SFOBB Constructability Meeting
Holiday Inn Bay Bridge November 20, 2002


  1. Opening – Sarah Picker
    1. Notes will be posted on the internet.
    2. Purpose of meeting: Inform contractor community of the upcoming SAS Superstructure and in-bay foundation contracts.
    3. This is a way to create a dialog with contractors, especially on issues of concern.
    4. We hope that you will understand the changes made to the construction contract since Ma y 13, 2002 Constructability Workshop, and understand contractor constructability concerns with the In Bay Foundation and the SAS Superstructure.

  2. Paul Hensley
    1. We have contracts scheduled to go out – December 10 will be a bid opening for W2 Structures, contract 04-0120C4. Bid schedule includes bid openings with the largest contract being the SAS Superstructure, bid opening on July 9, 2003.
    2. We will talk about welding, fabrication, and other issues. Thank you for your attendance today.

  3. Brian:
    1. This process requires you to help us document your concerns. Please comment for us today on your concerns, and make sure we get them down in these notes.
    2. Your comments are critical for building consensus.
    3. Take things back from here and evaluate them; get back to us.
    4. Presentation on the major points of changes being pursued due to the last Constructability Workshop.
    5. Key issue last time was "Buy America" for the wire. We got a waiver for this, as there is no domestic supplier. This was possible because you delivered the message and it was documented here.
    6. Welding Tolerances are being evaluated.
    7. Caltrans has strict tolerances that are challenging to meet.
    8. Steel fabrication certification – We still have to go through this process, but we want to move it forward, so it is off the critical path. The handout has a draft of this information on specification language.
    9. Caltrans will not allow heat strengthening in fabrication, but will allow for repair.
    10. Alternative bidding – Buy America – We heard last time that primes wanted Caltrans to allow an alternative bid process.
    11. Temporary Structures on YBI, Tower Erection discussed. Flexibility offered on structures. Changes made regarding tower erection are that bolted splices have been added; will identify on plans regions of allowable welded field splices.
    12. SAS Box superstructure field splices: Will allow low bidder discretion; however, we want to minimize the field splices.
    13. Schedule: This is a key issue. Too aggressive a schedule will create problems. Your comments will help us develop the right schedule. Issues include certification, shop drawing approval, at what point can fabrication begin in relation to shop drawing approval process and cable erection.
    14. We are considering milestone payment for shop drawing approval, and exploring ways to expedite the Caltrans shop drawing review process. We are considering putting Caltrans’ engineers in the contractor’s engineer office to work closely with you. We would like your comments on this.
    15. Shop drawing approval: We want to streamline the decision making process. We also want to see a campus approach to the Caltrans inspection staff.
    16. Handout has details; the PowerPoint show will be posted on the Internet.
    17. Electronic plan submittal, TRO spec, and stipend to engineering during the bid are under development. We want your thoughts on this.
    18. Mass concrete: The thermal control plan is intended to add flexibility. ACI methods were created for very very large elements. You can use something more modern, more specific for the problem you face.
    19. Oakland Touchdown: This is well over $100 Million dollars. We are considering breaking this into west bound and east bound contracts. Maybe work with West bound lane and marine work, then work on east bound later. We would like your comments.
    20. Jones Act: Information is in the handout.
    21. Aerial spinning: Pre-fabricated parallel wire could go up faster. We have been asked to allow this freedom, and we are re-evaluating this right now.
    22. Question to primes, mobilization for YBI structures, should we try to apply over water, over 25 million to YBI structures?

    Contractor Feedback

    1. Shop drawing overlap is huge issue. Overlap is possible, but there is a certain amount of up-front erection engineering necessary so we can have confidence in our procedures. Most of us do not have money for this sort of thing. Given current specification, I do not see any way we can start fabrication sooner than 24 to 30 months after bid award.
    2. Time to build the bridge, including SAS and YBI Structures is probably 84 months. Specifications need to be realistic in terms of how long things will take.
    3. 36 months after award is a realistic time to begin erection of the structure.
    4. For a bridge with a design life of 150 years, we need a high degree of confidence of what goes into the bridge. ISO 9000 puts a burden on the contractor in areas where there is no experience. We are doing things that have not been done before. We need the time to get procedures approved, and this will be an enormous problem. We need something in place – need a referee in place who is identified to all ahead of time, to deal with fabrication audits and welding issues.
    5. We need experienced people on the state side for the construction. People who can make on the spot decisions.
    6. Hard to say if Caltrans is over-specifying the design. Caltrans needs to be realistic about the time it takes for approval.
    7. Each fabricator has its own preferred methods of welding. It would be a mistake for Caltrans to limit methods.
    8. One project used a milestone to get shop drawings done prior to the start of fabrication. Prove the concept… before you can build it.
    9. Typical language on some contracts says something like "Before the contractor proceeds, contractor shall get authorization…." Could use language that contractor demonstrates concepts prior to certain milestones. This is consistent with what is being done elsewhere. Possible milestones could be "material ordered" and "Shop drawings on discrete elements." Not necessary to get all the shop drawings first.

  5. Fabrication
    1. Fabrication: Primes are very concerned about who we may get as the domestic fabricator. There is no one currently who will put it all together domestically. This is a serious problem that must be addressed.
    2. Bonding the fabricator is an issue. We need to take a look at this again. Lead-time for putting together a package is long; no one has started.
    3. We need to address the domestic fabricator issue, or no one will be able to bid.
    4. On this kind of job, Caltrans expects the Prime to look to the fabricator to participate in the risk.
    5. One of the five or six companies involved has to take on all the risk. In this country a big steel job is 30 million dollars; we are talking about something considerably larger.
    6. If prime wanted to increase number of field splices, would be possible to allow via CRIP process, although the concern about length of time for CRIP could be limiting.
    7. One domestic fabricator indicated desire to work on tower elements but does not have the bonding capacity. This fabricator also identified other steel elements that they are interested to fabricate, but clear they cannot fabricate the orthotropic boxes.
    8. Primes want clarity on what needs to be achieved before fabrication begins. For example, probably not every shop drawing needs approval before fabrication begins, but which ones are necessary.
    9. One contractor predicted that it would be 24 to 30 months before any fabrication could start. Then another 36 months for erection process of the superstructure, about 2.5 years until load transfers (to the cables and tower for support).
    10. Caltrans needs to identify decision-makers in the field. Caltrans need to place experienced staff in field construction positions. Primes need fast turnaround on decisions.
    11. Someone suggested choosing a referee to deal with welding issues
    12. An estimate of prebid engineering costs is $500,000. Total cost for joint venture to prepare bid is 1 –2 million dollars. Primes like the idea of a stipend to bid. To receive stipend, prime must post bid bond!
    13. ISO 9000 type specifications necessitated by 150-year design life. This is a burden for fabricators. Us fabricators are not used to ISO 9000
    14. Pre certification of fabricators would help. Caltrans stated that the certification process is set, fabricators can themselves determine whether they can meet the criteria – then after bid, process can go smoothly and quickly.

  6. Stipend
    1. Stipend would be useful. One to two million is a realistic number for preparing bid.
    2. Stipend does not make a lot of sense unless you plan to pay every bidder. Multiple partners. Bidders will spend millions of dollars preparing the bid. Need to figure out a fair way to do this, like giving everyone a fixed sum of money.
    3. Skyway project was too big for one company to take on. That’s why you only got two bids.
    4. Suggestion: parties who put in bonded bids get some sort of compensation.

  7. Buy America
    1. General feeling is that domestic steel manufacturers cannot supply the steel for the superstructure.
    2. Reiteration of May 13, 2002 Constructability Workshop suggestion from domestic primes and domestic fabricators - Temporary structures should be domestic steel.
    3. For a recent East Coast construction contract, temporary steel was 67 cents/lb; permanent steel is $1.98/lb. Domestic bid for temporary steel was $1.32/lb.
    4. As advertised, some foreign fabricators would like to bid, but cannot. Would like to cooperate with Domestic bidders for JV or cooperation to do so.
    5. Domestic fabricators are currently interested in tower components, maintenance walkways, bike path, temporary structures, but not the box. When domestic fabricator made this statement of interest to fabricate tower components, prime asked whether they had bonding capacity to contract the tower. Answer: estimated fabricator bonding capacity maximum is $50 million. Domestic fabricators asked for itemized bid i.e., compare steel items for 25% differential, rather than total bid 25% differential.
    6. Foreign fabricators do not feel comfortable putting up a bond with domestic fabricator partnerships. ( one steel supplier tried to team US fabricators, but in the end was not comfortable carrying bond for team, it isn’t clear that even a team of US fabricators can meet physical capacity, bidding a+b adds to this hesitancy)
    7. Buy America Rules are not clear to us. If low bidder bids with foreign steel and is only 20% lower, do we go to second bidder?
    8. Suppose the foreign steel is involved in the only bid for the project? What would Caltrans do? Bid should encourage foreign fabricator bidding.
    9. Foreign producers are the ones who can build this job. No one here in America does this. Primes and foreign producers can be encouraged to bid if they feel there is a reason to do so. They need to know their bid will be considered. If we don’t have assurance we do not want to waste our time bidding. Two previous projects were bid allowing foreign steel, and after bid, they were changed to "BUY AMERICA." This leads to foreign manufacturers being reluctant to bid.
    10. Example of shop sizes, Typical US fabrication shops have 150 employees, Hyundai has 4000.
    11. If foreign steel bids are not allowed, primes will not invest in preparing a bid.
    12. This project takes time to bid.

  8. Temporary Structures
    1. There is some interest in contractors designing temporary structures, but want to bid on Caltrans design.
    2. Caltrans message about temporary structure design is mixed. Clarify.

  9. DBE/Small Buisness participation
    1. What percentages are being required? We need to know. Caltrans: This will be firmed up when the bids are advertised.
    2. Suggestion: Exclude specialty items from Business enterprise requirements, i.e. superstructure steel.


    (Discussion after the noon break….)

  10. General comments
    1. Need to get meeting materials such as agenda and handouts prior to constructability workshops, questions in a package before the next constructability meeting. Another meeting would be productive. A week ahead would be OK if that is the best you can do. Limit it to the superstructure issues. Give handouts a week ahead of time for comments.
    2. Can you get draft plans on the Caltrans internet site? CD’s would be OK too.
    3. Getting things out to Contractors while PSE is in printing is too late…. Perhaps you can get the bid out a week or two earlier instead…. Don’t spend two weeks of your valuable time… Anything you can do to get the plans out to us earlier and leave the bid date the same would be more helpful.
    4. Relax on-site construction joint requirements. It is the contractor’s responsibility to build the structure. Allow more welding (joints). Messini Bridge in Italy has a lot of joints.
    5. Remove the prescription about bridge deck splices, and let us know where splices cannot be; then leave it up to the contractor.
    6. Discussions need to happen in the contractor’s office; one or two engineers from CT in the contractor’s office will probably be helpful. This can be very effective. Things can get done much faster than formal channels.
    7. Identify constraints on field splices. There should be some flexibility, and contractor should be able to propose an alternative.
    8. Allow tack welding on ribs. More tack welds are better; it is a mistake to limit the number of tack welds.
    9. Revisions to welding shown in handouts appear to address some concerns.
    10. Be consistent about inspection method for welding, in bid package and after award
    11. There is a limitation on the number of splices: Will the specs entertain a different number of splices?
    12. What sanctions will be applied if we do not meet the Jones Act? Clarify the transport from one destination to another requirements.
    13. If there are sole source suppliers, we need to have them carefully identified. Need some mechanism to plug in price and identify conditions on price. Need to know what the pricing is.
    14. There is a lot of risk in the falsework, etc. Allowing more freedom to the contractors is important. If contractor is to design, they need to know the constraints. Info presented today is going in the right direction.
    15. Sample falsework designs are useful.
    16. Caltrans comment: Look at the W2 contract information handout for SAS geotechnical information.
    17. Limit welding inspection. If you want the entire job fracture-critical, then say so. Follow AWS rules on spot inspections if design permits.
    18. RT testing of castings has very specific requirements. This needs to be clarified. What do you want? What are you looking for and what level of RT inspection?
    19. Tolerance on shorter suspenders – should be about 6mm.
    20. Don’t know how to adjust wires to equal tension without cutting and resplicing them. Need tolerance on tensions. Air spinning the strand will assist tension issues.
    21. Saddles are unusually close to each other-creates tension issues.
    22. Can we use grout pad under saddle instead of leveling plate? It might be easier.
    23. With the schedule, can we use the Skyway bridge deck to fabricate PWS strands on site? We would like to know if it will be available. Comment in the bid package of availability of the skyway deck will be helpful.
    24. No need for a wood mock-up. Could use another material?
    25. More than 8-12 steel fabricators expected. Not 50. Pre-bid audits would help narrow down. Contractors need confidence of knowing that the fabricators have the qualifications and experience. Remove the uncertainty of disqualifying the fabricators. Need to know that CT has looked at and has confidence in a shop. Without this there is more open-ended risk.
    26. Review past audits – some have been audited and pre-qualified and are already doing the work. Possible pre-bid audit could look less at weld procedures and more at shop capacity.
    27. Caltrans attitude should be of a helpful nature, not a deterrent nature.
    28. Some primes don’t want to wait until advertisement to see positive changes in PSE; they want Caltrans to do prior to advertisement.
    29. Tower trial assemblies are too large; Contractor should be able to propose an alternative.
    30. Why does plan and specification require prep edges prior to deck stiffener weld.
    31. Specs for cable band castings are too open ended, they need clarification. What will Caltrans do with testing results? Do not surprise contractor.