Quality Assurance System
Welcome to MCS&T.
Materials are everywhere.
At MCS&T, our goal is to work together to assure the highest quality of all materials incorporated into WVDOH projects. In this arena, we serve as stewards of the citizen’s money. The mission is to do what is necessary to ensure that we ask for the right things, and that what we ask for is the finished product we get. Simply put, our goal is to be effective at what we do.
We do this through use of a Quality Assurance System that has evolved over at least the last 50 years. Many folks with many years of experience in quality have contributed to the system in place today. As early as the mid 1960’s West Virginia was very active in incorporating a Quality Assurance System including both Quality Control activities performed by the material manufacturer, contractor, or producer, and Acceptance activities performed by the West Virginia Division of Highways. The federal regulations (23CFR) require each state to maintain a Quality Assurance System, an accredited central laboratory, and an Independent Assurance (IA) process. We at MCS&T try to use the resources available to the Department as best we can to provide a Quality Assurance System that is adequate to responsibly cope with the projected construction and maintenance programs in West Virginia. More simply put, we try to optimize the cost-effectiveness of our Quality Assurance System.
Our Quality Assurance System is very active in addressing several major areas key to the success of the system. These areas include sampling and testing, data and information handling, procedures and specifications, and training.
While many methods can be employed to assure quality, sampling and inspection is the foundation on which our QA System is built. We provide sampling and inspection services, both internally and externally, as a mechanism for evaluating materials. In order for a material to be evaluated and certified as acceptable, we require Evidence of Inspection. Depending on the material being evaluated, various methods are employed by this Division to provide Evidence of Inspection. These methods include Approved Source, Master, or Direct Coverage, to name a few. Our testing is performed by our Central Laboratory, the “backbone” of our Division.For specific information regarding Evidence of Inspection requirements use the flyout entitled “Evidence of Inspection”. We maintain annual accreditation from AASHTO through AMRL and CCRL. The effectiveness of our laboratory is a result of the personnel who work there. We maintain a qualified technical staff which works continuously to evaluate the multitude of materials used by WVDOH. Our Central laboratory is composed of various individual laboratories including: Aggregate, Soils, Petrographic, Cement, Metals, Welding, Asphalt, Special Testing, Coatings, and Chemistry Laboratories. Sometimes we even take our laboratory equipment on the road to evaluate materials and material processes as is the case with our Bridge and Roadway Analysis Group.
It is necessary to record, store, and reference information pertinent to the sampling and inspection of materials. All sampling and inspection data and information is currently handled through the use of the WVDOH Mainframe Computer system. Currently, work is being performed to replace this older system with a New Materials System. This new system will provide a better, more modern means for handling information and will work hand in hand with our new Project Record System (PRS).
MCS&T is active in the creation and maintenance of procedures and specifications, an essential component of a QA System. We maintain a list of Material Procedures (MP’s) for use in WVDOH construction. All current MP’s are available at this web site under the “Material Procedure” flyout. MCS&T holds an active position on the Specification Committee. A quick look at the WVDOH Standard Specifications reveals that the specification sections are mainly broken down into materials categories. Employees of our Division take an almost daily role in helping to update and maintain specifications pertinent to their area of materials expertise.
Training WVDOH personnel in the technical areas in which they work is essential for maintaining a qualified staff that can assure a high quality finished product. MCS&T acts as a central training agent for the WVDOH in various technical material areas or disciplines. We began in 1965 with a cooperative program for the certification of portland cement concrete and bituminous concrete technicians in the department and industry. Growing from that initial effort, training is now offered annually to technicians and inspectors in areas including asphalt, concrete, compaction, aggregate, metals, and coatings.
In summary, materials are everywhere, and so are we. Our core mission has not changed, but our methods are constantly evolving. There is a continuous effort in assessing all activities to ensure they are effectively contributing to the goal. What’s more, the WVDOH, just like the rest of the world, is constantly being asked to do more with less. This is a never ending process. Thankfully, the people who work at this Division, the most important resource available, make it possible to achieve our goal.
Aaron C. Gillispie
Director Contact Information:
“It has been said that one test is worth a thousand expert opinions. Since opinions may occasionally be inexpert, we might state the above in a slightly different manner. An invalid test is more detrimental than a thousand inexpert opinions. With this thought in mind, we have endeavored to do all possible insofar as sampling and testing procedures are concerned to minimize the probability of sampling and/or testing error.”
– Former Director, G.W. Steele
190 Dry Branch Drive
Charleston, WV 25306