Module 17 quality management technical review and model certification
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Module 17 Quality Management, Technical Review and Model Certification. Civil Works Orientation Course - FY 11. Objectives:. This module will discuss: District Quality Control (DQC) Agency Technical Review (ATR) Independent External Peer Review (IEPR) Roles of Technical Centers

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Module 17 quality management technical review and model certification

Module 17 Quality Management, Technical Review and Model Certification

Civil Works Orientation Course - FY 11



  • This module will discuss:

  • District Quality Control (DQC)

  • Agency Technical Review (ATR)

  • Independent External Peer Review (IEPR)

  • Roles of Technical Centers

    of Expertise

  • Model Approval/Certification

Why the corps does review

Why The Corps Does Review

  • An extra set of eyes is good.

  • To ensure consistent application of policy, guidance, design criteria, etc across the nation.

  • USACE Goal is to always provide the most scientifically sound, sustainable water resource solutions for the U.S.

  • There are numerous statutory and Administration requirements for various reviews.

Examples of statutory and administration requirements

Examples of Statutory and Administration Requirements

  • Section 2034 of PL 110-114 – WRDA 2007

  • Section 2035 of PL 110-114 – WRDA 2007

  • Section 515 of PL 106-554 – Information Quality Act

  • Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review – AKA the OMB Peer Review Bulletin

  • EC 1165-2-209 Life-cycle review strategy for Civil Works Projects

Section 2034 wrda 2007 public law 110 114

Section 2034 WRDA 2007 (Public Law 110-114)

“IN GENERAL- Project studies shall be subject to a peer review by an independent panel of experts and subject to mandatory and exclusions.

The first time Congress established by law the requirement of the Corps to have decision documents reviewed by independent external experts…….



Chief may exclude:

  • No EIS and

    • not controversial;

    • negligible adverse impacts on scarce or unique cultural, historic, or tribal resources;

    • no substantial adverse impacts on fish & wildlife and their habitat prior to mitigation; and

    • before mitigation, only negligible adverse impact on a species listed as endangered or threatened

  • only rehabilitation/replacement of existing hydropower turbines, lock structures, or flood control gates within the same footprint and for the same purpose as an existing water resources project;

    • is for an activity for which there is ample experience within the Corps of Engineers and industry to treat the activity as being routine; and

    • has minimal life safety risk; or

  • does not include an environmental impact statement and is a project study pursued under CAP

Legislative history from conference report

Legislative History from Conference Report

“Section 2034 permits the Chief of Engineers to exclude a very limited number of project studies from independent peer review. The managers expect that project studies that could be excluded from independent peer review are so limited in scope or impact that they would not significantly benefit from an independent peer review.”

Section 2035 wrda 2007

Section 2035 WRDA 2007

The Chief of Engineers shall ensure that the design and construction activities for hurricane and storm damage reduction and flood damage reduction projects are reviewed by independent experts under this section if the Chief of Engineers determines that a review by independent experts is necessary to assure public health, safety, and welfare.

(b) Factors- In determining whether a review of design and construction of a project is necessary under this section, the Chief of Engineers shall consider whether--

(1) the failure of the project would pose a significant threat to human life;

(2) the project involves the use of innovative materials or techniques;

(3) the project design lacks redundancy; or

(4) the project has a unique construction sequencing or a reduced or overlapping design construction schedule.

Module 17 quality management technical review and model certification

Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001

(Public Law 106-554)

Under control of OMB

Applies to all Federal Agencies

There are no waivers to statutory requirements

There are No Waivers to Statutory Requirements



Ec 1165 2 209 applicability

EC 1165-2-209 Applicability

  • Applies to all USACE elements having civil works responsibilities.

  • Covers all levels of review from basic quality control to independent external peer review.

  • All feasibility, reevaluation, major rehabilitation, project modification, post-authorization change studies.

  • All CAP projects.

  • All design performed for new projects, modifications to existing projects, and/or on a reimbursable basis.

  • All O&M plans, reports, manuals, evaluations, and assessments etc.

Review types

Review Types

  • District Quality Control (DQC)

  • Agency Technical Review (ATR)

  • Independent External Peer Review (IEPR)

  • Policy and Legal Compliance Review

    • Conducted throughout the entire study process

Module 17 quality management technical review and model certification



Type I


Type II


Universe of Civil Works Technical Reviews

District quality control dqc

District Quality Control (DQC)

  • Review of basic science and engineering products focus on fulfilling quality requirements of the PMP.

  • Managed and conducted in home District by staff not directly involved with the work.

Agency technical review atr

Agency Technical Review (ATR)

  • Formerly known as Independent Technical Review (ITR).

  • In-depth review to ensure proper application of regulations, laws, codes, principles and professional practices.

  • Assess whether analysis presented is technically correct and complies with USACE guidance, policy and procedures.

  • Review work products and assure all parts fit together and are presented in a clear manner for the public and decision makers.

  • Conducted by USACE outside of home District with leader outside home MSC.

  • ATR documentation (DrChecks) should accompany all submittals.

  • Documentation of coordination with appropriate Centers of Expertise (e.g. relevant PCX, Cost Engineering CX, etc).

  • PCX’s developing Training / Certification Program

Independent external peer review iepr

Independent External Peer Review (IEPR)

  • Two types

    • Type 1 – on decision documents

    • Type 2 – Life and Safety on design and construction activities

Type i iepr mandatory triggers

Type I IEPR – Mandatory Triggers:

  • Significant threat to human life

  • Total Project Cost > $45M

  • Request by State Governor of an affected state

  • Any other circumstances the Chief warrants.

    • Significant public dispute (size, nature, effects)

    • Significant public dispute (economics, or environ costs, benefits)

    • Novel methods, complex challenges, precedent-settingmethods

Type i iepr


  • IEPR Administered by the PCX’s

  • Managed by Outside Eligible Organizations

  • Fully Federally Funded

Type ii iepr safety assurance review

Type II IEPRSafety Assurance Review

  • Applicability:

    • Flood Risk Management and Storm Damage Reduction Projects.

    • Any failure poses significant threat to human life.

    • Safety assurance factors must be considered during studies.

  • Factors to Consider:

    • Where failure leads to significant threat to human life.

    • Novel methods\complexity\ precedent-setting models\policy changing conclusions.

    • Additional Engineering considerations.

    • Chief of Engineers directs.

Final policy and legal compliance review

Final Policy and Legal Compliance Review

  • Washington-level determination that the recommendations and supporting analyses comply with law and policy.

  • Technical reviews are meant to complement policy review.

  • Policy Review conducted by the OWPR and facilitated by the RIT.

  • Legal review must be undertaken for AFB, Draft Reports, and Final Reports.

  • Legal certifications must be provided with Draft and Final Report submittals.

Review plans

Review Plans

  • Stand alone document but component of the Quality Management Plan (QMP) in the Project Management Plan (PMP).

  • Describes the scope and execution of anticipated review, including DQC, ATR, IEPR, and Policy and Legal Review, for the current and/or upcoming phase of work.

  • For Type I IEPR, PCX facilitates RP.

  • MSC Commander approves the RP to assure that the plan is in compliance with EC and the MSC QM and that all elements of the command have agreed to the review approach.

  • Only Deputy Director for Civil Works can approve exclusion from IEPR

Review plans1

Review Plans

  • RP anticipates and defines appropriate level of review.

  • PMP identifies all review requirements, processes, costs and schedules as integrated features of the overall project execution.

  • To the maximum extent practicable, reviews shall be scheduled and conducted so as not to cause delays in study or project completion. This is particularly pertinent in the case of external reviews.

  • The project budget shall include adequate funds for all necessary reviews.

  • The project schedule shall provide sufficient time for all reviews at the appropriate points in the schedule.

Centers of expertise roles and responsibilities

Centers of ExpertiseRoles and Responsibilities

  • Planning Technical Centers of Expertise (PCX) created in guidance 25 August 2003

  • EC 1165-2-209 requires that all Review Plans (RP) for decision documents be coordinated with the appropriate PCX

  • Review Plans are to be approved at the MSC level and publicly posted on the Corps web site

  • Coordinate and certify/approve models

Planning centers of expertise

Planning Centers of Expertise

David A. Weekly


(304) 399-5635

Eric W. Thaut


(415) 503-6852

Jodi Staebell


(309) 794-5448

Bernard E. Moseby


(251) 694-3884

Clarke I. Hemphill



Lawrence J. Cocchieri


(718) 765-7071

Peter H. Shaw


(469) 487-7038

Sub-Planning Center of Expertise

For Small Boat Harbors



Characteristics of a good reviewer

Characteristics of a Good Reviewer

  • Strong Technical Background

  • Familiar with Principles and Guidelines, WRDA, Statutes, and Corps Regulations

  • Good Writer and Communicator

  • Experience with Many Project Purposes

  • Strong Stomach and Thick Skin

  • Hard to find, PCX’s fielding web based training to grow “good” reviewers

Avoid these potential reviewer s mindset

Avoid These Potential Reviewer’s Mindset

  • “I don’t like the project” - pick it apart

  • “I wouldn’t have done it that way”

  • “You are Trying to Sneak Something by”

  • Perfection

  • Report must get a Nobel Prize for Literature

  • “What is that District up to now?”

Review issues

Review Issues

  • Review and study teams meet to resolve issues

  • District functional chiefs should decide on unresolved technical issues

  • Policy issues should be forwarded to Division

  • Issue Resolution Conferences may be called by District, Division, or HQ

Structure of comments

Structure of Comments

  • A clear statement of the concern (information deficiency or incorrect application of policy or procedures)

  • Basis of the concern (law, policy, guidance)

  • Significance of the concern

  • Provide suggested actions needed to resolve the concern

  • Review Team Leader should ensure there are no frivolous, conflicting, or duplicative comments

Kepe EDitorial commints off lyne

Responding to comments

Responding to Comments

  • All comments should be recorded in Dr. Checks

  • All Comments Require Response

  • Actions Taken Should be Clearly Documented in Response

    • Cite Location in Revised Document

  • Document Lessons Learned as Applicable

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