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Synthesis for Development of Performance Based Pavement Warranty Specification


Currently, no national standard is available for the implementation of pavement warranty projects, therefore, individual state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have developed their own warranty specifications. These specifications vary in terms of warranty type, warranty period, risk allocation items, performance evaluation method, etc. Under a warranty, the contractor takes a specific set of duties and associated risks, and will take the resulting cost in case of a premature problem during the warranty term. The risk is transferred from highway agencies to the contractors to various degrees. The pavement warranty projects are commonly evaluated through the measurement of ride quality, individual distresses, and composite index derived from the distresses. The most widely claimed benefit of warranty contracting is that the shift of the performance risks and maintenance duties from the agency to the contractor results in better pavement performance and longer service life of the end product. Several states have conducted studies to evaluate the performance of pavement constructed under warranty, such as Wisconsin, Colorado, and Indiana (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). However, those studies were associated with the warranty practices and specifications of different states, and as a matter of fact inconsistent results were concluded from the previous studies regarding the effectiveness of the pavement warranty programs. Clearly, an overview of these diversified programs would help the useful experiences transfer to the practitioners.


Research to be investigated will include, but not limited to:

  1. Methods to identify appropriate performance criteria for use in warranty specifications that can be objectively measured.

  2. Information on current and new pavement condition monitoring methods and their appropriateness to be used for warranty contracts.

  3. Information on the presentation methods and mathematical models to be used to develop distress thresholds for performance indicators.

  4. Methods of using available PMS data.to analyze and evaluate the cost-effectiveness and long-term consistency of measurement of the performance criteria over long time periods (i.e., 10 years).

  5. Information on levels of severity of the performance criteria and the repair treatments that would be appropriate for these performance criteria.

  6. Methods to evaluate warranty enforceability for the performance criteria and measurement techniques identified.


Guidelines and recommendations to select and measure performance criteria and appropriate repair treatments for use in warranty specifications.


Ideally the use of performance based pavement warranties would motivate the contractor to be more willing to actively produce a quality product. It would be desirable to learn from the best pavement warranty experiences in and out of the US, to compare, analyze, combine, and synthesize the good experiences to be shared with the pavement management community (6, 7). In line with this goal, the identification of appropriate performance indicators, the determination of reasonable and cost-effective threshold values for the performance indicators, the reliable measurement of those indicators in an objective and consistent manner using the state of art and state of practice pavement assessment technologies and evaluation methodologies are critical to the development of a sound warranty specification for a sustainable and successful pavement warranty program. Dedicated research is needed to accomplish this goal.

Sponsoring Committee:AKT10, Pavement Management Systems
Research Period:6 - 12 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Feng Wang ,Cindy Smith
Date Posted:02/10/2016
Date Modified:02/16/2016
Index Terms:Standards, Performance based specifications, Warranty, Pavement performance, State departments of transportation, Contractors, Risk, Service life, Road construction,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Administration and Management
Maintenance and Preservation

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