MDOT Implements “New Claims Procedure”
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
On January 30th, after almost two years of collaboration and work by the Department and MITA, MDOT leadership signed into policy their new procedure for review of contractor claims. This new procedure, formally issued as Bureau of Highway Instructional Memorandum 2008-02, Review of Contractor Claims, replaces an outdated and organizationally archaic process defined in MDOT documents dating back to the mid 90’s. "We have to thank MITA's former president, Steve Mancini, for his persistence and leadership in getting us together to get this job done", commented MDOT Director Kirk Steudle, "it is a significant accomplishment."
“Our intent in developing this new claim procedure was to establish a process that is visible and known,” said Randy Van Portfliet, MDOT’s Superior Region Engineer. “In addition, it was equally our intent to develop a process that requires an increased level of attention, accountability, and urgency by the contractor and the department alike”.
A significant improvement in the process is the formalized two-step administrative progression that no longer includes a project/TSC level hearing. The project/TSC level hearing was removed from the process with the intention of providing the contractor, and the TSC delivery engineer and manager maximum opportunity and flexibility outside the formal claim process to resolve claims. The removal of the project/TSC hearing from the formal process, does not however, allow the contractor to proceed directly to the region level.
Included in the new claim procedure is a Claims Process Flowchart that provides a single page visual representation of the entire process. The flowchart identifies the process steps and the anticipated maximum time durations for each step.
A major addition to the procedure is the development and implementation of a statewide claims database that will track the status and disposition of all claims. Although still under development, each region will, on an interim basis, maintain a spreadsheet with the pertinent information relative to all claims within the region. Contractors will have “read only” access to the statewide claims tracking database when it is implemented.
“This new claim procedure is without a doubt a significant improvement over the old procedure … from the ability to understand the process and see the steps with the anticipated maximum durations on the flowchart, to having a tool to track a claim as it moves through the process, are all huge improvements from the industry perspective,” said Glenn Bukoski, MITA’s vice president of engineering services. “We appreciate MDOT’s understanding of our concerns with the old claims procedure and their invitation to be their partner in writing this new procedure. We look forward to our joint commitment to keep it a living and dynamic document so that ten years from now we aren’t saddled with an outdated, cumbersome process.”
The new claim procedure becomes effective March 1, 2008, and will be applicable to a claim filed with a delivery engineer for projects on which no claimed work has been started prior to March 1, 2008, or the contractor’s notice of intent has not been filed prior to March 1, 2008. When requested, the region engineer may agree to incorporate claims filed prior to March 1, 2008, into the new procedure to facilitate resolution of existing claims.
To view and print the MDOT Bureau of Highway Instructional Memorandum 2008-02, Review of Contractor Claims, which includes the new procedure click here.
If you have any questions or comments contact Glenn Bukoski at firstname.lastname@example.org or Doug Needham at email@example.com or call them at the MITA office at 517-347-8336.