on Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 03:18 pm:
I have very little experience in the use of RFP's. I contract
out for construction and A-E projects. I have never used an RFP
I would like to know what would be included in an offerors
technical proposal when using an RFP for construction. Along
those same lines, would the Government provide a detailed design
specification or a performance specification? It's hard for me
to imagine some of the contractors that bid on my jobs
submitting anything more than a bid.
on Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 10:32 pm:Anon, these
are pretty broad questions. Is this a "design-build" project or
a "design-bid-build" (100% Government furnished design)? Do you
work in the Corps of Engineers or in DOD? If the COE, you may
E-mail me directly and identify the District, then I will try to
advise you who you can talk to for more information. Happy
on Thursday, November 16, 2000 - 03:22 pm:
Not from Corps or DOD. Was referring to traditional
"design-bid-build". After reading GAO decision B-286266 (TLT
Construction Corp.) and it made me wonder about the use of
technical proposals for construction RFPs. I assumed the COE
provided an in-house design to the K.O. who ultimately decided
to go out with an RFP. I would guess that a design specification
The more I thought of using RFPs for construction the more I
wondered about what would be included in an Offeror's technical
proposal. As mentioned earlier, this is unfamiliar territory for
I would think that a technical proposal submitted in response to
a construction design specification would basically outline the
contractor's plans for the construction. It would include a
detailed summary of the contractor's labor mix, labor hours,
materials, equipment, and other items required to perform the
work. It may even go as far as discussing the contractors plan
for implementing items under their safety plan, quality control
plan, etc. Am I on the right track?
If a performance specification was used in the above referenced
case this would almost make it a "design-build" project, would
it not? In such a case the Offeror's technical proposal would
essentially be providing a design as well as the construction.
Am I still on the right track?
on Thursday, November 16, 2000 - 10:59 pm:
Anon, Was the TLT Decision a Mobile District solictiation
that I read the other day?
I'm familiar with the evaluation criteria they use because my
old boss and I originally developed it. In a design-bid-build
RFP (in-house or A-E designed), we generally ask for a
"Performance Capability" proposal, to determine which contractor
is most capable or most likely to succeed. However we may
occasionally ask for some "technical approach" information to
determine how well the prospective contractor understands the
project scope - especially on critical or extremely comlex
Some typical Performance Capability factors (not all are always
organization: including home office support, field office
organizational structure and staffing, management approaches to
subcontracting, scheduling, project controls, quality control,
etc.; key personnel staffing and qualifications, key
subcontractors for critical systems, past perfromance, extent
and relevance of recent experience, preliminary schedule,
bidding the contract duration, subcontracting plans and past
Cost may be of equal, greater or lesser importance - sometimes
we use lowest=priced, technically acceptable approach, although
that is trickier due the inevitable similarities in a go/no-go
evaluation to "responsibility" criteria. That is another
subject, too complex to get into, here.
Hope this helps, Happy Sails! Joel
on Friday, November 17, 2000 - 09:45 am:
Probably was the same decision, don't know if it was Mobile
Dist. but it was COE project on barracks at Ft. Bragg.
Like I said, I have little knowledge of RFP actions, especially
for construction. But let me see if I've got this half-way
right. You usually request a "Performance Capability" proposal
from offerors when going out with a "Design-Bid-Build"
The TLC decision refers to a "Technical Proposal" that included
the following factors: experience, past performance (includes
subfactors timeliness and quality), effectiveness of management,
and compliance with safety standards.
So, is the TLC "Technical Proposal" the "Performance Capability"
proposal you discussed above?
Also, thanks a lot for your feedback.
on Friday, November 17, 2000 - 01:56 pm:
I am with a Civilian Agency and we have recently begun doing
contstruction projects using RFPs. We believe that we have
gotten excellent results using negotiation techniques for these
acquisitions. Generally, we use these evaluation criteria; past
performance and experience of the contractor, project
co-ordination and approach to this project, past performance and
experience of the sub-contractors, and schedule. Each criteria
is accompanied by an explantation of what we expect to be
included in the offeror's response. In the projects that I am
personally familiar with, the design was government furnished,
and we sent out the total package to interested offerors i.e
specs, drawings, and sections A through M. Given our initial
unfamiliarity with negotiated construction projects we spent a
lot of time doing the evaluation,and the CO worked closely with
the evaluation team. As I stated at the top of this message, we
liked the results and are now doing it whenever it makes sense
to do so.
on Friday, November 17, 2000 - 11:04 pm:
Anon, the Ft. Bragg barracks was a Savannah District project.
To address your question, yes the "technical proposal" mentioned
in the TLT Decision is what I refer to as a "performance
capability" proposal. "Technical" is the FAR's generic term for
the non-price portion of the proposal. FAR 15.3 uses the terms
"quality" and "technical" sort of interchangeably.
Although "past performance" is a quality factor, it is
separately addressed from other technical/quality factors, to
stress its recently enhanced importance since the Federal
Acquisition Streamlining Act, circa 1994 and Federal Acquisition
Reform Act, circa 1995-96 ("Clinger-Cohen Act") . It's
separately described because it is now a mandatory quality
evaluation factor, regardless of whether other non-price factors
are included in the RFP.
The offeror's management plan, organization, proposed key
personnel and experience factors often were referred to as
"MOPE", more recently called "Performance Capability" in many
COE Districts (even though they are "technical factors" in the
FAR). I coined the latter term several years ago. Since I teach
the only COE course in construction source selection, its use
has spread somewhat. I use the "Quality Proposal" term in
construction RFP's to describe the non-price proposal; I use the
term "technical proposal" to describe proposal factors related
to physical or technical features of the proposal and
"performance capability" for the MOPE features.
I'll try to soon publish some sample construction solicitation
sections on "Proposal Submission Requirements" and "Evaluation
Criteria" (corresponds to Sections "L" and "M" in service
contracts, which use the Uniform Contract Format) on our
Internet Design-Build Guidance.
Happy Sails! joel
on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 08:37 am:
Thanks so much. I believe I've got the jist of it now.
Hopefully I'll never run into a situation where I'll absolutely
need to use a construction RFP. Sounds a lot more difficult than
construction IFB's. Again, I really appreciate the information.
on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 06:21 pm:
Allow me to suggest that it is very easy to use an RFP (i.e.,
competitive negotiation under FAR Part 15) to solicit proposals
for a construction contract. The process need not be much more
difficult than sealed bidding, and has many advantages over
You do not need to ask the offerors for extensive "technical
proposals." I would advise against asking contractors to submit
proposals of the kind that Joel mentioned unless the project is
very large and the competing offerors will be large construction
For small to medium sized construction projects you can select
the contractor based on the following four evaluation factors:
(1) experience with construction projects of the nature and
scope of yours,
(2) past performance on such projects,
(3) understanding of the project based on proposed price
(4) price reasonableness.
If the project is expected to exceed $1,000,000, then you must
also evaluate proposed small-disadvantaged business
You should say in your RFP that nonprice factors are
significantly more important than price.
The advantages of the RFP process (competitive negotiation) over
sealed bidding are as follows: (a) before selecting the
contractor you can ask for clarification from offerors in order
to develop a more complete understanding of their proposed
prices, (b) you can negotiate with offerors (conduct
discussions) in order to bargain for better prices, (c) you do
not have to award the contract to the low, responsive,
responsible bidder, and (d) you can avoid the SBA's certificate
of competency procedure, thereby avoiding award to a marginally
competent firm. The main disadvantage of the RFP process is that
it is usually more time-consuming and labor intensive than
sealed bidding, although it need not be so if an agency knows
what it is doing.
I would say this to you: If you are satisfied with the project
results that you are getting now using sealed bidding, then
stick with it. However, if you find that you are frequently
dealing with marginally competent firms and that this is causing
problems during project delivery, think about switching to
Many agencies now use competitive negotiation to select
construction contractors and they don't have any more trouble
awarding contracts than they did when they used sealed bidding,
and they often have fewer problems during project delivery.
If you decide to use negotiated procurement, do your homework.
Make sure that you understand the rules and procedures.
on Tuesday, November 21, 2000 - 07:33 am:
Anon, I generally agree with Vern, sorry to confuse you wuth
my diatribe. However, for any project of size important enough
to go with an RFP, instead of an IFB, I would also evaluate
qualifications and experience of the proposed key personnel; if
there are one or two key-critical-substantial trades, evaluate
the proposed subcontractors, when the prime intends to
subcontract this work.
These are two of the most important and useful subfactors. Key
personnel will make or break the project and subcontractors will
perform 80-90% of the actual construction. Primes generally
don't do much self-performed work anymore (I also provide a form
and definition for self-performed work - offeror fills it out
and we evaluate go/no-go whether the prime will meet the minimum
statute based requirements for self-performed work).
Primes can submit multiple key subs - we base the rating on the
weakest of any alternatives proposed. Subs fill out one short
form for each project they wish to offer as experience/past
It's not difficult for you to ask for or to evaluate nor for
contractors to submit "performance capability " proposals - they
do it all the time for private clients, too. We use standardized
forms for qualifications, experience and past performance. Easy
to fill out, easy to evaluate, easy to make comparisons during
the subsequent trade-off determination. Our contractors see the
same format each time and it is no big deal to them.
Generally don't need a technical approach proposal for small to
medium jobs, unless there is some feature of the project
extremely complicated or difficult to find or furnish.
Happy Sails! Joel
on Tuesday, November 21, 2000 - 07:40 am:
Forgot to mention that I agree with Fred, too. Happy Sails!