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Standards Explained

The Cities and Counties that make up the region of Hampton Roads, Virginia recognized the need to develop uniform construction standards for improvements in public rights of way. Prior to the development of the Regional Construction Standards (“Standards”), most of the Hampton Roads municipalities had developed individual construction standards, many of which were severely out of date, or inappropriate for the newer technologies that were being developed. Contractors and consultants, who provide services throughout Hampton Roads, were frustrated that each jurisdiction had different construction standards for performing very similar work. Often times, the legal documentation, technical specifications and methods of payment for conducting the work varied drastically. Time and again, contractors (and consultants) would need to familiarize themselves with the conditions to execute the work in a particular jurisdiction, which resulted in a waste of time and money.

The initial direction of the Standards was to address “horizontal” improvements and those involving the major elements of roadways, drainage and utilities (water distribution and wastewater collection). These documents are intended to support the majority of issues the communities face in building typical roads and utilities. Large (over 36-inch diameter) utility pipelines, major roadways, and vertical construction (including buildings) are not intended to be addressed by the Regional Construction Standards, although projects have adapted the Standards for "vertical"; applications. In a nutshell, the Standards are intended to provide quality construction throughout the region, simplify the bidding and construction administration process, and reduce construction costs.

On May 20, 1998, HRPDC enlisted a consultant to furnish professional services to assist in the development, management and implementation of the Standards. The First Edition was published in December 1999. The latest version, the 6th Edition, was adopted by HRPDC in 2016. 

In 2005, the Department of a Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) formally recognized the Standards as a reference document, similar to the VDOT Road and Bridge Specifications or AWWA Manuals. As such, the bulk of document does NOT need to be reproduced for each project. In addition, the document had been approved by the Virginia Health Department for water distribution projects up to 36-inches in diameter.

Modification to the Standards may be proposed by interested parties by going to the HRPDC website and downloading the “Proposed Revision Form”. The completed Proposed Revision Form is returned via e-mail and allows the user to offer potential changes with supporting information for initial consideration by the TRC. The “Publication Updates” website page displays Proposed Revisions that have been ultimately approved by the Full Committee. The Standards do not test or approve products. Product reviews are performed at the locality level. Each locality must then decide if the Publication Update should be incorporated into their “Standing” Special Provisions.

HRPDC provides training on the use of the document on a regular basis at their Chesapeake Office in the Board Room. The training lasts approximately 3 hours. Participants are presented with a Certificate of Completion for the completion of the course and are awarded 3.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Professional Development Hours (PDHs). There is a nominal charge for these training sessions to recover the reproduction costs of the Training Manuals that are provided.

In 2020, “On-Line” training was offered with 3 separate modules, each worth 1 PDH. There is no charge for the on-line training. The first Module – “Basics” provides an overview of how the Standards were developed and how to customize the document for a specific project and is a precursor for Modules 2 and 3. Module 2 focuses on the General Provisions or Front-End documents and illustrates changes made from the 5th to the 6th Edition. Module 3 is currently “Under Construction” and will discuss important passages in the Technical Specifications and identify Standard Details that were added in the 6th Edition.

The document may be obtained electronically at or by purchasing a “hard copy”, for a nominal charge at the offices of the HRPDC. The Front End documents are available in Microsoft Word software, while the technical specifications and standard details are available in Acrobat Reader (.pdf) format.  The user must acknowledge all modifications to the Regional Construction Standards and should illustrate changes in the Front End documents using strikethroughs and bold for deletions and additions, respectively. The user is entirely responsible and completely liable for misrepresentations to this document. In October 2008, the document was copyrighted to prevent unauthorized modifications to the document.                     

Through 2019, over 1500 projects have been successfully completed using the Regional Construction Standards with a combined value of over $1.5 Billion. Construction values have ranged to $22 million with an average value of approximately $1.1 million per project.  Projects have included roadways, drainage, sewer rehabilitation, VDOT Urban-funded roadway improvements, streetscape, water distribution, sanitary sewer, collection storm water management, site plans, and demolition.

The Standards were developed under the auspices of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) and represent a collaborative effort of the 17 member communities, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), and the Hampton Roads Utility and Heavy Contractors Association (HRUHCA). Many municipal, HRSD and HRUHCA representatives have spent countless hours serving on committees that guided, edited, refined, and established these Regional Construction Standards. Designers, material suppliers, contractors, attorneys, purchasing agents and consulting engineers have provided timely and insightful comments, along with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Department of Health.



Updated April 30, 2020

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