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41 savings in maintenance costs and life-cycle costs (including All interviewed firms believed in providing a quality pave- road-user cost savings resulting from to reduced lane occu- ment marking job, and their comments supported the notion pancy through the warranty period). Other benefits cited by that quality-oriented firms perform their projects to the same individual agencies included the potential for greater con- high standards and levels of commitment regardless of whether tractor innovation, the regarding of warranties as a logical or not the projects involve a warranty. Nonetheless, they component of comprehensive departmental outsourcing, a believed that warranties helped impose a level playing field for reduced administrative and staffing burden for the agency, an bidding among all participating contractors. The firms sup- opportunity to generate pavement marking performance data ported warranties with strong but reasonable specifications (which could also be used for product performance compar- that are dependably enforced for reasons of both quality of isons), and a perceived positive effect of risk sharing. result and fair competition. This approach was believed to pro- mote use of quality products and proper installation proce- dures that yielded brighter, more durable, more consistently REASONS FOR NOT USING WARRANTIES performing markings, with attendant benefits to the highway agency and the traveling public. Materials manufacturers Among the 25 agencies that do not now use warranties, 15 interpreted project quality in terms of their own ability to exer- indicated no plans to implement such warranties in the fore- cise appropriate management and control of the several facets seeable future. The major impediments to pavement marking of jobs they were involved in. They believed that one-source warranty use reported by these agencies were the greater accountability was the best approach to achieve project objec- administrative burden in monitoring contractor compliance tives, avoid finger-pointing, and yield the desired savings in with specifications, potentially higher bid prices, and possible life-cycle costs with benefits to agency and public. Several increases in disputes or litigation with contractors. Other firms saw warranties as a wave of the future and believed drawbacks that were cited included administrative difficulties strongly in their value and benefit, even though they entail associated with using U.S. federal-aid funding on projects if risks that will be discussed here. sole-sourcing pavement marking work and keeping contracts open on federal-aid projects while the warranty remains in One firm had a somewhat different, but still supportive, force. Three agencies cited an agency culture and practice that view of warranties as but one approach among several options encouraged closing out construction projects as quickly as to provide quality performance cost-effectively. Although possible, rather than an opposition to warranties per se. These this firm had nothing against warranties per se, it believed that agencies favored effective enforcement of project specifica- agencies need not rely solely on warranties if high-quality tions in lieu of warranties as the currently preferred approach materials, strong but reasonable and achievable (not onerous) to managing pavement marking performance and the risk of specifications, and correct installation methods were called premature failure. Any inclination by these agencies to con- for and provided. Good techniques and products that are avail- sider pavement marking warranties in the future would be able today can readily achieve longer, higher-performance ser- addressed, but with care and deliberation. vice lives; for example, use of recessed markings in Northern climates; high-quality, durable marking materials; correct Ten of the agencies that do not now use warranties placement and application of materials (e.g., glass beads in expressed an open mind toward possible future use and wel- paint); and increased specification and measurement of wet comed additional information to help in their decision. These retroreflectivity. A strong relationship between materials sup- respondents believed that all of the categories of information plier and contractor is very helpful toward these ends, in the listed in the survey questionnaire would be useful in their view of this contractor. assessments (refer to Figure 15 in chapter three). Notwithstanding their general support for warranties, the VIEWS OF PRIVATE SECTOR FIRMS interviewed firms collectively identified a number of risks that contractors and materials manufacturers may face on a Private sector perspectives were obtained through interviews warranted project, and ways to mitigate them. The risks are with seven U.S. and Canadian pavement marking contractors categorized here for ease in explanation, but are actually and two marking materials manufacturers. Most of these firms interconnected and somewhat overlapping, and one type of had performed work involving warranties; all were familiar risk can lead to another. Contractors and materials suppliers with performance-based specifications and spoke from expe- must deal with the total situation when deciding whether and rience. Although the contractors worked in different geo- how to bid the job. The types of risk are as follows: graphic regions and dealt with a range of pavement marking materials, their willing participation in the project interviews · Technical risks typically caused by a failure to use the may have represented a self-selected sample. Attempts to right material or application method for the job, resulting obtain a wider range of views from firms of different charac- in a pavement marking that fails to perform as intended. teristics, or those less inclined toward warranties, were not Technical risks may arise because of deficiencies in con- successful. Supplementary findings from other studies were tractor knowledge and preparation, subpar execution at gathered to fill this gap. the jobsite, faults in the specifications themselves or with