National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency

Guidelines on Quality Assurance and Control Mechanism

Guidelines on Quality Assurance and Control Mechanism


The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana envisages a three-tier Quality Control & Quality Monitoring mechanism.

  • The first tier shall be with the PIU/senior Engineer of the PIU in charge of the work. The Contractor shall establish Quality Control laboratories and get the contractually stipulated tests conducted. The test results shall be recorded in the prescribed Quality Control Registers. Engineers of the PIU shall witness the carrying out of a percentage of tests as described in Para 3. All the concerned officers shall record their observations in the Quality Control Registers.
  • The second tier shall comprise periodic inspection by the State Quality Control Coordinator (SQC) and his staff engaged by the Nodal Agency, independent of the PIUs
  • The third tier shall comprise National Quality Monitors (NQMs) appointed by the NRIDA for the purpose, who shall be retired Senior Engineers from State/Central organizations. These NQMs will carry out Quality testing of PMGSY works on random sampling basis from the prioritizing list, mainly in order to confirm that the programme implementation and State Quality Control System is working satisfactorily. The NQMs are expected to make constructive suggestions relating to procedural aspects in addition to locating problems at individual work level. The SQC will be responsible for reporting compliance on the issues raised by NQMs and observations of NRIDA in this regard.

Quality Control Hand Book and Quality Control Registers

Ensuring the Quality of the road works is the responsibility of the State governments/Union Territory Administrations who are implementing the Programme. The NRIDA has published a Quality Control Handbook, which should be followed for ensuring Quality. Quality Control Registers shall invariably be maintained for each of the road works under the Programme. Payment shall not be made to the Contractors unless the mandatory tests prescribed in Rural Roads Manual and the Quality Control Handbooks have been conducted and results have been found in accordance with the specifications. Quality Control Registers will be maintained in two parts. The first part will be Quality Control Register - Record of Tests and the second part will be the Record of Abstract of Tests and Non-Conformance Reports.

  • Register Part-I: The first part of the register is the register of all Quality Control Tests conducted by the person who is responsible for the basic Quality Control Testing .As per provision of Quality Control by Contractor in the contract document, the Quality Control Register will be issued to the Contractor for every road work. This register will always be available at the work site. The register will not be taken away from the site in any case. The first part of the register will have following three sections:
    • Section 1:Earthwork
    • Section 2:Granular Construction
    • Section 3:Bituminous construction
  • Register Part-II: The second part of the register is the record of abstract of the tests conducted and Non Conformance reports. It will be maintained by the site in charge officer not below the rank of Assistant Engineer.
  • The QC Register will be issued in the same manner as the Measurement Book is issued to the work. Every register should be page numbered and no page should be removed. The register of issue of the Quality Control Register will be maintained by the head of the PIU.
  • In case of hill roads, where the work of only formation cutting may be executed, all the tests shown in the Earthwork section may not be required excepting tests for CBR and compaction. In such cases, the formats may not require.
  • The filling of tests formats of Part 1 and Part 2 shall be as per the guidelines of Quality Control Handbook

First Tier Quality Control

Head of Programme Implementing Unit (PIU) or the Executive Engineer is responsible for Quality Control of the works under his charge. He is responsible for all mandatory Quality Control tests. The Contracts as per Standard Bidding Document of PMGSY provides for establishment of field laboratories by the contactor. The following process is suggested for the first tier Quality Control

  • The official responsibility for proper Quality Control Tests is at Programme Implementing Unit level (PIU). If the Contractor is responsible for infrastructural arrangements for Quality Control Tests, then the following check mechanism may be prescribed.
    • All the tests should be conducted by the designated qualified staff of the Contractor and the Quality Control Register Part-I should be maintained by him.
    • 50% of the tests should be conducted in the presence of the in-charge JE of the work and the JE should record his observations in the Quality Control Register Part-I.
    • 20% of the tests should be conducted in the presence of the in-charge AE of the work and the AE should record his observations in the Quality Control Register Part-I.
    • 5% of the tests should be conducted in the presence of the in-charge EE/ PIU of the work and the EE/PIU should record his observations in the Quality Control Register Part-I. The EE/PIU will also ensure that the Non-Conformance reports are issued in time and the Contractor takes action in time through a mechanism described in Para (b) below.
    • The Superintending Engineer (SE), during his visits to the work will oversee the Quality Control Tests and record his observation in the Quality Control Register Part-I. The SE will monitor that the non-conformance reports are issued in time and the Contractor takes action in time.
    • The Chief Engineer (CE), during his visits to the work will review the Quality Control Test Register and records his observation on Quality Control Register Part-I. The CE will also review that the Non-Conformance reports are issued in time and the Contractor takes remedial action in time.
  • The monthly return of the tests will be submitted in the prescribed Performa by the Assistant Engineer to the Executive Engineer in the first week of every month. The Executive Engineer will review this return regularly to see that the Quality Control tests are being performed at the desired frequency and with required accuracy. The EE will also see that the Non-Conformance reports are issued by the AE whenever Non - Conformance occurs and the Contractor promptly takes actions on Non - Conformance reports. The payment of the Contractor should be regulated as per the returns of the Quality Control Tests.

Second tier Quality Control

As the second tier of Quality Control structure, periodic inspections of works will be carried out by the State Quality Control Units/ Monitors, setup/engaged by State Government independent of the Executive Engineer/PIUs. This tier of Quality monitoring is very important and has been designed to see that the Executing agency is carrying out the Quality Controls as per specifications. The States may designate any agency for this work or may engage retired officers of the level of Executive Engineer and above. The State Governments are expected to issue supplementary guidelines for the proper functioning of this tier. The following process may be adopted for State level Quality Monitoring.

  • There should be a State Quality Control Coordinator (SQC) of the rank of the Superintending Engineer (SE) or above. The functions of the Coordinator should be as follows:
    • To coordinate and supervise first tier Quality Control arrangement.
    • To coordinate and control the activities of State Quality Monitoring arrangement, and ensure compilation of action on the reports of State Quality Monitors.
    • To facilitate and coordinate the activities of the National Quality Monitoring arrangement and ensure compilation of action on the reports of National Quality Monitors.
    • To prepare monthly abstracts of SQM visits and an Annual Quality Report based on the Reports of SQMs and NQMs and action taken thereon.
  • State Quality Units/ Monitors (SQM) should be set up/ engaged by the State Government to oversee the Quality in the programme Districts. These monitors should be independent of the Executing agency and should report to the State Quality Control Coordinator. Quality Control organizations, agencies or individuals who have experience in Quality Control of road works can be engaged for this purpose.
  • The programme for SQMs should be drawn up in such a way that every work is inspected three  times. The first inspection of every work should be carried out during the execution of work and the last inspection should be carried out on the completion of every work, within one month of its completion.
  • The SQC may draw up a monthly Schedule for Monitors (Block/ District wise) so as to ensure systematic coverage. A well-defined system should be formulated to monitor the compliance of the observations of the State Quality Monitor.
  • The SQM should be given a detailed format for the inspection Report that should cover the following aspects.
    • Design of pavement and CD works.
    • Provisions made in estimates with regard to site requirements.
    • Management of the contract, deployment of qualified staff by the Contractor and establishment of a functional Quality Control Laboratory by the Contractor.
    • Construction Programme and progress of work.
    • Execution methodology and adherence to specifications.
    • Arrangement at Quality Testing Laboratories.
    • Record of Tests- Quality Control Registers and their upto date maintenance.
    • Accuracy of Quality Control Tests, issuance of Non Conformance Reports (NCR) and action of Contractor on NCRs.
    • Inspection of departmental officer/SQMs or NQMs and compliance of their instructions.
    • Provision and execution of CD works and side drains.
    • Road furniture, Logo, Signboards and caution boards
    • Timely payment to the Contractors.
    • Other issues including the technical knowledge of the staff of the executing agency and the Contractor.
  • The State Quality Coordinator may send the Monitor's reports to the Project Implementing Unit with a copy to the SE/CE. Compliance reports should be routed to the SQC through the SE/CE. All cases of delay in reporting compliance and major cases of deviation from acceptable Quality should be taken seriously.
  • The SQMs may hold Meetings with PIUs and the Contractors and inspect Field/ District Laboratories to ensure smooth functioning of the Quality Control Mechanism.
  • The SQCs /SQMs should also interact with the State Technical Agencies in matters relating to the design, testing and execution.
  • Each month, the SQC will compile an abstract of the SQM visits giving the District-wise observations and send copies to the DPIU, CE, Nodal Department and NRIDA in the prescribed Format.
  • The State Quality Control Coordinator should prepare and send an Annual Report to NRIDA through the State Nodal Agency comprising the analysed performance of State Quality Monitoring System. The analysis should include findings of the SQM reports, NQM reports, action taken in individual cases and systemic deficiencies detected and remedied.

Third Tier Quality Control

The third tier of Quality Monitoring is oriented more towards verification and review of systems and procedures being adopted at 1st and 2nd tier of Quality Monitoring, so that it can be ensured that specified requirements for Quality Management are being met.

As the third tier of the Quality Control Structure, the NRRDA is engaging Independent National Quality Monitors (NQM) mostly retired Senior Engineers with State/Central Organizations. The NQMs are given the letter of request once in one months for carrying out inspection as per the program for the forthcoming one months. The NQMs are required to inspect two districts in a single visit in one state in each of the two months. The NQM should finalize a suitable program to spend not more than three days in each district inspecting normally between 2 to 4 works on each days (2 works in progress or 1 work in progress and 2 completed works or 4 completed works). The states, districts as well as blocks where the inspection of works is to be carried out will be indicated in the letter allocating the states. Formats for inspection report of the monitors has been prescribed (Format D-1 &D-2 of part-II) and the NQMs are required to submit the copy of the report to PIU, SQC as well as NRRDA. The NQMs will also hold post inspection discussions with all the engineers in order to review findings of his inspection and to suggest improvements in execution to obtain better Quality for all other works under the PIU. The NQMs are also expected to interact with SQCs and STAs where convenient.

The National Quality Monitors are required to visit the work in accordance with the priority indicated in the guidelines issued to them at (Para.No.2 under "Prioritization of Works for Inspection"). They will evaluate each part of the work for material and workmanship as per the format for Inspection Report of National Quality Monitor, indicating the tests carried out and the test results obtained. They will also analyse the result in relation to the Contractor/ DPIU/SQMs testing/ inspection. A copy of the Inspection Report will be handed over by the NQM to the Head of the DPIU.

The National Quality Monitors will submit all individual work wise Inspection Reports along with a general analysis based on the works inspected by him as well as other inspection reports accessed by him. Since the role of the National Quality Monitors is guidance and improvement rather than mere 'fault finding', the analysis is an extremely important aspect and must be prepared with care, bringing out systemic deficiencies/ shortcomings and suggestions for improvement in

  • Design and Estimation
  • Execution and Supervision
  • Quality Control
  • Contracting etc.

The analysis of the Reports of the NQMs is done at NRIDA and the States are requested to take appropriate action on the report of the National Quality Monitors as quickly as possible.

Quality Control Laboratories

The States are required to ensure establishment by Contractors of Field Level Quality Control Laboratories. States are also required to ensure establishment/operation of District Level Laboratories as per the provisions of the Rural Roads Manual. District laboratories are required to be provided with the equipments and trained staff. The Laboratories of Engineering Colleges and other institutions should also be used for higher level of Quality Control Testing. For meeting the requirements of testing, the State Governments may empanel the laboratories of such institutions and may also fix the rates for conducting different tests. The NRIDA funds provision of equipment to District and Regional laboratories as per requirements given in the

Regular training Program should be organized for the staff of laboratories also to ensure affectivity of testing process and accuracy of results.

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