Strategies for Communicating Quality Expectations for Environmental Service Contracts

This study explores the communication of quality expectations between the Office of Environment Services (OES) and environmental consulting firms contributing to the Plan Development Process of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The overall goal of this research is to improve efficiency in the review process for reports submitted by environmental consultants in terms of the duration of the review period, the number of errors identified by OES in the review process, and the number of revisions requested of consultants. Focus groups were conducted with representatives of the consulting community to review existing practices and alternative strategies for improving communications. The development of the focus groups was supported by case studies of project-level performance and reviews of consultant performance over a 5 year window of design projects. Across the focus groups, there was strong consensus regarding the challenges associated with producing high quality environmental reports as well as alternative strategies that could improve performance. The following approaches were recommended by the consulting community as the most promising for yielding improvements in document quality: (1) Manuals and templates maintained by the OES for environment reports need greater standardization and procedures to address frequent updating by federal and state regulatory sources. (2) Fast track the development of a standardized performance assessment form for consultant performance that is shared with the executive leadership of consulting firms as well as the GDOT’s procurement office. (3) Consider procedures for normalizing the document review process amongst reviewers on the OES staff. Consultants’ report high degrees of variability in the issues identified by document reviewers. (4) Greater communication and coordination of quality expectations between OES document reviewers and design project managers.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

    Atlanta, GA  United States  30332-0823

    Georgia Department of Transportation

    Office of Research, 15 Kennedy Drive
    Forest Park, GA  United States  30297-2534

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Kingsley, Gordon
    • Matisoff, Dan
    • Rogers, Juan
    • Ashuri, Baabak
    • An, Yehyun
    • Mistur, Evan
    • Ruthotto, Isabel
    • Agnew, Darian
  • Publication Date: 2017-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 188p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01638775
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-GA-17-1506, 15-06
  • Contract Numbers: 0013612
  • Created Date: Jun 26 2017 9:30AM