Today’s large-scale construction projects are complex undertakings that can generate thousands of tests. Additionally, tight schedules, large teams, constantly evolving specifications, and workflows are standard. Quickly getting critical quality management information into the right hands is essential for successful, on-time project delivery. Terracon developed iTrams specifically to meet this challenge for clients, and its utility is currently being demonstrated on a major public transit project.
While providing Quality Control (QC) services for the $2.1-billion Green Line Extension Project (GLX) in Boston, the Terracon team has encountered the need to capture, organize, and provide enormous amounts of data to numerous stakeholders and project teams. This massive project, which started in 2017 and is expected to conclude in fall 2022, includes:
Terracon is utilizing our iTrams tool to meet our client’s needs on this project, including: controlling workflow between multiple teams and entities; enabling users to find information quickly and easily; providing transparency through a web-based system with customizable access; and enabling a unique project workflow.
Terracon performed Quality Control services for the Green Line Extension project, including:
- Managing, verifying, documenting and performing field and laboratory testing;
- Providing an accredited onsite laboratory to perform testing efficiently and economically;
- Performing inspections of materials and work performed, including inspection and testing of concrete, reinforcing steel, structural steel, rail, aggregate, ballast, and soil.
Starting with the project dispatch, Terracon’s test and report status information is automatically fed to the database, and each subsequent step to the final approval process is updated as it is completed. Access for other quality teams is provided on an as-needed basis. Unique customizable workflows then shepherd the report through the approval process. iTrams features 10 customizable filters to allow for tracking and sorting by any client-directed feature.
Information enters our web-based iTrams system as Quality Control (QC) and owner’s verification testing data, observations, and reports. The entire project team (owners, resident engineers, contractors, and QA/QC firms) has customizable access and the ability to input their data. iTrams quickly walks this data through the editable approval process to reach final acceptance. It can generate trend charts, test evaluations, deviation and engineering judgment logs, and statistical analysis to effectively compare and evaluate QA and QC data.
Since Terracon began work on the GLX project in 2019, approximately 10,700 individual reports have been generated. iTrams allows these reports to be found and sorted through a user-friendly, front-facing database that is accessible to dozens of people on various teams associated with the project. Data is frequently updated, so users can make decisions with confidence. During its busiest phase, Terracon had 20 field staff working on the project, including inspectors, materials technicians, and structural steel inspectors. We performed visual inspections on reinforcing steel, formwork, foundations, masonry, shotcrete, soil, duct banks, piers, piles, concrete, structural steel, asphalt, retaining walls, rail, and ballast. Testing was performed on concrete, grout, mortar, rail welds, soil compaction, asphalt placement, and wall backfill. Specialty testing such as pull testing of epoxied anchors and reinforcing steel was also performed.
During the GLX project, the QC team leaders review reports daily in iTrams for their associated discipline. They can review and reject reports, and make comments so the reports can be revised before being submitted to the client. This system is a very efficient method for tracking reviews and comments, and allows all users to see the history of all reports. The system also tracks a unique feature on the GLX project called Safety Security Verification Check (SSVC). When any of these items are observed in reports, it is noted and tracked in iTrams. This allows these items to be closed out easier and more efficiently. The flexibility of iTrams helps with the tracking and sorting all test results and Inspector’s Daily Reports (IDRs) as well as allowing the results to be sorted by the appropriate design package or specification.
The workflow and hierarchy on this project were much different than most. The GLX Constructors team has a quality team that supervised the quality of the project. GLXC has several internal employees that were part of this group, including the quality manager, the quality control manager who supervises the leads of the project, and Terracon staff, who were part of quality control. Terracon provides a deputy quality control manager who supervises the Terracon staff. Additionally, there is a QC office coordinator who is in charge of scheduling Terracon staff and training, a document control manager who supervises the reporting and submittal of reports, and a laboratory manager.
Every large project is unique, so iTrams is customizable. The tool is also easily adapted during each project to accommodate changing needs as they occur. For example, for the GLX project, iTrams used the design package numbers as a way of sorting reports.
For more information about iTrams, contact Michael Jenkins, P.E., Terracon’s national director for transportation construction engineering services.
For more information about the Green Line Extension Project, visit https://www.mbta.com/projects/green-line-extension-glx
Michael Jenkins, P.E., is national director for transportation construction engineering services. He has more than 20 years of experience working transportation construction projects as an owner representative and contractor.