Nonstandard Special Provisions (nSSPs)

An nSSP is a Non-Standard Special Provision that is modified beyond what is allowed in the instructions or a special provision that is not covered in the list of DES Office Engineer (DES-OE) approved SSPs (Standard Special Provisions). Any pavement related nSSP must be approved by the State Pavement Engineer through the Office of Asphalt Pavement or Office of Concrete Pavements. See guidelines below.

Guidelines for nSSP Development and Approval:

Guidelines for nSSP Development and Approval:


Non-Standard Special Provisions (nSSPs) may be developed to address site-specific issues or new technologies that do not have an approved standard. Section 6.9 of the Construction Contract Development (CCD) Guide states, "An nSSP is a specification that is not published by Office of Construction Contract Standards (OCCS) and an SSP with added or deleted language not covered by the SSP instructions". The CCD Guide also states that it is the owner of corresponding standard specifications and special provisions role and responsibility to review and approve with nSSPs to assure that legal, contractual, technical, and other important issues to the State are addressed. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a consistent approach & process for developing contractually sound nSSPs and obtaining timely approval. These guidelines supplement and enhance those found in the CCD Guide for nSSPs. The Office of Asphalt Pavement owns Standard Specification Sections: 30, 36, 37, 39, 92, & 94 and the Office of Concrete Pavements owns Standard Specification Sections: 19-3.01C(6), 19-9, 19-10, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 36-2, 40, 41, 42, 68-4, 89, 90, 96-1.02O, 96-1.02P, & 96-1.02Q.

Who provides approval for pavement-related nSSPs?

If pavement-related nSSPs are used in a project, approval must be obtained from the State Pavement Engineer (SPE), through the Office of Asphalt Pavements or Office of Concrete Pavements (Pavement Program).

What is a pavement-related nSSPs?

There are three types of pavement-related nSSPs that require approval from the SPE, specifically:

  1. Edited Pavement-Related SSPs

    Generally, these are existing pavement-related SSPs that are altered to fit the needs of a specific project. Examples of edited pavement-related SSPs include but are not limited to changes to:

    • Material requirements
    • Installation methods
    • Workmanship requirements
    • Testing methods and procedures
    • Payment and measurement clauses
    • Allowance of new products or proprietary products to be used
    • Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) or warranty requirements


    Modifications that do not require approval include:

    • Elimination of text not relevant to the project pursuant to the CCD Guide Section 6.8, "Editing an SSP."
    • Changes that are allowed in the instructions for the SSP.
  2. New Pavement-Related SSPs

    These are newly developed pavement-related SSPs. They could be written to involve a specially developed pay item, use a new product, or better define an element of the project.

  3. Pavement-Related Pilot SSPs

    Typically, these are previously written pavement-related nSSPs that are being tested before being made standard. In some instances, they may be specifically developed for a project. They may involve new products, construction practices, or alternate methods of payment. If a pavement-related pilot SSP is used, an evaluation report may be required in order to evaluate its effectiveness.

How is approval for a pavement-related nSSP requested?

To obtain approval for a pavement-related nSSP, please complete the following:

  1. Prepare a draft version of the proposed pavement-related nSSP that addresses the need, meets the Department's formatting requirements for nSSP (see the CCD Guide Section 6.9, "NSSP"), and complies with State and federal legal requirements.
  2. Obtain the necessary agreement and concurrence from district functional units for the proposed pavement-related nSSP. For pavement-related nSSPs, the District Materials Engineer (DME) should be consulted and concur with the proposal before it is sent to the SPE.
  3. Prepare a request for approval of a pavement-related nSSP memorandum (see sample request memorandum below). The district can determine who is to sign the memorandum, but should designate at least a Senior Transportation Engineer or equivalent.
  4. Sample Request Memorandum (DOCX) 


  5. Provide in the subject line of e-mail request: SSP section number, project EA, and title (Asphalt Pavement or Concrete Pavement), (e.g., Sub: Request approval for nSSP 39-150, EA 01-123456 Asphalt Pavement).
  6. Attach the following files in the requested e-mail:
    1. nSSP request memo (Fill out all areas of the sample memorandum)
    2. Proposed nSSP
  7. On the memorandum, list the pavement-related nSSP(s) being requested and give a justification that describes how the problem situation is resolved for each. Below is a sample justification. This is a new pavement-related nSSP for the use of white glue (Elmer's) as a bonding agent between asphalt and concrete associated with placing dikes on concrete shoulders. This specification is being proposed because white glue is cheap and safe if digested. This specification includes material and strength requirements. Presently, there is no Standard Specification for this product. A detail accompanies this specification. This item has been used on several projects, including: 13-0T0501, Pue 80; 15-268101, Elp 49; and 14-4874Q1, Ara 708 projects. Submit the above information to the SPE to the following: along with:

    • Project title sheet
    • Project typical sections and layouts (mark up the affected areas on the layouts)
    • Quantity table
    • Any backup information that can justify the changes
    Upon receiving written approval for the pavement-related nSSP, include the written approval in the submittal to the DES Office Engineer (DES-OE). If the pavement-related nSSP is rejected, the Requester will need to make the necessary changes to the plans, specifications, and estimates that are affected by the rejection.


    Note that if the pavement-related nSSP includes a proprietary item (i.e., a method, material, or product that is only available from a single source), additional approvals will be required. For further information and instructions, please consult the Highway Design Manual, Section 110.10, and the CCD Guide, Section 6.10.

    Documents should be submitted electronically. If some items cannot be sent by e-mail, please inform the Pavement Program in the e-mail transmittal and place the documents in intradepartmental mail immediately.

What happens when a request for approval for a pavement-related nSSP is submitted?

Once the request is received by the Pavement Program, an acknowledgement of receipt will be sent to the requestor within two business days.

Preliminary Review

Upon receipt of the approval request, the Pavement Program will do a preliminary review to confirm all the necessary information has been received.

If Yes: Detail reviewing of the nSSP will start,

If No: The review process will not start (Requestor will be asked to submit the missing information. This may delay the approval process).


  • During the detailed review, there may be a need for additional information from the requestor. It is the responsibility of the requestor to provide this information in a timely manner in order to avoid delays in the approval process.
  • After review of the nSSP request is completed, approval or non-approval will be sent to the requestor in the form of an email.

When should the request for a pavement-related nSSP be made?

A request for a pavement-related nSSP should be submitted as soon as the need is known, and the submittal should allow adequate time to review and provide concurrence or rejection before a project is submitted to the DES-OE. Because of the time needed to review a pavement-related nSSP request, there is no guarantee that concurrence will be given prior to the project Ready to List (RTL) date if the request is submitted after the project is in the DES-OE. Additionally, if a request is made at the last minute and is rejected, additional changes to the PS&E package may be required that can delay the RTL date.

How long does it take to process a request for a pavement-related nSSP?

The length of time depends on the extent and complexity of text changes but may take up to four weeks. The Pavement Program also will make any requests for additional information at this time. Please note: If additional information is requested, the Pavement Program may suspend review of the pavement-related nSSP until the information is received.

How can the process be expedited with approval achieved on the first submittal?

The following hints can help the Requester expedite a pavement-related nSSP request:

In developing the draft pavement-related nSSP proposal, the Requester should consult experts in the various technical and procedural aspects, including the DME, district construction and office engineer, and others who may have relevant experience or may be affected by the pavement-related nSSP.

The Pavement Program is available to assist and provide guidance to the district on preparing the pavement-related nSSP, but this guidance should not be construed as approval.

What happens if I do not get approval for my pavement-related nSSP?

Failure to obtain approval for pavement-related nSSPs could result in rejection of the PS&E submittal by the DES-OE and can be considered an error and omission in contract documents.

Can I use an nSSP that was approved for use on a prior project?

Once an nSSP is approved it can only be used for the intended project. If for any reason an approved nSSP needs to be modified or changed, the requestor must re-submit the modified nSSP request along with the reason(s) for change for re-approval.


Please forward any questions/comments/suggestions to Last updated 02/18/2020.