Overview of Capital Rail Constructors’ Quality Program for the Silver Line Phase 2A Project

Capital Rail Constructors’ (CRC) Quality Program is designed to ensure construction on the Silver Line Phase 2A Project meets or exceeds requirements. When work does not meet requirements, CRC’s Quality team identifies, reports, and initiates action to correct and prevent recurrences. After an issue has been identified, the program forces evaluations and corrective actions, and tracks items until they have been brought into compliance.

Capital Rail Constructors’ project-specific Quality Program meets all contract requirements for the Silver Line Phase 2, Package A. The program has been reviewed and accepted by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). The Quality Program is based on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proven Three Phases of Control for construction quality and complies with requirements provided by the FTA Quality Management System Guidelines and the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Quality Program Plan.

Notably, the CRC project is ISO 9001:2015 Certified. CRC is not contractually required to be ISO 9001 certified, and there are very few ISO 9001 certified construction companies in the United States. According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), “ISO 9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations of all types and sizes find that using the ISO 9001 standard helps them: organize processes, improve the efficiency of their processes, and continually improve.”

The CRC Team Behind the Quality Program

To implement and manage the Quality Program on the Silver Line Phase 2A project, CRC built out a robust quality organization with properly certified and experienced inspectors on staff. During peak construction periods, CRC employed 70 full-time quality staff. Currently, as the project enters the final stages, more than 35 full-time quality staff members review and document the quality of the installed work.

CRC’s quality management staff is highly credentialed and experienced with many licensed Virginia Professional Engineers on staff, as well as staff certified by the ASQ for Quality Management and Organizational Excellence.

CRC’s quality inspectors average more than 14 years of construction inspection experience. Inspectors carry up-to-date certifications for the work they are verifying, including certifications issued by American Concrete Institute (ACI), Washington Area Council Engineering Laboratories (WACEL), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), American Welding Society (AWS), and National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). CRC inspectors hold certifications for soil compaction testing, concrete testing, structural steel weld inspections, protective coatings, roofing, waterproofing, asphalt testing, to name just a few.

The team has performed nearly 100 formal audits/surveillances over the life of the project. Audits and surveillances vary from off-site facility visits to multi-day audits of various processes and procedures implemented on the project. These audits included reviewing the Quality Control processes and conducting field surveillances of the inspectors.

The quality team uses the approved plans and specifications to verify that the work installed meets or exceeds the contract requirements.

CRC’s inspectors are managed by a team of engineers and architects, some of whom were actively engaged in Phase 1 of the Silver Line.

Implementing the Quality Program

Due to its size and complexity, the Silver Line Phase 2A project is divided into five operating teams (Civil, Structures, Facilities, Systems, and Track). These five major project components are further sub-divided into approximately 200 Definable Features of Work (DFOW). Examples of DFOWs include Structural Steel Erection, Masonry, Drilled Shafts, Cast-in-Place Concrete, etc.

Each DFOW has an associated project specification that dictates the minimum inspections and tests that are to be performed to verify compliance. CRC’s Quality Program includes the development of Inspection and Test Plans (ITPs) specific to each one of the DFOWs. These ITPs have been vetted by CRC and accepted by MWAA.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Three Phases of Control, upon which CRC’s Quality Program is based, includes the following steps for each DFOW on the project:

  • Phase 1: Pre-Activity Meeting
  • Phase 2: Initial Inspection
  • Phase 3: Follow-up Inspections

Phase 1: Pre-Activity Meeting

Prior to starting construction for each DFOW, CRC’s Quality Team holds a Pre-Activity Meeting. Typical attendees at this meeting include the contractor performing the work, safety and quality representatives, environmental managers, survey personnel, field inspectors, and various other levels of management. Information covered in these meetings includes reviews of technical specifications, design changes, the work plan, material and equipment inspections, and a review of the ITP.  Following successful completion of the Pre-Activity meeting, the contractor is released to begin work and the inspectors and technicians perform their inspection and testing duties commensurate with construction of the work.

Phase 2: Initial Inspection

When the the first section of work is complete, a formal Initial Inspection is conducted to verify that this portion of work meets requirements. Attendees at these inspections often include MWAA, other stakeholders, the contractor performing the work, and CRC Quality personnel.   During this inspection, workmanship, among other things, is discussed to ensure it meets the Client’s expectations.  The Initial Inspection affords the contractor the opportunity to correct any minor deficiencies that otherwise may have been caught much later in the process.

Phase 3: Follow-Up Inspection

Following a successful Initial Inspection, Phase 3 is the Follow-Up Inspections. These inspections occur daily (or as the work is being installed) and are documented by the CRC quality team in their Inspector Daily Reports (IDRs). To date, CRC’s quality inspectors have documented more than 25,000 IDRs.  These followup inspections ensure that the work continues to meet contract requirements.

Identifying, Reporting, and Correcting Nonconforming Work

In accordance with contract requirements, CRC’s Quality Program includes a Construction Quality Procedure for Control of Nonconformances. In accordance with FTA Quality Management System (QMS) Guidelines as well as CRC’s Design-Build Contract with MWAA, CRC uses non-conformance reports (NCRs) to document when it is observed that installed work does not fully meet the contract requirements. As NCRs are a normal part of the construction industry’s processes, the FTA’s QMS guidelines provide a procedure for contractors on non-conformance reporting. In the absence of such a procedure, non-conforming work would not be reported, fixed, inspected, nor documented. Mature quality organizations across industries have such procedures, and such procedures are an important part of contributing to high-quality and safe final products.

CRC’s NCR procedure is designed to identify and report nonconformances in the work, and address them through repair, rework, removal and replacement, or use as-is based on an additional engineering assessment. CRC has identified approximately 1,500 NCRs on the project. Over 90% have been resolved and closed. The remaining 10% of the NCRs are in various stages on the path toward closure. In some cases, the work required to address the nonconformance has yet to be performed as it is pending safe access to the work, while others are pending a final inspection by quality personnel. Others have recently been submitted to MWAA for closure. Closure of an NCR means that the nonconformance has been repaired, reworked, removed and replaced, or through an additional engineering analysis determined to be acceptable as is, and supporting documentation has been submitted and accepted by MWAA.

CRC, its hundreds of subcontractors and suppliers, and the thousands of men and women who have built the Silver Line Phase 2A project over the years, are extremely proud of the work that they have completed. Their achievements have been recognized by others in the industry as well. In 2018, the project received a Design Award from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) for “Best Non-Highway Bridge” for its Aerial Guideway. In addition, PCI recognized the project’s Engineer of Record, Parsons, and the precast concrete producer, Coastal Precast Systems, as well as MWAA.

Finally, CRC’s subcontractor, Banker Steel Company/Williams Steel Erection Co., Inc., was recently awarded the 2019 Craftsmanship Award by the Washington Building Congress for the quality of their work in erecting “over 3500 tons of structural steel across five stations, nine entrance pavilions, and 31 pedestrian bridge sections in less than two years.”