Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Keith R. Molenaar

Second Advisor

James E. Diekman


Historically, highway project quality has consisted of quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) for design and construction as well as project quality assurance (PQA), independent assurance (IA), and acceptance. A project quality assurance organization (QAO) consists of these roles and their relationships; analogous to a company organizational chart which assigns the roles and responsibilities within the company and identifies the relationships between these roles and responsibilities. Traditionally all quality roles have been the responsibility of the agency making a formalized identification of the QAO unnecessary. However, the highway industry has been experiencing growth in the implementation of alternative project delivery methods and, at the same time, a reduction in state highway agency (SHA) staffing levels; causing a shift of quality roles from the agency to either the designer, contractor, design builder, concessionaire or construction manager. There is little research pertaining to highway project QAOs; rather, the research has focused on organizational quality management, inspection, observation, specifications, pay factors and warranties. Additionally there is little research within the area of alternative project delivery speaking to the specifics of the assignment of project quality roles. As a result of time constraints and a lack of guidance and research the SHA has had to take an ad hoc approach to the assignment of quality roles. The goal of this research is to bridge the research gap and provide guidance to the SHA in the assignment of the project quality roles and responsibilities by linking the factors influencing the assignment of project quality roles to established QAOs. Outcomes of the research are five fundamental QAOs: Deterministic, Assurance, Variable, Oversight and Acceptance, the identification of ten different factors influencing the selection of a project QAO and the determination of the appropriateness of the QAOs for each selection factor. Another outcome of the research is the development of a project QAO decision support tool for the industry.