Request for Proposal
Project 05-05
Evaluate the Need and Develop a Plan for National Certification of Airport HMA Technicians and Inspectors

Proposals Due November 10, 2006

Airfield Asphalt Pavement
Technology Program (AAPTP)

RESEARCH PROBLEM STATEMENT

There are numerous hot mix asphalt (HMA) technician certification programs that do not provide a consistent pool of technicians capable of testing and inspecting airport HMA construction. In some cases, poor performance of asphalt airfield pavements has been attributed to poor testing and/or inspection during construction. An evaluation of the need for a national airport HMA technician certification/accreditation program is needed. This evaluation will determine potential benefits and operational processes that are required to establish a program that addresses the unique aspects of airport HMA construction. Many of the highway certification programs are well established and have a consistent construction market that encourages certification updates and renewals. These programs and the specialized aspects of an airport HMA certification are to be examined and perceived benefits documented. After the review of existing programs, a recommended framework for a certification plan or alternative program is to be developed. This framework shall address all aspects of establishing and operating a national technician certification or alternative program. The actual establishment and operation of a recommended program will be accomplished in subsequent projects if approved for implementation.

Objective

The objective of this project is to evaluate the need for a national airport HMA certification program and develop an approach to increase the skills and abilities of inspectors and testing technicians of hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavements. The project shall provide information and requirements pertaining to both HMA testing and inspection personnel. Throughout this document the term technician refers to both testers and inspectors. The project will review existing technician certification programs and provide recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration on procedures and requirements for implementation of a program for improvement of the skills and knowledge of HMA airfield asphalt pavement technicians. The recommended national technician certification program or alternative system shall be developed that incorporates and/or addresses the following elements and issues:

Project Taks

The project shall consist of the following tasks:

Task 1 -- Review and Evaluate Existing Certification/Accreditation Programs
A review of existing state department of transportation and national HMA testing technician certification programs shall be conducted. The purpose of this review is to select 3-4 programs that are geographically and climatically diverse to provide creditable information on the cost and benefits provided by a certification/accreditation program.

Task 2 -- Collect Operational and Cost/Benefits Information on Functioning Certification /Accreditation Programs
Information will be collected from 3-4 selected functioning certification programs on the benefits and costs associated with certification programs. The key factors that make programs successful and basic costs associated shall be established. Primary items that are expected to be addressed are:

  1. Costs and benefits of a certification program
  2. Certification, re-certification and de-certification procedures
  3. Hands-on and written test requirements
  4. Necessity for multiple proficiency levels
  5. Time period required for implementation
  6. Issues that need to be addressed when going from a local, state and regional based program to a national airport certification program
  7. Size, scope, and technical diversity of the program
  8. Requirements for smaller and/or geographically isolated airfield programs
  9. Requirements for new and rehabilitation construction programs

Task 3 -- Evaluate Alternative Programs and Processes to Increase Technician Skills and Effectiveness
A review of organizations that have training and knowledge requirements that do not include a formal certification program shall be conduct under this task. These shall include formal classroom training and on the job training and skill assessments. Refresher course requirements and procedures for independent assessment of skills and knowledge should be addressed in this review. The primary purpose of this task is to identify and assess the effectiveness of programs other than certification in achieving improved quality results and effective inspection.

Task 4 -- Develop Detailed List of Airport HMA Technician Functions and Responsibilities
A detailed list of functions and responsibilities performed by the airport HMA technician will be developed from Task 1 and other sources. The differences between owner's and contractor's testing and inspection requirements will be listed. The information will be used to establish possible proficiency levels. The information shall be assembled to provide functional requirements that identify the duties and responsibilities of project technicians and the detailed specific skills and/or tests needed for each functional level. In addition indicators of technician skill and knowledge and the credit that should be given for such items as: years of experience, multiple task diversity responsibilities, complexity of assigned projects and completion of basic and advanced training programs shall be addressed.

Task 5 -- Develop National HMA Certification/Accreditation Program Operational Requirements
A draft document will be developed from results of Tasks 1- 4 that will be specific to airport HMA technicians. This document will provide the pros and cons of a national HMA airport technical program and the proposed operational framework for a national educational and training program to improve the knowledge and skill level of airfield HMA technicians. It is anticipated that this document will be developed and delivered to the technical panel for comments within 5 months of project award. The technical panel will provide comments on draft document within 1 month of receiving.

Task 6 -- Final Report and Recommendations
A final report shall be developed that contains recommendations for a process to improve airport HMA technician skills and knowledge. The report shall address the panels comments and include recommendations for implementation of the program.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

The proposals shall be evaluated on the following criteria:

Reporting Requirements

Progress Reports

Quarterly progress reports (2 hard copies and an electronic copy in Microsoft Word format) are required from the research agency and are to be prepared on the basis of calendar quarters. The research agency will mail the hard report copies directly to the AAPTP and will e-mail each of the members of the project technical panel an electronic copy of the progress report. Each report will include a cover letter and the following:

  1. a clear and complete description of the work performed on each task during that quarter;
  2. an outline of the work to be accomplished during the next quarter;
  3. a description of any problem(s) encountered or anticipated that might affect the completion of the project within the time and fiscal constraints recommended;
  4. provide potential solutions to problems identified in (c) if any exist.

Report Format

The formats for the Interim and Final reports are provided under "Research Process."

Contractual Information

Funds Available: $50,000

Contract Time:6 months

Staff Responsibility: Monte Symons, 334-844-4964, symonmg@auburn.edu

Proposals Due: November 10, 2006

Submit Proposals To: AAPTP, 277 Technology Parkway, Auburn, AL, 36830

Authorization to Begin Work: December 1, 2006 -- estimated


Maintained by Linda Kerr