ACEC-NH/NHDOT CQI Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes for February 17, 2021

Meeting Location: Zoom Virtual Meeting
Day/Time: Friday (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

In Attendance:
Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT
Mike Long, MJ (Chair)
Ted Kitsis, NHDOT (Scribe)
CR Willeke, NHDOT
Jim Marshall, NHDOT
Michelle Marshall, FHWA

Unable to attend:
Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
Rob Faulkner, CHA


  1. Meeting Minutes: The meeting minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: Ted Kitsis
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Escalation Rate
      • Bill Oldenburg confirmed that the 2021 escalation rate of 2% was approved via an
        internal memo by Chief Engineer Bill Cass and Director Peter Stamnas. As this
        rate only affects the budget of standalone contracts, the ACEC group will have no
        further discussion of this rate for this year. It was mentioned that all consultants
        are paid the actual pay rates at the time services are rendered.
    • Establish Core Goal(s) of this Committee for 2021
      • The CQI committee is looking to identify items or topics that can be improved
        upon to help move project along faster and more efficiently. The committee
        identified the following topics that should be considered for further discussion:

        1. Agreement development and execution procedures.
        2. Project Development continuity.
          • Try to keep same people on projects.
          • Jim Marshall noted that Highway Design tries to keep the same
            team on a project but due to staffing shortages that isn’t always
            possible. This was one of the reasons the Bureau of Highway
            Design re-organized its sections recently.
        3. Scoping fee negotiation process before execution of an Agreement.
        4. And for projects that are underway let the consultants take a greater lead

          • DOT PM’s are overwhelmed and the committee sees this as an
            area that needs to be improved.
          • The committee’s goal is to advance projects faster.
        5. There isn’t a DOT PM manual to help with the transition of new PM’s.
        6. DOT working to have more standardized agreements so all bureaus have
          access to them and can use them.

          • Looking to streamline the Agreement process/effort to be more
        7. Engineer of Record Policy (currently in draft form).
          • Look at steps to engage Consultants during construction.
          • ACEC would like to provide comment on draft Policy.
        8. Improved communication and marketing of all the good things that the
          project is or is going to do.

          • Make sure FHWA direction is disseminated to all staff.
        9. Processes and procedures are constantly evolving due to audits that occur
          from time to time. The DOT finds it a challenge to effectively
          communicate these changes to Communities and Consultants.

          • Example: Bid analysis after bid openings.
          • Example: FOPIS
        10. Seems that in the last couple of years we have made things more
          complicated. It’s good to document things but many question the added
          value this brings to projects.

          • Having some flexibility would help mitigate some of the changes.
          • Many of these changes are mandated to the Department, usually as
            a result of audit findings or by FHWA directives.
          • Department has been looking to have a record of past decisions for
            liability issues as well as the inevitable staffing changes (FOPIS).
        11. Highway Design sub-committee is looking at a process (live document)
          that replaces the Engineering Report. The hope is to save time in the end
          and to assist engineers filling out the FOPIS.

          • FOPIS is actually a log of decision dates/events.
        12. Due to limited and reduced resources, the Department will be providing
          less reviews and the consultants will have a greater role in project
          management, including internal coordination, in the future.
    • Identify Individual Topics for Consideration and Prioritize
      • After some discussion the committee identified the following topics for
        immediate follow-up:
        1. Improve the Agreement process. (The DOT supports this effort.)
        2. Engineer of Record collaboration.
        3. Other topics not identified at this time.
  4. LPA Topics: ACEC has been getting a lot of questions regarding the recent LPA RFP’s (Oncall
    Design services and CE&I services) and is looking for an update to provide to
    its member firms.

    • CR noted that the Department is looking at this consultant selection
      process and will provide more information by the end of March or in early
    • A recent audit has found issues with the LPA G&C approval process that
      needs to be addressed before we can move forward with the On-call and
      CE&I Agreements. This will most likely require several changes to our LPA
    • All those consultants that submitted prequalification packages will be
      placed on a list that will be available on the NHDOT website for Towns to
      utilize in contacting forms for possible LPA assignments.
    • The RFP soliciting for On-call design consultants and CE&I consultants
      that the NHDOT will utilize for projects where the towns request that
      NHDOT preform the design or construction inspection is still under
  5. Status of Sub-Committees:
    • Contracts – Darren noted that the subcommittee continues to make progress on a
      standard scope of work – next meeting Feb 19th.
    • Bridge – Loretta noted that the subcommittee did not meet since our last meeting.
    • Highway – Jim noted that the sub-committee meets monthly and the group is
      developing checklists to aid in the reviews. The checklists are available on the
      NHDOT website for internal and external use (Link:
  6. Other Items:
    • April Tech Exchange
      • The conference sub-committee has completed the agenda. This year’s
        conference will be virtual and all presentations will be pre-recorded.
      • The conference will be the entire week of April 12-16, 2021.
      • Registration fee is lower this year so we are anticipating more attendees this
      • The DOT can send all staff that want to attend due to the cost and virtual
    • May Partnering Meeting
      • We don’t have a topic for this meeting at this time.
      • Usually The CQI committee provides a recap of what we have been talking
        about at our meetings.
      • The ACEC group thought it would be good to have an update on the budget
        and projected revenues in the highway fund.
      • Bill Oldenburg will check with the Commissioner to ask if she would consider
        doing a Town Hall meeting that was originally scheduled for this past
        January. It would be a timelier discussion if we can have the Town Hall
        meeting in late March, just before the April conference.
    • New Topics for Next Meeting
      • Consultant manual will be sent to the ACEC group for their review.
      • Design Build manual will follow shortly thereafter.
  7. Next Meeting – March 17, 2021