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Construction monitoring is a key element of most construction contracts. It is most commonly

performed by staff appointed by the project consulting engineers, and is carried out to monitor and
ensure compliance with contractual programmes and specifications.

Over the years provincial roads departments and several South African consulting engineering firms
have produced a number of construction-related manuals. Most of these focused on structural works,
and provided useful information and guidance for both design and monitoring staff, as well as those
undertaking the actual construction. Having been produced in house, these manuals were however
not freely available, and for a considerable period little has been done to update and expand their

The increased pace and competitiveness of todays construction industry has made it essential that
construction monitoring be both thorough and effective, and has highlighted the need to develop and
make available a comprehensive manual to guide and assist monitoring staff.

This Manual seeks to address this need. It has been prepared on behalf of the South African National
Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) and continues their policy of pro-actively compiling and updating
relevant information, developing manuals and capacitating role players in the roads industry to ensure
a sustainable road infrastructure network. It brings a welcome addition to a number of other widely
used manuals and standards compiled by SANRAL (all available for download from, including the following:

Procedure for road planning and design, (2003)

Policy in terms of road planning and design, (2003)
Geometric Design Manual, (2002)
Code of procedure for the planning and design of highway and road structures in
South Africa, (2002)
Materials Code of Procedure M2
Drainage Manual, 5th Edition 2006

The Manual deals with the duties of construction monitoring staff involved with the structural works
on road projects in South Africa. Such works typically include bridges, culverts, retaining walls, toll
plaza structures and sign gantries, but may also include other miscellaneous structures required for
erosion protection or other purposes. The Manual specifically excludes matters relating to the
roadwork aspects of the works and concentrates on structures manufactured from concrete, the
construction material most commonly used in southern Africa.

The aim of the Manual is to describe the duties and responsibilities of the monitoring staff, and to
provide information and guidance to assist them in effectively executing those duties. It alerts readers
to items requiring forward planning and formal approval, and contains useful check lists and control
forms suitable for use on site. Although comprehensive, the Manual cannot however provide detailed
coverage of all aspects of construction monitoring, and is not intended to cover the wide range of
specialised construction systems and techniques available today.

The Manual will be of benefit to both junior and senior site staff, but its use in no way relieves them of
the responsibility of ensuring that they have a sound understanding of the construction drawings and
specifications applicable to the works, as well as their contractual and administrative responsibilities.
Firms contracted for the monitoring should therefore not place excessive reliance on the Manual and
still need to appoint competent and adequately trained and experienced staff. All such firms should be

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aware that they are required to exercise all reasonable skill and that they still have a duty of care in
terms of their agreement with the Employer.

The arrangement and layout of the text has been selected in an effort to present the information in an
easy to use format, which readers can readily scan to identify important items. The contents have
therefore been presented in chapters, each focusing on a specific subject, using various levels of sub-
headings to identify and organise the content. As each of the chapters is the work of a particular
person, the writing styles and approach to the subject-matter may differ, but this is seen as a positive
aspect of the work as a whole. Readers may also note that the text generally refers to the male gender.
This has been done for brevity, and it is acknowledged that both men and women may fulfill any of
the roles referred to.

All engineers and monitoring staff are encouraged to study and become familiar with the content of
this Manual. Inexperienced persons being employed on site for the first time should in addition
arrange for their mentor to brief them on the use of the Manual, remembering that the Manual is a
guide, and is not intended to be prescriptive. This distinction is rather like the difference between
knowledge and experience - knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, experience is knowing
that you dont put tomatoes in a fruit salad.

Application of the guidance presented is certain to reduce the likelihood of important items being
overlooked, and will assist in identifying potential problems before they occur. Most importantly, the
Manual will assist in achieving the goal of getting things right first time.

It is intended that the Manual be updated regularly, and for this reason it is published in electronic
format. Users should therefore print their own hard copy, and are free to customize the checklists to
suit their own particular circumstances. All users are invited to submit comments and suggestions
regarding the Manual to On SANRAL sites where structural work is being
undertaken a hard copy of this manual is a prerequisite, and audits will be undertaken to ensure that
this requirement is met.


The checklists provided are not prescriptive, and may be modified to suit the particular needs and
circumstances on the site. Two differing styles have been presented, and illustrate the differing levels
of detail which can be captured. Separate MSWord versions of the check lists are also included.

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