Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersAn Innovative Process for the Development of the New City of Calgary Road Construction Specifications – A Case Study

An Innovative Process for the Development of the New City of Calgary Road Construction Specifications – A Case Study


In 2009 the City of Calgary commissioned EBA, A Tetra Tech Company (EBA) to undertake a comprehensive review of the City‟s standard specifications for road and other surface works construction. A process was developed that would incorporate input from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and build consensus within the contracting and development industries as well as with City technical and administrative groups. The initial step in this process was a half day project kick off meeting, bringing together a large number of people from across the various stakeholder groups. As part of this effort, working groups were tasked with discussing and reporting back on three fundamental questions. What do we want the specifications to achieve? What level of responsibility (and risk) should be with the Contractor, Owner and Developer for quality? And, how do we balance initial cost with generational accountability? The outcomes served to provide the review team with five guiding principles for the ultimate delivery of enhanced specifications, including; 1) Improved Clarity – As specifications evolve over time often revisions are made to address previous issues and new technologies. The revised specifications are presented in a clear and concise manner. 2) State-of-the-Industry Material and Construction Quality Standards – Provide the most recent recognized quality standards that will satisfy the expectations of Calgary taxpayers. 3) Clearly Defined Roles and Focusing the Responsibility for Quality on Contractors and Suppliers – Provide the means to enable Contractors and Suppliers to “take ownership” of their processes. 4) Delivering Cost-Effective and Sustainable Infrastructure – Consistent with the City‟s Plan-It and Triple Bottom Line direction, all aspects of project delivery must have the underlying principal to provide safe, reliable and sustainable infrastructure. 5) Fair and Equitable Resolution Process – Consistency, simplicity, risk management, and fair and equitable dispute resolution principals are essential to meeting industry objectives. Over a period of 18 months an interactive process including, draft specification development, presentation to, and soliciting of input from, various industry stakeholder groups, developing consensus and incorporating input, was used to arrive at a solution that had “buy in” from all parties. This paper describes in detail the process and final outcomes of this innovative approach to specification development. It will also highlight some of the technical aspects that will provide the citizens of Calgary with sustainable, quality surface works construction for decades to come. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Art Johnston
Joe Chyc-Cies
Bozena Czarnecki
Construction, Maintenance and operations