FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR THE
PROJECT EVALUATION FORM
1. What is the purpose of the new evaluation form? The old one seemed just fine.
The old evaluation form used by KDOT's construction personnel to evaluate the consultant's plans at the end of a project was a report of past events. The new evaluation form fulfills a Federal requirement and provides avenues for feedback and improvement during the course of the project. The new evaluation form also provides design reviewers with a means of evaluation. The purpose of the new evaluation form is to promote and encourage communication during the design and construction of the project and hopefully to avoid problems in the final product.
2. The guide suggests that evaluations be conducted during face to face meetings. Depending on the consultant's location relative to the project and to KDOT, face to face meetings rarely occur after field check. Do we need to schedule more meetings specifically for the evaluations?
Although we recommend face to face meetings for evaluations, we realize that this is not always possible. We also recognize that the lack of face to face meetings may be the cause of miscommunication that often occurs during a the course of the project. More face to face meetings may be a way to improve overall quality. We also think that an evaluation meeting can take place when KDOT and Consultant staff have the opportunity to meet even if it is not at a project "milestone". If a face to face meeting is not possible, meeting via telephone or fax is acceptable.
3. Is it necessary to have evaluation reviews at all of the "milestones" listed in the guide?
No. The actual number of evaluations will vary depending on the type, size and complexity of the project. This process is intended to be very flexible with the only real requirement being that there is at least one evaluation per project per year.
4. Some items on the form don't apply to certain phases and others I don't have the expertise to comment on. How do I address these items?
If an item really does not apply, put "N/A" in the appropriate space. If you do not have the expertise to comment, try to find the person who does and get their input. It is also acceptable to give your opinion. Since this is a two way communication, whomever you are reviewing will have the opportunity to explain what they did.
5. Should the level of difficulty that a contractor experiences during construction be used as an indicator of the quality of design?
If the difficultly is the result of poor design or plan presentation then it should be considered. If the difficulty is a result of inadequacies or inexperience by the contractor then it should not be considered.
6. What happens to the forms once they are filled out?
After being filled out, the reviewer and designer need to go over the comments and then sign off on the form. The forms are then funneled back through the appropriate KDOT project manager to the Assistant to the Director, Division of Engineering and Design. It is up to the Assistant to the Director to retain the evaluations forms in files by consultant and to keep track of recurrent problems with particular consultants. It is also the Assistant's assignment to disseminate "new innovations" that may be useful on other projects.
7. How does the person who reviews the comments on the evaluation form determine if the comments warrant consideration, or may have been influenced by a lack of experience, knowledge, etc.?
Communication! That is why we want the designer and reviewer to meet and discuss the form. Others that review the form may also need to contact either the designer or reviewer for clarification of their comments.
8. Should the amount of revisions and change orders be used as an indicator of the quality of a design?
No, unless the revisions or change orders appear to be due to designer carelessness.
9. Should the Contractor's opinions be included in the evaluation?
The evaluator should use good judgement when considering the contractor's opinions for inclusion on the form. The design should be constructible and the details comprehensible. If the contractor's opinions are a reflection of how the project was presented in the plans or thought out during the design phase, it would be good to include those comments on the evaluation form.
10. What steps can be taken to insure that emotions and personal feelings don't cloud objectivity when completing the evaluation?
Do not dwell on individual issues when you fill out the evaluation form. Look at the big picture. Sometimes it may be best to have someone you work with who is familiar with the project review the form. If you think personal feeling may be influencing your objectivity, it may be best to fill the form out, let it set for a few days, and them review it again before discussing it with the designer.
11. What actions should I take if, after consulting with a designer, we are still not in agreement as to the cause or existence of a problem?
There is room on the evaluation form for both opinions. Signing the form only means that you have acknowledged reviewing the form and the comments. If the disagreement is one that needs to be resolved prior to completion of the project and the designer and reviewer cannot resolve it, they need to meet together with their superiors to discuss the issue.
12. How can a construction observer make comments about a design when they are not a qualified designer?
Each person who participates in the evaluation process is asked only to comment on those items they feel comfortable about. While a construction observer may not be a qualified designer, they should be able to comment on things like how well the plans could be followed, how accurate the quantities were, how well the proposed traffic control plan worked or if the design was constructible in a cost effective manner.
13. What should be considered as a "new innovation"?
Any design or construction issues that you come across on a project that may save time, effort or money on other projects should be noted. Don't be concerned whether or not your idea meets someone's definition of innovative. If it is a good idea, write it on the form.
14. I don't have time to fill out evaluation forms for all of my projects!
Nobody has extra time. The expectation is that the improvement in quality and communications will lessen the amount of review and redo time so that the time spent on the evaluation process will be justified.
15. I understand the Partnering concept is not wanting to assess blame and the desire is to improve quality through Partnering, but is there ever a situation were the blame should be placed with one individual or organization?
Placing blame seldom does any good to promote quality. Identifying how to the correct the situation and how to avoid a similar situation in the future is why this form was developed. Comments should be non-judgmental.
16. Will in-house designed projects also be evaluated?
17. If we have to answer all of the questions in the Basic Evaluation Criteria guidelines every time, filling out the evaluation forms will take forever!
The guide to the basic evaluation criteria is not meant to be a checklist. All items don't apply to all projects. It may be necessary to read all of the items the first few times you do an evaluation, or to refer to it now and then, but we believe that once you are familiar with filling out the forms, you should not need to reference the guide very often.
18. With so many varied opinions, how does one determine the significance of a design related problem or issue?
The experience and judgement of the reviewer is the best way to determine the significance of a design related issue. Take a look at the issue and how it affected the project. Talk with the designer and find out why it was done that way. How did the issue affect the big picture.
19. Should comments be made about a designer's past history if the same problems occur repeatedly?
The purpose of the form is to comment on the designer's performance on the current project. It is the Assistant to the Director's job to identify and resolve reoccurring problems.
20. There is not enough room on the form to address all problems and issues.
All problems and issues do not need to be addressed on the form. However, if more room is needed, supplemental sheets can be added. The evaluation form is not meant to replace plan review comments. Comments on the form may be general in nature or more specific, if warranted.