Bidding on Federal Construction Projects
All GSA design and construction contracting opportunities are advertised on the Federal Business Opportunities ("FedBizOpps"). To receive drawings and specifications for projects, contractors must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) system and in FedBizOpps, as drawings and specifications are usually issued electronically there. Announcements will contain instructions on obtaining classified drawings and specifications which are not distributed through FedBizOpps. The following areas are included in construction.
Design Services are competed using a qualifications-based selection process under the Brooks Act (Public Law 92-582, as amended) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) part 36.6. This is a two-step process where technical submissions of qualifications from Architect-Engineer firms are reviewed, and the vendors with the strongest technical proposals are interviewed in order to develop a list of finalists. The firms are ranked based on their technical qualifications, and negotiations are conducted with the top-rated firm for the contract award. If the government and firm cannot come to agreement during negotiations, the government will then proceed to the next-ranked firm for negotiations.
GSA uses this process to award Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) and small project contracts [XLSX - 190 KB] . A variation of the process, known as “Design Excellence,” is used for the major (prospectus) projects. In this process, the “Lead Designer” submits his qualification portfolio, and the portfolios are evaluated. In the second stage the Designers submit the qualifications of the entire team and are interviewed. The firms are ranked and negotiations are begun with the top-ranked designer/firm. The selection and award process takes six to 12 months.
In general, construction projects below the prospectus level are procured using either sealed bidding procedures, low-price technically acceptable competitive proposals, or competitive orders against existing multiple-award IDIQ construction contracts. The award will go to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder in accordance with the FAR.
Major Construction Contracts are selected using the FAR's “Source Selection” Method (FAR 15.1). There are many variations of this method. The basic method requests both Technical or Management Proposals and a Price Proposal. Once the proposals are received they are evaluated technically, and then evaluated in terms of prices. Tradeoffs may be made, and the selection of the “Best Value” is made. The Solicitations must state the relationship between the technical and price proposals, e.g. tech more important than price, tech equal to price, or lowest price technically acceptable. Competitive range can be determined and discussion/negotiation held to allow the offers to correct technical proposals and to clarify the pricing.
There is a two-step advisory process that allows for technical proposals to be evaluated, and offerors are advised of whether they are technically viable to compete in a particular procurement. The final evaluations are the same as the one-step process and deal with selecting the best value for the government. Most awards are made within 60 days of receipt of offers.
Performance and Payment Bonds
In accordance with FAR 28.102, all construction projects over $100,000 are subject to the Miller Act which requires performance and payment bonds. Performance bonds represent a promise of surety to the government that once the contract is awarded, the contractor will perform its obligations under the contract.
Payment bonds represent a promise of surety of payment to all persons supplying labor or materials in the work provided for in a contract.
The penal amount of each performance bond is 100 percent of the original contract price plus 100 percent of any price increases, unless the contracting officer determines that a smaller amount will adequately protect the government. The penal amount of each payment bond is 100 percent of the original contract price plus 100 percent of any price increases, unless the contracting officer makes a written determination that a payment bond in this amount is impractical; however, the amount of the payment bond must be no less than the amount of the performance bond.