In 2004 FHWA issued direction that according to the Code of Federal Regulation,29 CFR 3.3 Part 5 Federal Contract Law Provisions electronic signatures are defined as a computer data compilation of any symbol or series of symbols executed, adopted, or authorized by an individual to be the legally binding equivalent of the individual's handwritten signature. Read FHWA Direction on Electronic Signatures A specific type of electronic signature is digital signatures. Digital signatures are defined as an electronic signature based upon cryptographic methods of originator authentication, computed by using a set of rules and a set of parameters such that the identity of the signer and the integrity of the data can be verified.
An entity such as a computer user can be assigned a unique digital identification. This digital identification is composed of a public key, a private key, and a digital certificate. As their names suggest, the public key should be shared amongst users who wish to carry out transactions amongst themselves, while the private key should be only known by its user. The digital certificate is used within a public-key infrastructure to allow a third-party certificate authority to verify that the digital certificate is correctly associated with that particular public key.
As public keys are shared amongst a group of users, someone’s public key can be used to encrypt a document and their respective private key can be used to decrypt that document. Confidentiality and data integrity of the sent document can be practically guaranteed assuming if the recipient is the only one who knows their private key. Similarly, someone’s private key can be ‘embedded’ into a document to constitute an electronic signature, and the identity of the electronic signature may be verified by using that user’s public key.
The Michigan Attorney General’s office, in concurrence of the Federal Highway Administration, issued a decision in 2011 authorizing the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to use and accept digital signatures.
The Department approved process is to use the OneSpan Sign ID Verification & Acceptance Electronic signature Solution (OneSpan), and OneSpan Sign Mobile Applications for document signing processes. More information regarding OneSpan digital signature can be found here: MDOT Digital Signature Program.
Construction Field Services owns over 250 forms, many of which were affected by migrating from DocuSign to OneSpan. Documents signed in OneSpan cannot have text revisions after the first signature is placed unless a created Template or Layout exists to allow for that process. The signature process may not be intuitive for some users and many forms may look different than they have previously. Signature fields have been removed from many MDOT forms as we refocus on areas where signatures are necessary. Signatures are still being placed on multiple party agreements, contract documents and amendments to contracts, and other forms as indicated on the form itself. Forms will specify what the expectation is for the authorization required. Forms may specify one of the following:
- Signature If a signature is being requested, that signature must take place in OneSpan.
- Stamp If an approval stamp/dynamic stamp/pdf review stamp is requested, this stamp is built into in all pdf creator applications, and all stamps from all pdf creators are acceptable. Stamps must include the individual’s name, and the date & time must be embedded within the stamp. The individual may use pdf stamps, non-OneSpan pdf signatures or even OneSpan signatures as long the minimum components of Name, Date and Time are included in the applied stamp.
- Name In some cases, a typed name is acceptable. A signature or stamp may also be applied, as they meet the minimum requirement of supplying a name in the required field.
It is prudent that all users are directing themselves to the MDOT forms repository to ensure they are using the most current form in all scenarios.
Please see below for instructions on some of MDOT’s forms:
- Inspectors Daily Report - IDR
- Please note guidance listed in Construction Manual Inspector’s Daily Report. Note that the text stating (Signature) is legacy text associated with FieldManager and will not/can not be removed. A pdf review stamp is the mandatory approval action for this document. Transition to AASHTOWare Project will negate the need for this instruction as the Department moves away from FieldManager.
- Form 1302 FED - Subcontract form
- Contractor signatures may be of any legal signature type. Complete and return a copy of the cover page and pay item page(s) to the Engineer prior to any subcontract work beginning.
- Form 0501 – Materials Source List
- All signature fields have been removed from this form. Document does not require signature in OneSpan and instead simply requires typed name of Engineering and Contractor staff reviewing and providing information for this form.
- Pay Estimates
- Previous guidance required electronic signatures on all pay estimates. Dynamic PDF stamps noting the approver’s name, date and time are now acceptable to be used to document pay estimate approval. See revised guidance in the Construction Manual for Construction Pay Estimate Approvals. Transition to AASHTOWare Project will negate the need for this instruction as the Department moves away from FieldManager.
- Form 1100A – Extension of Contract Time – Request Number
- All signature fields have been removed from this form. Document does not require signature in OneSpan and instead simply requires typed name of Engineering staff reviewing and approving the Extension of Time request. Note that Site Supervisor/Foreman/Contractor provided designee must be copied on this final document to ensure mutual understanding of items that will be paid or unpaid as a part of any perspective time extension.
- Form 1165 – Notice of Non-Compliance with Contract Requirements
- Form 1165 must be signed as two distinct processes: The Non-Compliance portion, and the Resume Work Portion. Two layouts are necessary in OneSpan to achieve one completed form. The steps necessary for completion of this form can be found here: 1165 Signature Process
- Form 0582B - Moisture and Density Determination
- The signature field has been replaced with an “Approval Stamp”.