Sprayed seals, as for all road surfacings, need to contribute to smooth, safe and consistent conditions for road users, at a cost that minimises user and road agency long-term costs and with surface characteristics that are appropriate to the location.
The operating environment comprises a number of elements, including systems used for the management of road assets and the physical environment in which sprayed seals are required to perform.
The managerial environment has undergone significant change in the past 20 years. Policy and management issues have had a significant effect on the way that road surfacing treatments are evaluated and used, and the manner in which work is undertaken. Changes include:
- the introduction of electronic asset management systems for road networks that include the use of pavement management systems, maintenance management systems and whole‑of‑life costing assessments
- increasing focus on road user and community needs in terms of road safety, surface noise, ride quality and environmental impact
- improvements in workplace health and safety
- introduction of quality management systems at all levels of service delivery, with particular application to contract specifications
- a general trend in road agencies towards contract delivery of services in place of direct labour
- increasing use of performance-specified contracts.
At the same time the demands on pavements have increased due to greater volumes of road freight traffic, increased vehicle mass limits, larger vehicles and much higher tyre pressures.