joel hoffman

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About joel hoffman

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    P.E., DBIA

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    Following God, Family, Sailing, Motorcycling, Hunting, Volleyball; Acquisition, Source Selections, Contract Administration, Construction, Design-Build Construction, mods, claims, TFD, TFC, project controls,

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  1. A long standing problem between agencies and the DCAA has ultimately been "a failure to communicate". The auditors would usually document in the audit report that the agency "did not provide a technical analysis". The agency personnel complained that the auditor "didn't provide any meaningful findings". I believe that the root cause was usually that the technical people didn't (don't) how auditors perform audits (e.g., sampling, not examining the basis of every cost) and the auditors don't understand the technical aspects of claims/proposals. My most meaningful DCAA audits resulted from face to face discussions over my concerns and questions regarding the proposals, which would help guide the auditor.
  2. Edit: deleted. I misidentified the name of a poster.
  3. Incompetence reigns. And those KO's want to hire contractors using performance capability evaluation criteria. Not necessarily related but you mentioned that you never heard of government lawyers advising KOs to delay acting on REAs to force claims. I was told numerous times over the years that the Air Force liked to force claims so that the Judgement Fund would be used to pay the contractor. The AF PMs even asked us why we didn't consider such an approach. We would reserve funds to cover possible liability for REAs and claims. Therefore, those funds weren't available to the AF customer for user requested changes and desired enhancements Somebody was obviously teaching them the practice of using up as much funding as possible then let the Judgement Fund pay the claims costs. It was routine for AF MILCON projects to be awarded at prices far exceeding the Programmed Amount... in my 12 or so years experience as construction agent for the AF, that Service displayed Ferrari desires with only Yugo budgets.
  4. The thread at this location is closed for further comment: While I was browsing that thread this morning. I remembered that formerfed and others mentioned that some agencies drag their feet in resolving REA's (and unpriced changes, too). Apparently, some take little or no action until at, near, or after contract performance. Some agencies then include them all in "wrap-up" modifications.. The industry is now planning to fight back with proposed legislation. I didn't see a description in the WIFCON "Contracting Bills in Current Session" page at yet. However, a coalition of design and construction industry groups has recently been working with some congressional members and their staffs to work up a proposed bill that would require government agencies to notify Congress of their policies and typical timeframes for resolving REA's and unpriced changes. The proposal would also require some sort of interim payments by as much as 50% of the REA or unpriced change, while the Agency has the action to resolve.
  5. I think that one could trace back the concept of the requirement to independently prepare a government estimate for construction work 'in as much detail as though the government would compete for the work' to the time when the government had its own construction, maintenance, and repair crews. For Civil Works, the Corps of Engineers had to justify, by law and by our regulations, that contracting out the work by sealed bidding was as economical as performing it with government forces. The government estimates for civil works didn't (and still don't) include an allowance for profit. The regulations allowed a margin of 10% over the government estimate to compare the cost of performing the work with government forces, plant and equipment to the cost of performance by contract. The 10% is presumably an allowance for profit (and perhaps bonds?). For military construction or for construction work for others, our IGE's include an allowance for profit, bonds, etc..
  6. When the relationship between the designer and the constructor is not at arms length for separately prepared design work and separately awarded construction work, there can be implications of a conflict of interest. The roles and professional responsibilities of the designer(s) and the constructors should be independent. I am assuming here that this isn't a "design-build" scenario, with single entity responsibilities. The policy concept is covered in the prohibition at FAR 36.209.
  7. If this estimate is for construction or design work (FAR 36.203 or 36.605), of course there are issues/implications that could arise from using your contractor's proposal costing details. I'm guessing that the information probably includes quantity of work takeoffs, too. The obvious issue is whether the government's estimate is being prepared "independently" from the contractor's proposal, as though the government were competing for the work. The implication is that it isn't being prepared independently. To me, that may signify a lack of understanding of what the work 'should' entail, in the agency's estimation, rather just adopting what the contractor 'says' it entails. Having said that, if the estimate is for a claim, especially one involving impacts on unchanged quantities or scope of the works, it is sometimes impossible to develop a meaningful or useful, totally independent government cost estimate. Sometimes, only the contractor can determine the actual scope of the effort or claimed impact. In that event, I have used information from the contractor to perform my technical and cost analyses. For instance, there may be issues with entitlement, shared responsibility, allocability, allowability, reasonableness, etc. Then, I developed my own "estimates", as independently as possible for my pre-negotiation objectives. I documented how I developed my estimates. Nobody ever challenged or criticized my approach in those instances. If they do, just tell them to prepare the government's estimate. Then, you can use it or just acknowledge it during your development of the pre-negotiation objectives.
  8. Requiring PPQ's is the lazy way out for the government procurement office in my opinion. Having been bombarded by requests for PPQs, even for the same information on the same firm for other source selections, that is ridiculous. Yes, the FAR should be changed. However, the change should be a requirement for a repository of those questionnaires or to use the past performance rating assessments that are already required and are filed, in lieu of a separate PPQ. We used to provide a form for providing relevant experience, including any performance rating received by the owner and a reference to contact in the event that we needed to verify information. We reserved the right to contact the reference but did not commit to, if we already knew the information we also used the contractor ratings in our database. The offeror could submit rating information from non-government projects. It is stupid to keep requesting the same information time and again from previous customers. Worked fine
  9. Most everything is negotiable. For instance, If you think that you have already paid for the time of the people preparing the proposal, then you can certainly use that as a bargaining point in the negotiation.
  10. Yes, that is sad. I probably owe him some compassion for his misfortunes. I had the impression that he was an active player in the scheme. Even so, death is a severe consequence...
  11. Thanks for your efforts, DW. I found an earlier thread where you introduced this scandal: You said that the KO was allowed to retire. Too bad...
  12. Purchasing agents for municipalities and for businesses make trade-offs and comparative analyses every day. I guess most people often make some type of trade-off comparisons when they go shopping for most things. I love to grocery shop but end up taking a long time - drives Libby nuts. The actual shopping process doesn't seem too complicated; the justification documentation for government simplified acquisition purchases will take some effort and time.
  13. Does you agency have an agency labor advisor? I am puzzled why people don't directly ask their agency labor advisor (if applicable) or DOL's Wage and Hour Division questions concerning proposal compliance with Service Contract Labor Standards requirements. It would appear that a proposed equivalent for the Health and Welfare fringe benefits would need some evaluation per Carl's cited references.