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39 CHAPTER FOUR CONCLUSIONS OVERVIEW OF FINDINGS Warranty Structure and Timeline. Most agencies have the pavement marking warranty begin after mark- This synthesis study has compiled information on pavement ing application or after initial acceptance thereof. Typi- marking warranty specifications used by U.S. state depart- cal durations of the warranty performance evaluation ments of transportation (DOTs) and Canadian provincial/ period are 1 to 6 years, with several agencies now con- territorial road agencies, with further comparisons to European sidering lengthening their warranty periods. Some agen- practice. Pavement markings play an important role in reduc- cies that operate roads in harsh climates or that use paint, ing congestion and improving safety by providing informa- which has a relatively short expected life, apply war- tion, guidance, and warnings to road users, whether drivers of ranty periods of 180 days that are timed to encompass motorized vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians. Transportation one winter season. agencies typically consider using pavement marking war- Variations in Evaluation Periods. Other agencies ranties to gain one or more benefits; for example, superior impose additional time periods--referred to respectively pavement marking performance, reduced need for inspection as observation periods and performance periods--to personnel, greater cost-effectiveness, reduced risk of prema- evaluate pavement marking performance through a ture failure, and potential for contractor innovation. lengthier period before initial acceptance or to allow fur- ther evaluation after initial acceptance but before onset Information on pavement marking warranties has been of a multi-year warranty. obtained through a survey of U.S. state DOTs and Canadian Warranty Concepts. Based on the examples pro- provincial transportation agencies, interviews with U.S. and vided by the 15 agencies, pavement marking warranty Canadian pavement marking contractors and materials manu- specifications represent a blend of methods-based and facturers, and a literature review. Forty state DOTs and eight performance-based thinking. A number of these spec- Canadian transportation agencies responded to the synthe- ifications are essentially Materials and Workmanship sis survey. Reporting agencies were divided almost equally warranties, but with performance criteria governing between those that now use pavement marking warranties minimum acceptable marking characteristics through (23 agencies) and those that do not (25 agencies). Fifteen of the warranty evaluation period. Three of the state DOTs, the responding agencies that now use pavement marking war- however, employ specifications that are "pure" perfor- ranties submitted one or more examples of their specifica- mance warranties, in which only the required perfor- tions, which are compiled in Appendix D (web-only portion mance from initial application through the end of the of the report). These examples contributed important infor- warranty performance evaluation period is specified, mation to the study regarding the technical requirements, per- with choice of material and application method left to formance criteria, and administrative provisions that are now the contractor. used in U.S. and Canadian pavement marking warranties, and Pavement Marking Performance. The performance how these details vary among agencies. Interviews with seven criteria specified in warranties typically include durabil- U.S. and Canadian contractors and two materials manufactur- ity or presence, retroreflectivity, and color retention. ers, who also serve as prime contractors on jobs, provided fur- Some agencies specify acceptable threshold values of ther information on the benefits of pavement warranties, the these measures that are constant through the warranty risks inherent in their use, and ways to potentially improve period; others vary the acceptability criteria over time. their administration as well as their achievement of intended Agencies also differ in how they assess pavement mark- benefits. These findings are elaborated on here. ing performance and at what intervals. A combination of visual and mechanical sensing is used in inspections, CURRENT WARRANTIES most often conducted by agency personnel. In some AND PERCEIVED BENEFITS cases, however, agencies call upon the contractor to per- form inspections, work jointly with the contractor in con- The 23 U.S. and Canadian transportation agencies that now ducting inspections, or assign an independent third party use pavement marking warranties illustrate current state of to assume inspection responsibility. practice and the different ways in which agencies structure Responsible Party. Within the warranty sample, the and administer warranty specifications: majority of agencies (10 of 15) regard the contractor as

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40 the warrantor--that is, the party responsible for fulfill- Other Variations in Warranty Approaches and Pro- ing the requirements of the warranty specification. Three visions. Several examples of the variability in pavement of 15 agencies give this responsibility to the materials marking warranty specifications among agencies were manufacturer, whereas two agencies specify a dual or described earlier. Others were covered in chapter three discretionary assignment of responsibility. In these lat- (e.g., differences among agencies in whether contractors ter two cases, one agency holds the contractor responsi- are held responsible for winter maintenance damage), ble during an observation period; the materials manufac- and yet others are evident in reviewing the example spec- turer, during the warranty period. In the other instance, ifications in Appendix D (web-only document) (e.g., dif- the agency calls for a manufacturer's warranty bond, ferent threshold values for minimum acceptable per- but--at the contractor's discretion--allows the substitu- formance of pavement markings through the warranty tion of a contractor's warranty bond and the contractor's period). assumption of all warrantor responsibilities. Other Issues in Administration. Several other issues in Methods of Delivery. Agencies and contractors employ administering pavement marking warranties have been several mechanisms to apply or install pavement mark- identified by the road agencies and the contractors and ings under warranty. For example, an agency may con- materials manufacturers. One topic on which the inter- tract for durable markings under its warranty provisions, ests of the two groups converge is the scheduling of par- but also continue to use nondurable materials that are tial payments through a multi-year warranty period. The applied by its own employees. A contractor may apply issues concern what is a reasonable amount for initial pavement markings on its own or employ subcontractors payment and what should be the amounts of subsequent to do this work. Some states impose participation require- annual payments through the warranty performance ments on a general contractor. A materials manufacturer period. Comments by the affected parties suggest that is typically allowed to serve as a general contractor so a balanced approach is needed to ensure that agency long as it meets a state's participation requirements. expectations of quality and performance are met, while Materials manufacturers may themselves impose require- providing contractors and materials manufacturers with ments on a contractor installing their products in terms of fair, timely payment for work accomplished in the initial training, certification, and onsite presence by the manu- installation of markings. This issue will likely grow in facturer's representative during installation. Manufac- importance as more agencies begin to use pavement turer's product recommendations, participation at meet- marking warranties, and as the durations of warranty ings, and provision of technical assistance to contractor performance periods increase. and agency may be incorporated by an agency explicitly Cost Impacts. The impacts of pavement marking war- or by reference into its own warranty specifications. ranties on costs (whether initial, annual, or life-cycle) Corrective Actions. All agencies require the repair or are still not well researched. Most assessments of costs replacement of pavement markings that are found to be are based on subjective judgments or perceptions by deficient according to warranty specifications. A few parties engaged in the warranty process, with little sup- agencies also impose additional terms on the prime con- porting quantitative information. The subjective assess- tractor; for example, paying cash penalties or lane rental ments that have been made exhibit considerable varia- charges, relinquishing the bond covering the work, pay- tion; for example, zero to 50% increase in bid price ing damages if work deficiencies exceed a certain from agency sources, and zero to 20% increase from threshold, and reimbursing the department if repair or contractors, according to an earlier study of highway replacement must be done by agency forces or another construction warranties in general (i.e., not limited to contractor. pavement markings). Steps to Enhance Quality. Agencies use several mecha- nisms to promote quality in their warranty specifications; Among those responding agencies now using pavement for example, use of qualified products lists, prequalifica- marking warranties, almost 70% expressed satisfaction with tion of contractors, stipulated meetings among all parties, their warranty program. About 13% reported mixed results, Work Plan and other submittals by the contractor, ma- with concerns primarily about timely response by contractors terials manufacturer's training and certification of instal- to correct performance deficiencies. One agency that cited a lation contractors, onsite representation by a manufac- "problematic" experience explained its response as really a turer's representative, incorporation of manufacturer's concern with the current state of knowledge of warranty per- product information and installation recommendations formance and the need for stronger capabilities in pavement within agency specifications (if appropriate to the proj- marking management systems, rather than an issue with the ect), reliance upon standards and test procedures of sev- warranties themselves. eral nationally and internationally recognized organi- zations, contractor provision of test stripes or sections, Most of these agencies categorized the benefits of war- frequent contractor reporting of project status, periodic ranties in terms of improved pavement marking performance inspections, imposition of penalties for deficient con- and quality, protection against premature failure, reduced tractor performance, and warranty bond requirements. lane occupancy for repairs or re-application, and attendant