Approved/Qualified Products Process
MnDOT Policy OP005
View/print signed policy (PDF)
The approved/qualified products process and Approved/Qualified Products List, known as the APL/QPL Product Lists, apply to materials, products, and engineered systems for use on property owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Utilization of the process and lists assist MnDOT with the following:
- Preparation of procurement specifications when a material, product or engineered system is on a list;
- Use of traditional material or performance specifications when a material, product or engineered system is not on a developed list;
- New material, product or engineered system development or procurement.
Other political subdivisions are encouraged to review these requirements for potential adoption by their agencies.
MnDOT is required to comply with regulatory requirements found in federal and state laws, rules, and regulations. For the purposes of this policy, there are two primary areas, environmental evaluation and engineering evaluation, where professional collaboration is essential for materials, products, and engineered systems for use on MnDOT property. This policy sets forth MnDOT’s internal procedures for the process.
The above primary areas are part of the larger MnDOT Product Lists used by MnDOT personnel and contractors to select products for use on MnDOT property. This policy is an over-arching umbrella under which all current and future APL/QPL will function. The process provides a consistent and transparent framework to ensure:
- Quality of materials - Provide the process for product testing, sampling, certification, decertification and recertification for MnDOT materials and used on MnDOT property. Comply with the Quality Assurance Program, and other engineering standards and regulations.
- Reduction of legal liability - Environmental due diligence is exercised to examine the environmental performance of a product or waste material for potential environmental impact and liability associated with its use on MnDOT property.
- Efficiency and financial effectiveness - Streamline and develop a consistent evaluation process for materials, products and engineered systems.
- Employees involved in the evaluation of materials, products, and engineered systems for the MnDOT.
- MnDOT and local agencies involved in materials, products, and engineered systems procurement and construction.
- Vendors and suppliers involved with furnishing materials, products, and engineered systems.
1. Approved/Qualified Products Process
Some products may require an operational review with provisional approval by the evaluation team, which may include MnDOT lab testing to verify performance or field review. Vendors are responsible for notifying the primary contact (as listed on the Process website of product upgrades or new product names, for recertification.
A. Submittal process and review
- Refer to the Process website for information on the submittal process and review.
- The submittal process starts when the manufacturer or vendor completes and submits the Product Evaluation Application form with all required documentation.
- Refer to the website for the Product Lists and Contact Us for the list of MnDOT contacts for product categories.
- The applicant is required to follow the process as listed on the Process website.
B. Preliminary environmental evaluation of the submittal
An assessment of the viability of the material, product or engineered systems by the primary contact (Contact Us) determines the need for further information. The MnDOT Office of Environmental Stewardship (OES) will determine if a product under consideration for approval requires an evaluation for environmental performance. OES determines if a full review of the product or an alternate product screening is necessary.
C. Detailed engineering evaluation of the submittal
Pending a successful preliminary environmental evaluation, members of the MnDOT engineering evaluation team conduct an evaluation of the material, product or engineered systems. At this stage, more information from the applicant, such as questions about the performance under local field conditions, may be necessary. The product submittal at this stage must include the applicable material, product or engineered systems information specified by the Process website for that material. The primary contact (or expert office) will notify the applicant in writing with the results of this review, which does not constitute approval for use on a MnDOT property.
Acceptance will only occur after submittal requirements are satisfied and any other requirements or field evaluations are completed. When a materials, product or engineered systems is on an approved/qualified product list or receives provisional approval, it is eligible for use on MnDOT property in accordance with project provisions. Vendors are required to inform MnDOT of changes to product formulation, which will be addressed in the MnDOT acceptance letter.
Send inquiries on the acceptance program to:
Product Lists has contact information for specific products.
2. Decertification from the Approved/Qualified Products List
MnDOT will decertify materials, products or engineered systems for a variety of reasons, examples for decertification include, but are not limited to:
- Misrepresentation or performance issues with material, product or engineered system;
- Material, product or engineered system no longer meets specifications;
- Vendor or supplier is no longer active in the market;
- Vendor or supplier lacks authorization from MnDOT to supply the material, product or engineered system.
3. Recertification for the Approved/Qualified Products List
Due to the variability in complexity and unpredictability in the time and the scope of specifications, MnDOT will establish the recertification requirements on a case-by-case basis.
All factors that comprise MnDOT’s determination of the quality of the product as specified in the contract requirements. These factors include verification sampling, testing, and inspection and may include results of quality control sampling and testing.
An applicant is a vendor or engineering system supplier who prepares the submittal and who wants to be included on the approved or qualified product list.
A complex collection of many components or materials for field assembly in accordance with specific procedures designed, detailed and assembled to function as complete engineered systems. The components may include different manufactured materials, fabricated units, engineering design details, connection, construction procedures and other components.
Environmental performance is a qualitative measure of the environmental liability associated with use of a product or reuse of a waste material.
Provisional status of materials, products, engineered systems, services, or sources occurs when it passes initial tests or review, but successful field-testing is required for “approved” or “qualified” status.
Quality Assurance Program
MnDOT has a quality assurance program that assures that the materials and workmanship incorporated into each Federal-aid highway construction project on the National Highway System (NHS) in conformity with the requirements of the approved plans and specifications, including approved changes.
Qualified materials, products, and engineered systems meet all applicable standards and specifications.
All materials, products, and engineered systems must meet specifications adopted by MnDOT prior to use on state projects. Specifications may be a combination of test and review results from several sources.
A vendor is a supplier or manufacturer listed on the approved or qualified product list of project material. The vendor is not the contractor.
Verification Sampling and Testing
Qualified testing by MnDOT or its designated agent as specified in the contract documents including sample rates.
MnDOT assigns the responsibilities for certification, decertification, and recertification to the technical and specialty area. The technical area establishes a process to coordinate their review with other offices:
- Review by the Office of Environmental Stewardship of the information provided in the submittal and make a recommendation to the Approved Products List primary contact on whether the product or waste material should proceed with evaluation for potential inclusion on the Product Lists or rejected based on the expected environmental performance.
- Review by the MnDOT engineering evaluation team regarding material aspects of vendor or engineered system supplier application and documents for completeness and notify vendor of any missing information;
- Review by the MnDOT engineering evaluation team of the information provided in the submittal and make a recommendation to the Approved Products List primary contact on whether the product or material should proceed with evaluation for potential inclusion on the Product Lists or rejected based on the expected engineering performance.
Primary Material, Product or Engineered System Contact
- Manage the evaluation, testing and recommendation or rejection of materials, products or engineered systems;
- Manage and maintain the APL list that the contact is responsible for;
- Manage material, product or engineered system category on the APL list;
- Establish new product lists that include procedures and criteria for product qualification.
Approved Products List (APL) Committee
- Provide guidance on the APL process;
- Recommend the primary contact for an APL review or the development of a new APL for a product or class of products that does not fit an existing list.
- APL/QPL primary contacts serve as members of the committee.
Q: Who pays for the testing required by the Approved/Qualified Product Process?
A: The product vendor or manufacturer is responsible for all costs associated with testing requirements.
Q: Is this evaluation necessary if a material, product or engineered system has approval for use from another state?
A: Yes, MnDOT evaluates materials, products or engineered systems for use based on Minnesota law. Approvals from other states do not replace the MnDOT Approved/Qualified Products Process.
Q: Does a local agency have to use products from the MnDOT Approved Products List on their projects?
A: Yes, for projects on the state highway system, interstate or any other property MnDOT owns, otherwise no.
Q: Are all product submittals to the MnDOT Approved/Qualified Products process reviewed for environmental performance with the MnDOT Hazard Evaluation process?
A: No, only products or proposed reuse of waste materials that have a potential to release chemicals during application or long-term use of the material and that could result in contamination of the environment are evaluated with the MnDOT Hazard Evaluation process.
Q: Is the environmental and engineering review for a product, material or engineered system required when the respective item does not have an APL/QPL?
A: Yes, a review by the Office of Environmental Stewardship and the expert engineering office is required.
MnDOT Standard Specifications for Construction
MnDOT Office of Environmental Stewardship
MnDOT Office of Materials and Road Research
MnDOT Materials Lab Testing & Inspection
Minnesota Statutes §174.01 Subd. 2 (10) Creation of the Minnesota Department of Transportation “environmental goals”
Minnesota Statutes §174.03 Subd. 6 Duties of the Commissioner “social, economic, and environmental effects”
23 CFR §637.207 Subpart B Quality Assurance Program
Responsible Senior Officer
Susan M. Mulvihill, P.E.
Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer
Glenn Engstrom, P.E.
Director, Office of Materials & Road Research
Jim Kochsiek, P.E.
Office of Materials & Road Research