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Published June 2021, Updated April 2023

USACE Series Part 2: Schedule and Quality Control

Published April 2023

  • Definable Features of Work (FOW) and Schedule Activity Coding
  • 3 Phase Quality Control and Schedule Features of Work (FOW) Coding
  • Schedule and Quality Control (QC) Daily Reports

In the second part of this series, we’re diving into the link between U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) construction schedules and quality control. Our goal is to help both government and contractor construction teams understand this alignment, ensuring a successful start of USACE’s 3 Phase Quality Control system.


The link between the project schedule and the Quality Control system exists with the contractor’s Definable Features of Work (DFOW) listing in the Quality Control (QC) Plan, as well as the contractor’s daily QC Reports which track and monitor schedule activity start and finish dates.


If the project schedule and the contractor’s quality control system aren’t properly aligned, the contractor may initiate the first phase of the 3 Phase QC system without the necessary submittals or actions, resulting in rescheduling and potential delays starting the work.


Successful alignment of the project schedule and quality control system ensures a smooth start of the first phase of the 3 Phase Quality Control system. It also enables accurate monitoring of schedule activities through daily QC reports, mitigating potential issues or disputes in the future.


In the sections below, we cover:

Example Broken-Out Definable Features of Work (DFOW) Listing

USACE Definable Features of Work DFOW Example Broken Out

Note that while each specification typically represents a DFOW, there may need to be multiple DFOWs broken out from a single specification section. If there are features of work within a specification section that require their own inspections, they’ll have to be their own DFOW.


Example: A project includes the specification 22 00 00 “Plumbing, General Purpose”. Within this specification section however, there are various portions of work that will require their own crews, quality control measures, and inspection. The snapshot below shows the DFOWs broken out from the summary-level 22 00 00.


The contractor’s DFOW listing in their Quality Control Plan relates to the schedule through the schedule’s standard activity coding structure.


The snapshot below is from the UFGS 01 32 01.00 10 scheduling specification and outlines the Standard Activity Coding Dictionary. This coding structure needs to be incorporated into the schedule file and facilitates the transfer of information from the contractor’s system (like Primavera P6) to the government’s system (the Resident Management System, or RMS).


Contractors upload their schedules to RMS in the form of a SDEF file so the government can review schedule and cost information for progress payments. As shown in the snapshot below, the Standard Activity Coding Dictionary includes a code for the project’s features of work (FOW), which is interchangeable with the term DFOW in this context.


The Features of Work (FOW) code incorporated into the schedule’s activity coding structure needs to align with the codes and descriptions found in the contractor’s Definable Feature of Work (DFOW) within their Quality Control Plan.

If these codes don’t match, the synchronization of the 3 Phase Quality Control System which begins with submittals and preparatory meetings will not align and can lead to the first phase starting without the necessary submittals or actions in place.

Standard Activity Coding Dictionary per the UFGS 01 32 01.00 10 Project Schedule Specification

USACE Schedule FOW

Example Definable Features of Work (DFOW) Listing

UFGS 01 45 00.00 10 Quality Control Specification
USACE Definable Features of Work DFOW Example
USACE Definable Feature of Work (DFOW)

Below is an example of what a portion of a DFOW listing may look like.

USACE Definable Features of Work (FOW) and Schedule Activity Coding

The contractor’s Quality Control Plan, typically required to be submitted within a month after notice to proceed (NTP), is required to include a listing of the definable features of work (DFOW).

As described in the standard UFGS 01 45 00.00 10 Quality Control specification, a feature of work is a separate task with unique inspection and control needs and is identifiable by a specific trade or discipline.


3 Phase Control described in the UFGS 01 45 00.00 10 Quality Control Specification

The 3 Phase Control system connects to the project schedule through the Features of Work (FOW) coding structure as described in the section above. These codes can be used to group and sort activities within the schedule to show when the first activity for each FOW needs to start.

This allows the Quality Control team to ensure all submittals related to that feature of work are submitted, reviewed, and accepted on time to begin the Preparatory Phase and hold the Preparatory Meeting.

Additionally, this grouping and sorting by the FOW code in the schedule allows the contractor to link the schedule to the submittal register in RMS, allowing the submittal register to auto-populate and auto-update the contractor “need-by” dates.


USACE 3 Phase Quality Control

USACE 3 Phase Quality Control and Schedule Features of Work (FOW) Coding

USACE’s 3 Phase Quality Control System is a process that includes 3 key phases for each definable feature of work (DFOW), intended to ensure projects meet the quality standards defined in the contract:

Preparatory Phase: Before work begins, a preparatory meeting is held to discuss upcoming requirements for the feature of work, review the specifications, confirm the required submittals have been submitted and approved, and discuss safety measures. This phase ensures everyone involved is on the same page and ready before the work starts.

Initial Phase: This phase takes place as the FOW’s construction begins, with an initial inspection to ensure the work complies with the contract and quality standards. This phase helps identify issues early on so they can be fixed quickly and not turn into bigger issues later and helps everyone start off on the right foot.

Follow-Up Phase: The follow-up phase involves regular inspections and monitoring to ensure the work is compliant with the contract and meets the quality requirements. It’s like getting a regular check-up to make sure everything is going well, and the government and contractor stay in touch to fix any problems that come up and ensure quality.

Each of these 3 Phases are described in detail in the UFGS 01 45 00.00 10 specifications.


This link between the project schedule and QC Daily Reports ensures that activity actual start and actual finish dates are accurately recorded and monitored in real-time, helping to mitigate potential issues or disputes later about when activities started or finished.


Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAvlWp5TE14

USACE Daily Quality Control Report Example Activity Start Finish

Quality Control (QC) Daily Report Requirements per UFGS 01 45 00.00 10

The snapshot below is of an example Quality Control Daily Report in the Resident Management System (RMS) program. The highlighted section shows where activity actual start and actual finish dates are added.


USACE Daily Quality Control Report Schedule Activity ID

USACE Schedule and Quality Control (QC) Daily Reports

The contractor is required as part of the Quality Control system to provide a QC Daily Report to USACE, submitted through the Resident Management System (RMS). This daily report details the work performed throughout the day, the number of workers on site, the equipment used, inspections or tests performed, and any issues that came up along with how they were addressed.

The QC Daily Report is required to describe work performed that day, identified by the project schedule activity’s ID.

The activity ID is referred to as the Network Analysis System/NAS activity number in the specification snapshot below. (Whenever the government refers to the NAS, it’s simply referring to the project schedule per the 01 32 01.00 10 specifications).


In the second part of this USACE series, we’ve explored the link between construction schedules and quality control.


  • The definable feature of work (DFOW) listing in the contractor’s Quality Control (QC) Plan needs to align with the schedule’s feature of work (FOW) activity coding structure to ensure the first phase of the 3 Phase Quality Control system can begin with required submittals and other contract actions.


  • The FOW coding structure in the schedule allows activities to be grouped and sorted to confirm when the first (earliest) activity for each FOW will start, allowing the schedule to be linked to the submittal register in RMS to monitor submittals and “need-by” dates.


  • The QC Daily Reports are required to identify by schedule activity ID the date each activity starts and finishes, ensuring accurate recording and monitoring.

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This blog is for general informational purposes only and is not to be considered an official interpretation or enforcement policy of the UFGS standard specifications. As individual project requirements vary, refer to your specific contract. See our Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer for additional information.

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