of inspection reports. and further quality review (18 DOTs). Poor performance can affect career advancement of DOT personnel and selection of United Kingdom inspection consultants (11 DOTs) (see Table G15). Contract provisions for inspection services address some as- QUALITY PROGRAMS--FOREIGN PRACTICE pects of QC. Supervising engineers must sign inspection reports. Maintenance agents are required to have third-party Denmark review of inspection reports. Timely completion of reports, accuracy and completeness of bridge data, and provision of QC activities in Denmark include: adequate equipment to inspectors are all aspects that may be tracked as measures of contract performance. · Review of all Principal inspection field reports by a peer bridge inspector. In addition, the administrator for the Structure Management · Review of data entry by experienced data personnel and Information System, the Highway Agency's bridge manage- verification by the bridge inspector. ment system, makes spot checks on bridge data. Inspection · Comparison of field measurements over several inspec- reports that have errors are returned to the maintenance agent tion cycles. and ultimately the supervising engineer for the inspection. · Automated checks within the bridge database system. Serious or persistent errors are recognized as poor service by the · Automated alerts for missing data as reports are generated. contractor, and these could influence future contract awards. Finland Quality Assurance Finnra uses automated checks in its bridge database for QC of inspection data. There are no other checks. Instead, Finnra Among the nations included in this synthesis, QA usually emphasizes QA by inspector certification and training. entails training and workshops. Denmark, Finland, and Germany all conduct annual workshops for bridge inspec- Consultants to Finnra must propose and implement inspec- tors, and all of these workshops include field inspections. tion quality programs. These plans differ among consultants. Denmark and Germany use field work to recalibrate inspec- tors. Finland collects quantitative measures of accuracy of France condition ratings and evaluates the performance of individ- ual inspectors. In South Africa, SANRAL's QA is a program France implements ISO 9000 to direct its QC program. ISO of independent reinspection of 2% of bridge inspections per 9000 is a set of standards for quality management published year. Sweden has no periodic QA program, but instead relies by the International Organization for Standardization. on contract supervision to ensure consistent work among
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47 consultants. In the United Kingdom, the detailed inspections TABLE 76 that are made in preparation for repair projects are viewed as NUMBER OF FINNISH QC INSPECTIONS IN 2005 verification of previous inspection reports. These offer a measure of inspection quality. No. of No. of Control Inspected Bridges Inspections 1100 2 Denmark 101300 3 >300 4 In Denmark, each bridge inspector is required to complete a QA review every year. Over a two-day period, teams inspect a number of selected bridges. Results are compared team by South Africa team, and the differences are discussed. Each year, different bridges are selected for this exercise. The outcomes of the South Africa performs two activities for QA. First, when a con- reviews can include further training for inspectors, improve- sultant starts a contract for inspection services, SANRAL con- ments to inspection procedures, or improvements to Danbro ducts an inspection workshop to calibrate all inspectors. The software. The Directorate views each Special inspection as a workshop and a briefing on inspection methods are mandatory verification of conditions and previous inspection reports. for all inspectors who will participate in the contract. Special inspections are done as needed. There is no sampling of bridges for QA review at a regular interval. Second, verification inspections are done for 2% of Prin- cipal inspections each year by senior bridge inspectors. If Finland many and/or large discrepancies are found, a new Principal inspection may be ordered. Finnra holds an Advanced Training Day each year at which certified inspectors participate in general inspections of two A third, though informal, type of QC is a product of the bridges. These two bridges are also inspected by a select contract award process. As groups of bridges pass from one group of Finnra personnel. Inspection data from individual in- inspection firm to another, inspections by the new firm offer spectors are compared with Finnra results. Deviations are a verification of previous work. QA can affect the tender computed and quantitative measures of the accuracy of the in- process. Evidence of negligence in consultant work is spectors' work are obtained. Finnra sets limits on permissible grounds for disqualification for further work. deviations, allowing larger deviations for evaluation of indi- vidual defects and smaller deviations in the overall evaluation QA efforts do not evaluate or track individual inspectors. of a bridge. Finnra central administration tracks the quality of This too is a product of the tender process: there is no per- the inspection program with the quantitative measures. manent inspection staff. Inspection results are discussed with inspectors. The con- Sweden trol inspections are used, in part, as refresher training for inspectors. The quality of work at advanced training days In Sweden there is informal QA for inspection consultants. affects awards of inspection contracts. Repeated, large devi- SRA staff acquires knowledge of consultants' competence ations by an inspector can result in the loss of certification. during the course of inspection contract work. Firms that do not meet SRA expectations do not obtain further contracts for Similar control inspections are made within Finnra regions inspection services. as well. The number of control inspections for a region depends on the number of bridges inspected in the past year (Table 76). United Kingdom Germany In the United Kingdom, specific programs for QA are the In Germany, continuing training for bridge inspectors occurs responsibility of the maintenance contractor. The Highways at annual federal conferences conducted by BMVBS and Agency views the detailed inspections in preparation for lasting 2 or 3 days. Discussions at each conference focus on repair projects as a verification of conditions at bridges. interesting bridges, as well as problems and new develop- ments in bridge inspection. One day is spent in field obser- Bridge data records stored as part of SIMS, the bridge vations of structures. The conference is held in a different management system, have been collected for about 5 years. state each year. Some states require attendance at the confer- The Highways Agency will engage a contractor to undertake ence by their inspectors, whereas other states either do not re- a records health check for existing data. quire attendance, or require attendance in only some years. Bridge data quality is considered in continuing develop- Other QA procedures, such as sampling of bridges and ment of SIMS. Here, the Highways Agency works coopera- independent verification of inspection findings, are not tively as one member of a users group made up of agencies performed. using the bridge management system.