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2.2.6 Contract Delivery and Contract Specifications

Sprayed sealing work in Australia evolved largely as a matter of policy using direct labour activity in state road agencies and larger local government organisations. High standards of supervision and training, as well as pride in innovation and overall outcomes were significant influencing factors in the standards of direct labour work. The control of the quality of materials and construction procedures was found to be crucial in producing quality sprayed seal work. Most work is now done under some form of contract.

Early contracts for sprayed sealing work tended to rely on the level of supervision by the principal, including matters such as design of application rates, supply of materials, approval of surface preparation, site conditions and general oversight of work practices. Specifications are evolving that describe more of what must be achieved rather than how it is to be achieved. This will shift the responsibility for decision making and outcomes from the principal to the contractor.

A major change in contract specifications came with the introduction of quality systems, which was given impetus by the decision of the federal government, in 1988, to make the adoption of quality systems a condition of federal funding. Many of the operational and procedural aspects of specifications were removed on the basis that these would form part of the contractor’s work procedures and quality plan.

The selection and design of sprayed sealing treatments, and the work procedures that are used to deliver the completed product, are extremely important to the successful use of sprayed seals, regardless of which party takes the responsibility for performance outcomes.