Fabrication and materials

This section of the BGSS provides requirements, specifications and standards, for materials and fabrication applicable to Ministry bridges.  The Ministry has developed material and fabrication standards documents which provide in-depth specifications related to particular bridge materials and fabrication. The documents are referenced in the Ministry standard requisition templates and are applicable for all Ministry projects unless specifically stated otherwise by the Ministry for a particular project.

Before constructing a bridge structure on a Forest Service Road, proponents should understand the standards, specifications and other requirements for design, fabrication, professional oversight, and bridge material requirements in British Columbia.

Fabrication standards


Unless otherwise approved by a Ministry engineer, all materials used for the construction of bridges must be new. The materials or material combinations must conform to applicable Ministry, CSA, ASTM, or other standards and must have the appropriate supporting identification.

All material shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and relevant CSA standards, unless otherwise specified by Ministry standards or a Ministry engineer.

Before a non-standard (unapproved by the Ministry) component, system or product is considered for use on an FSR bridge, it should be brought to the attention of the Ministry’s Engineering Branch, Office of the Chief Engineer, for formal evaluation. If the branch determines that component, system or products meets design, performance and durability requirements and may provide efficiencies, those components, systems or products may be incorporated as acceptable Ministry standards.

Where an unapproved structure or component is being proposed for a project before the Engineering Branch has completed a full review, the Ministry engineer responsible for the project is responsible to determine whether the proposal is acceptable, and whether site specific implementation requirements may be necessary.  To be acceptable as a substitute for standard materials, these materials or material combinations shall be of the same or better strength and durability than the standard materials used for an application.

New or innovative materials

Newly developed or innovative products, materials or material combinations must be pre-approved by the Ministry and may be considered only after they have been tested and evaluated for strength and durability.  To be acceptable as a substitute for standard materials, these products, materials or material combinations shall be of the same or better strength and durability than the standard materials used for an application.

Quality control and quality assurance

Quality control (QC) is generally defined as the ‘checking activities’ undertaken by a fabricator to ensure a product is provided that meets contract requirements, and that the causes of unsatisfactory production have been eliminated.  For example, QC for structural steel will normally require implementation of QC checklists for layup and welding of individual members, and other checking and verification processes aimed at identifying, rejecting, and correcting defects in the finished product.  Similarly, QC for precast concrete normally includes, among other checking and verification processes, the preparation of, and adherence to, a Quality Control Plan (QC Plan) which is a formal written document prepared by the fabricator that describes the policies and procedures used in the fabrication process to achieve contract requirements.

Fabricators producing bridge components for installation on Forest Service Roads are solely responsible for all QC. These activities include monitoring, inspecting, and testing the means, methods, materials, workmanship, processes and products as necessary to ensure the work conforms with applicable designs, standards and specifications.

Fabricators shall implement a well-coordinated approach to all operations related to performance of the works and shall organize their team and operations in keeping with the goal of doing things right the first time (i.e., mistakes should be eliminated).

Fabricators shall prepare and implement a Quality Control Plan (QC Plan) for a fabrication project.  Each component of the QC Plan shall address materials, processes, products, and documentation. The QC Plan is required to cover the work in its entirety, including without limitation, all materials the fabricator and any sub-contractors are supplying, and all items and phases of fabrication related to the project. The QC Plan shall include, among other requirements as necessary, quality control checklists for each element of the work in sufficient detail to gauge conformance with all significant contractual requirements.

Fabricators shall also ensure that all workers are familiar with the QC Plan, its goals, and their role under it; as well as with the contract specifications associated with the work they are to undertake. Fabricators shall appoint a QC Manager to oversee the QC Plan.

The work shall be undertaken in accordance with the QC Plan and shall be well managed, with any testing being representative of actual operations. A fabricator’s QC Plan may be operated wholly or in part by a qualified sub-contractor or an independent agency/organization.  However, the QC Plan’s administration (including conformance with the plan and its modifications) and the quality of the fabrication work, remains the responsibility of the fabricator.

Fabricators are responsible for obtaining and providing mill test certificates, radiographic or ultrasonic test reports, concrete test reports, and other documentation for each project as applicable. Additionally, fabricators shall submit to the Ministry’s Quality Assurance (QA) inspection agency all completed QC checklists signed-off by responsible parties as close to the actual work as appropriate to the nature of the work (e.g., by the actual worker or a foreman for most work) demonstrating that the submitted checklists have been checked for compliance with contractual requirements and as evidence of that responsibility. The Ministry may request the fabricator to submit additional QC documentation (e.g., copies of its completed and signed-off QC checklists), relevant to the project, upon request.

Additional information about the in-plant QA inspection process, as it applies to bridges procured by Purchase Order through the government Procurement and Services Branch (separate from an installation contract) is included in the standard bridge material requisition templates.

If a bridge is being procured through a contract agreement rather than a purchase order, the following form is required to be sent to the in-plant QA inspection agency:

Ministry in-plant fabrication quality assurance (QA) inspection program

All materials and fabricated components shall conform to the current Ministry standards and shall not be acceptable without in-plant inspection by the Ministry’s in-plant quality assurance (QA) inspection agency.  The following requirements for in-plant quality assurance applies to structures built under all Ministry contracts and, where applicable, to structures authorized in a Timber Sale Licence that have been identified by the Timber Sales Manager to become crown assets after termination of the Timber Sale License.

Note: The Ministry may reject any supplied structure components that have not undergone in-plant inspection by the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency.

Prior to, or during, fabrication and assembly of steel, concrete and wood components, a fabricator shall show or provide written documentation to the in-plant QA inspector that indicates all materials meet the contract requirements. Additionally, a fabricator shall submit quality control documentation in accordance with the requirements and time frames specified under a contract.

Quality Assurance (QA) is a process, independent of the fabricator’s QC, that encompasses the activities undertaken by the Ministry’s QA inspection agency (by persons or companies independent of those doing the work) to verify that the final product satisfies contract requirements (generally meeting the requirements of the materials, drawings, and specifications).  This includes verifying that quality control has been performed effectively by the fabricator, thereby providing confidence that the product satisfies the relevant quality standards.

Keys to the success of a QA process are:

  • Inspecting most, if not all, of the outputs to preclude hidden problems or field fixes that may delay the project or result in increased costs, including bringing any observed shortfalls to the attention of the fabricator for remedial action in the plant; and
  • Proceeding with the QA only when the fabricator has completed its QC work.

Similar to the fabricator’s QC Plan, each component of the in-plant QA Program will address materials, processes, products, and documentation.

Independent of the QA inspections by the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency, the fabricator shall carry out its ongoing QC Plan during the performance of the works.  The Ministry’s QA Program activities will not relieve the fabricator of its QC responsibilities under the terms of a contract.

The Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency will conduct inspections of the work once the fabricator has advised that it has completed its QC work. If the Ministry’s QA inspectors observe non-conformances with the work, they will advise the fabricator and report them to the Ministry.

In planning the work flow, and prior to commencement of the work, the fabricator shall coordinate with the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency to determine any “hold points” and “witness points” for inspection or non-destructive testing.  For any identified hold points, work shall not proceed past the hold point until it has been signed off by the fabricator’s QC and Ministry’s QA processes.

A hold point is a mandatory verification point beyond which a work cannot proceed without approval by the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency. The work cannot proceed until the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency is able to verify the quality of the completed work.

A witness point is an identified point in the fabrication process where the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspection agency may review, witness, or inspect the material, method or process of work. The fabrication activities, however, may proceed.

The in-plant QA inspection agency completes an in-plant inspection report for each bridge and submits it to the Ministry.  The Ministry keeps on file all relevant material documentation, such as mill test certificates, test results, and inspector reports.

Ministry in-plant QA inspection scheduling for steel bridge components

The Ministry inspections shall be scheduled at the following stages during fabrication, as a minimum:

  • Prior to welding, which includes:
    • Verification of material mill certificates, material dimensions and layout; and
    • Verification of welding equipment, consumables, welding procedures and welder qualifications.
  • On completion of welding and before shipment, which includes:
    • Verification of weld locations, sizes, profiles and workmanship; and
    • Verification of finished dimensions, camber, and sweep.

Ministry in-plant QA inspection scheduling for concrete bridge components

The Ministry inspections shall be scheduled at the following stages during fabrication as a minimum:

  • Pre-pour inspection (to CSA Standard A23.4 and project documentation), which includes:
    • Inspection of forms for size, shape and quality; and
    • Inspection of reinforcement for quantity, quality, shape, spacing, size and placement in forms.
  • Post-pour inspection and reporting, during which:
    • Dimensions of all elements shall be verified to ensure tolerances are being maintained as per the specifications;
    • Finishes, blockouts, keyways and epoxy protection of the cut-off strands (prestressed only) shall be verified;
    • Camber or crown shall be checked, as per project drawings; and
    • All non-conformities shall be corrected to the inspector’s satisfaction.

The fabricator shall carry out an ongoing quality control program as required by CSA Standard W47.1 Certification of Companies for Fusion Welding of Steel, and CSA Standard W59 Welded Steel Construction (Metal Arc Welding).

Non-destructive testing is the responsibility of the fabricator.  If non-destructive testing of welded joints reveals imperfections, the fabricator shall correct the quality of welds to the Ministry’s in-plant QA inspector’s satisfaction at the fabricator’s own expense.

The manufacturer shall carry out an ongoing quality control program, as required by the most current edition of CSA Standard A23.4 Precast Concrete- Materials and Construction.

Storage and curing. Elements shall be stored and cured according to the manufacturer’s documented procedures and in accordance with CSA A23.4.  In addition, prestressed concrete members shall be fabricated, cured and handled in accordance with Appendix E: Manufacture of Prestressed Concrete Members.


Material standards

Bridge Identification Standard (PDF, 28.4KB): Detailed specifications for identification methods that are required to be utilized by fabricators prior to supplying bridges to the Ministry. A fabricator is required to provide identification information about the bridge via markings on each bridge that consist either of painted lettering or information on an engraved metal plaque.

Steel Guardrail Component Paint Standard: Standards and specifications for painting of steel guardrail components, allowable paint systems types, surface preparation, and general requirements.

Concrete material standards: Standards and specifications for concrete bridge components and the manufacture of prestressed concreted members.

Wood standards: Standards and specifications for bridge timbers, lumber materials, timber connectors and pressure-treated wood.

Steel and welding standards: Specifications for using steel components and requirements for welding completed on bridges.

Standards for bearings, joints and couplers: Specifications for the use and fabrication of these components.

Riprap standards: Standards and specifications for rock riprap quality, sizing and placement.

Requisitions and bridge material templates

Bridge material requisitions must be consistent with the design. It is recommended that a Ministry bridge engineer be consulted when developing a bridge material requisition for a specific project.

The language in the standard bridge material templates should be incorporated into:

  • requisitions to Procurement Services for bridge materials
  • Government contracts where bridge material supply is included in the contracted works
  • Requirements for bridges to be installed by Road Use Permit (RUP) holders on Forest Service Roads (FSR)

The design and quality assurance requirements for bridge material supply under direct requisition, or through a design, supply and construct contract, or by an RUP holder, are identical.

Bridge material requisitions should limit the design requirements to specific structural design. The required components for a structure should be fully determined, by the structural design engineer, before materials are acquired. For example, the general arrangement design of slab girder bridges should specify:

  • Whether the girders are connected
  • Whether the connections are field grouted or welded shear connectors
  • Girder connection details to the abutments

Requisitions should be specific to the bridge materials being ordered and reference the applicable bridge design and construction standards, specifications and standard drawings. Only in the odd instance where bridge materials have had a unique design completed should other drawings be included in the bridge material specifications. In such cases, the attached drawings should be limited to the detail necessary for the bridge material fabricator to implement. Incorporation of general arrangement drawings, which require interpretation by the bridge material fabricator, is to be avoided.

The Ministry has developed standard bridge material templates to be used by Ministry staff or others for ordering bridge components or complete bridges for installation on Forest Service Roads or by the Ministry.

Use the following standard bridge material templates and other documents to capture bridge component material requirements when acquiring bridge materials for installation on Forest Service Roads or for other Ministry projects.

These templates specify requirements, including necessary qualifications for bidders, related to bridge component supply contracts.  The templates provide a standard layout of bridge information that assists bidders in efficiently determining the technical specifications related to a particular bridge contract.

Fabricators, consulting engineers, contractors, and others are able to view the standard  templates in order to determine typical Ministry contractual expectations for bridge design and fabrication contracts. Standard bridge material templates are intended to be completed by or in consultation with Ministry engineers, or the professional engineer responsible for the design and/or installation of a bridge structure.

The bridge material templates are living documents and it is recommended that the latest templates be accessed and utilized when ordering bridge materials or developing contracts with bridge material supply phases. The bridge material templates can be downloaded in MS Word through the following links:

The standard bridge material requisition templates do not address bridge construction / installation that occurs at the final bridge crossing location (on-site bridge construction / installation standards are described in the Construction section of the BGSS).

In most cases, the standard bridge material requisition templates are utilized directly for contracts that exclude field installation of the bridge or bridge components. If bridges or bridge components are to be designed and fabricated as part of a larger construction / bridge installation contract, the Ministry individual preparing the contract documents (typically a complete tender package) shall ensure that all relevant requirements contained in the standard bridge material requisition template for the particular structure being ordered are included in the contract documents that apply to the larger construction / installation contract.