Since the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) proposed changes in 2013 to its Road and Bridge Specifications, Vandeventer Black lawyers have been working with industry representatives to try and initiate a more collaborative process about them. Vandeventer Black lawyer Pat Genzler, as General Counsel for the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA), has helped lead those efforts.
VDOT has now published the revised specifications in Final DRAFT form, and they are available as of this posting at the following VDOT website:
VDOT is now opening the complete book to final review from the industry and the Federal Highway Administration. The same webpage includes a form for comments on the Final DRAFT.
Separately, on December 28, 2015 VDOT announced interim revisions to the 2007 Road and Bridge Specifications would be effective with the First January 2016 Advertisement (January 28, 2016). Those revisions are available in full on the VDOT website at http://www.virginiadot.org/business/const/spec-default.asp.
Despite prior industry input, Final DRAFT includes various changes significantly shifting risks from VDOT to contractors, including among those the following Section 100 changes:
- Increased requirements for pre-bid review of contract documents and site information to identify any “ambiguities, conflicts, errors or omissions” and to provide written notice to VDOT – with the intended purpose of using the lack of written notice to bolster claim waiver arguments by VDOT.
- Additional requirements for prompt written Notice of changed circumstances and waivers of contractor claims where notice has not been provided.
- Shortened times for providing Notice of various changed conditions.
- Additional bidder disqualification requirements.
- Risk shifting relating to utility relocation.
- Requirement and allowable compensation changes for additional costs relating to delays and differing site conditions.
- Storm water permit requirement changes, both within and outside the right of ways.
Other changes are also proposed for Section 100, and other sections as well, and more detailed summary respecting the Final DRAFT’s current proposed changes is available at Vandeventer Black’s Construction and Government Contracts Group website at www.vanblacklaw.com.
The impacts of the final version will also depend upon VDOT application of them as project issues arise. But it remains important that all prospective bidders, subcontractors, and suppliers for VDOT projects review the Final DRAFT for how the revisions may affect future bids and proposals, project contract documents, and project management – and provide comments that, perhaps, VDOT will be willing to incorporate into the final revised version.