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For CWFP & SDWLP information, contact:
Environmental Loans staff

Construction management

Adequate project management is critical to the success of any Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) or Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) project. It is important for the municipality, architectural/engineering (A/E) firm, construction contractor, and DNR field staff to coordinate efforts throughout construction.

Program implementation details are outlined in the governing administrative codes and statutes: §§ 281.58 and 281.59 and 281.61, Wis. Stat., and chs. NR 162 and 166, Wis. Adm. Code.

Municipality's role

The municipality has the ultimate responsibility for getting its project constructed properly.

Municipal officials should:

1) Interview several A/E firms to obtain professional services that are critical for a successful project. A representative from the A/E firm should be on-site during construction to provide supervision, answer questions, take measurements and verify that the project was completed per plans and specifications.

2) Apply for and obtain federal, state and local permits before construction commences. This may include Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approval, plan approval, building, environmental, site access, dewatering, fisheries, wildlife, wetlands, waterways, etc.

3) Attend, participate and invite DNR staff to the pre-construction conference, which involves making decisions on how each segment of the project will proceed, communications are handled, change orders are processed, progress payments are made, etc.

4) Maintain contact with the A/E firm's on-site representative. Interaction could involve review of field notes, verbal and/or written progress briefings, and site visits.

5) Maintain contact with the DNR construction management engineer (CME) during the course of the project, particularly if an area of concern develops.

6) Assure proper and accurate cost accounting, invoicing, wage records (Davis-Bacon), project schedules, etc. Verify that the municipality and the A/E firm agree on these items.

7) Review and approve any proposed change orders. The municipality's authorized representative should conduct the review in conjunction with the A/E representative and the DNR CME.

8) Submit construction-related purchases to the DNR CME for approval prior to requesting reimbursement. Direct purchases must be procured properly in order to be eligible for reimbursement. For more information, read bids and construction contracts and the procurement guide for local governments receiving grants (state or federal) from DNR.

9) Attend site inspections conducted by the DNR CME. While all inspections are important, the most critical is the final inspection. Based on the final inspection, the municipality is expected to agree that:

  • the finished project is acceptable;
  • the project was constructed according to the plans and specifications;
  • the completed project is capable of functioning as intended; and
  • the system meets permit requirements.

DNR's role

The department's role in construction management includes conducting interim and final inspections. The DNR CME must determine whether construction is proceeding according to approved plans and specifications and the terms of the financial assistance agreement (FAA). The DNR staff must also make sure all financial transactions are legal, appropriate, and consistent with the terms of the FAA. The DNR loan project manager and disbursement specialist review requests for disbursement to make sure all costs are properly invoiced, eligible, and within the project budget (see request for disbursement).

To accomplish the DNR's role, the DNR CME or regional basin/watershed engineer will typically do the following:

1) Attend the pre-construction conference and conduct a site inspection, if possible, before construction begins.

2) Conduct interim construction inspections, which may include the following actions:

  • determine if construction field notes and schedules are being kept;
  • determine if the project is being built according to the plans and specifications approved by the department;
  • determine if equipment and materials are procured in a timely manner, properly stored for future project use, and that payment is made only for such equipment and materials.
  • compare field notes with contract requirements and loan budget periods, and remind the municipality of any necessary contract time extensions or budget period revisions that may be necessary;
  • review construction contractor, A/E firm, and municipal requests for disbursement to ascertain validity and compliance with applicable rules and regulations;
  • review municipal records regarding cost accounting, invoices, wage records, project schedules, and disadvantaged business enterprise utilization;
  • review the A/E representative's daily logs to see if they are up-to-date and thorough;
  • determine whether shop drawings and pay estimates are promptly processed, as-built drawings are being developed, claims and change orders are properly managed, and test records are accurate and complete.

3) Review change orders to determine whether they are eligible for funding from the CWFP or SDWLP. The DNR CME keeps the DNR loan project manager informed of all change order approvals.

4) Conduct the final inspection to assure the project is complete and to assist as needed with final actions necessary to close out the project (see project closeout).

Contact information
For information on this topic, contact:
DNR construction management engineers (CMEs)

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Disclaimer of guidance: This document is intended solely as guidance and does not contain any mandatory requirements except where requirements found in statute or administrative rule are referenced. Any regulatory decisions made by the Department of Natural Resources in any matter addressed by this guidance will be made by applying the governing statutes and administrative rules to the relevant facts.

Last revised: Monday December 23 2019