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Everything posted by Bailers

  1. Hi JI, I completely agree with you in principle, and it's the way I was taught to do a bid opening when I first started. I think however given the circumstances caution is in order. Allowing the public to participate while not allowing them in the room still meets the spirit of openness. And while this might sound cold to say, if I post it to Beta.Sam and no one protests before the opening, I should be in the clear anyway.
  2. Thanks everyone for the great responses and research, and over a weekend no less. Joel, thank you so much for that link to DOT. The state my project will be in looks like they actually use live video for their process. So all in all it sounds like I should be covered if I choose a technical solution over an in-person opening. Even if this has to be a phone only opening, I could certainly record video the opening for posterity and to provide documentation in the case of any questions or a protest. I really believe in openness but that's just not where we are right now. It might be a moot point with the travel restrictions going up across the country but I'd like to at least get the award ready to be made. Appreciate everyone!
  3. I have a bid opening coming up in a week. Obviously a public opening is not really in the cards with all that's going on. So rather than postpone this for weeks, I have an idea to live stream the opening. FAR 14.402-1 only says that the CO needs to publicly announce the date and time, personally and publicly open all bids received before that time, read them aloud, and have them recorded. While certainly that has always meant (and should in normal times) that it was a public opening people attend, I don't read the FAR to require it. The requirement in (c) can easily be put off until a later time. I think if I modify my IFB to include a link for any interested party to join via the web then I've met the requirement of (a). I would still post the abstract so it would be difficult for anyone to argue to GAO that they were harmed. There's also the technology side of things with all the firewalls to work out. I did a quick search of GAO and didn't find anything even remotely close. I would really like to hear from others though if they think I'm off base here, or if my idea is appropriate all things considered.
  4. While it's too late for this year, I will recommend the Nash&Cibinic Roundtable in DC. It's wrapping up right now, but it's been absolutely fascinating and informative.
  5. Not your exact question, but if you are going to compete for prime contracts please be prepared. In my recent experience, contracts that have failed or been troubled more often than not have been because of management, not technical, failures. It's not a reflection on the owner or mangers necessarily. But understand that contracts, especially T&M and Cost contracts have lots of demands that are placed on the contractor - legal, programmatic, and human relations wise. So more than worrying about audited rates, I would make sure that you are fully prepared for the contract management side. If you don't feel you are capable, hire a lawyer, former CO, or other dedicated contract manager if you can. Make sure your proposals are up to the challenge. Along with management of the contract, most small businesses don't get contracts because their proposals can't effectively express their technical competence to the Government evaluators. Good luck with competing for prime contracts.
  6. In some cases, it might make practical sense to have differing option periods. We recently had a contract with a 6 month base, and four one year options. The upside is now we are exercising options (and re-competing) the contract in a time that doesn't mean a September award. And while I'm open to other's experience, I've seen nothing that gives award terms an advantage over regular options. Stick with options, you can extend or end the contract easier than with award terms.
  7. On Android there isn't an app for the FAR or supplements. So I periodically download the FAR in PDF format. Get a good PDF reader, set a reminder to re-download the FAR every few months, and you'll be better off.
  8. Here's my favorite line " avoided over-reaching and over-engineering". I think that Mangers, Generals, and other important to themselves people that interfere in a project, causing delays and change orders, need to be lined up on the Washington Mall and shot. Once a year as an example to the rest. The biggest problem with the acquisition cycle, IMO, is not mainly on the contract side. Even with the added reviews were talking a few weeks. How many months are added because someone didn't like a feature, or thought it could be better, or wanted a different color? The government should do what I had to do when I built my house. The drawings are complete, we get a price from the contractor, and one last chance to make changes. After that, it would have cost me an extra $250 per change order. Start charging budgets for change orders, and they'll wind down pretty quickly. The reason that the Jeep and MRAP worked and were delivered so quickly was the urgency. There wasn't time for change orders. There wasn't time for higher ups to think that a manager is only effective when they leave their mark on everything. That's one of the biggest problems in not just acquisition, but project management in general. Design a project and build it. The F-15 seems to have done just fine getting updated throughout the years with newer technology. The same is true for every IT project ever completed. There's very little excuse for delays when the ability to change or upgrade is almost always there. And if not? Well maybe the Government should have written a better spec in the first place.
  9. You'd have to ask the CO from your agency, it likely depends on the agency and their guidelines. That said, FTR does allow for a personal vacation between TDY ending and returning, and would pay for the flight. I don't know about a month, but we (gov. employees) are allowed to stay over a few extra days and have our trip back paid for.
  10. Are you consistently seeing better pricing from XYZ than any of the competitors? I don't think this is a OCI issue. It sounds more like a defective pricing or collusion issue. But if you need the software update, what's your choice?
  11. Thank you Don, that was my thought as well. In this case it is a large service contract with a base period of three years. Without knowing that we will have funding in years 2 & 3, I believe it is proper to use sole source awards to vendors in year one until the minimum has been met. At which point all future orders would need to be competed under the fair opportunity provisions. Waiting until the end of a period of performance to satisfy the minimum makes me nervous in the shrinking fiscal environment we are currently in.
  12. I've been unable to find a definition for the word "necessary" when it is referring to an exception to fair opportunity under multiple award IDIQ contracts. Does the ability to exclude vendors from opportunity to propose only apply at the end of a period or can it refer to any period in the contract. To state it plainly, can the exception be used for sole sourcing task orders at the beginning of the contract period to satisfy the minimum guarantee before competitively awarding the rest?
  13. We have a task order that is over $10 Million dollars issued under one of our multiple award IDIQ's. Initially it was competed and awarded as a time and material, but as the project has gone on and moved from a design support to a construction phase, we're thinking that converting this to a FFP has some benefits. But now that we've started down that road, we're running into some issues. I think that I've moved past the need to further justify this award, as it was initially competed, the SOW hasn't changed, and all we are doin is changing the pricing structure. But now that we've moved into this arena, I'm worried that I should be asking for CCAP and requiring competition in my subcontracting. Under the T&M we would approve all of our subcontacts but under the FFP we wouldn't directly approve them. Instead we approve the subK's and pricing when we approve the prime contractors fixed proposed price. Am I overthinking this, or is there something I'm missing? The contract does allow for FFP orders although the majority of them are T&M using fixed rates in the IDIQ schedule, and the contractor is on board with us converting as well. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  14. Vern, I think you are correct about remediation being DBA. But sometimes we aren't actually moving dirt, remediation can be in-situ or other forms of remediation. That said, when we do CERCLA projects we apply DBA at the site level for excavation, and use SCA for the remainder of the work that isn't DBA. If we knock down a structure without the intent to replace it, my understanding is that the work is SCA. But when we dig in the dirt under or around that structure, it is DBA. And when we get rid of the dirt, if it is loaded directly onto a truck the disposal is SCA. In my case here, I can't say for certain what type of remediation will be done for each task order. Am I safe in calling this a service contract, but including Miller Act requirements in the clauses, then saying that the Miller Act may be applicable on a per-task order basis? It might make it easier on everyone to propose on the IDIQ as a service, then just apply DBA and Miller Act clauses at a site where they actually are applicable? One of the big concerns businesses had in their questions to me is how much of the contract they will be responsible for self-peforming. Since dredging is a big cost item, saying at a contract level we will expect greater than 50% to be self-performed, but on task orders where dredging is required we will drop that to 15%. It will make it more difficult for us to administer and review, but should be easier for the contractors since they would know that they only have to worry about SCA unless/until we tell them otherwise.
  15. Joel, you have it correct. It is for remediation of hazardous material that is the water or shorelines. Dredging will likely be a big component, but I say likely because we may also do excavation "in the dry". In addition to the remediation, there is some testing, disposal of hazardous material, and restoration work. The restoration work may be complicated native plant restoration, it may mean droping stones along a bank. That's my problem, I don't know at this point. I said I'm not worried about DBA/SCA because my plan is to have the contractors propose their IDIQ rates based on SCA for Hazmat removal. Since this contract will cover 8 states and all the Great Lakes (including Canada potentially), it would be impossible to include all the DBA rates. DBA will be pulled and applicable at the task order level when we ask for the fixed price proposals. So for my contract, what I am thinking of doing is calling this a service, but including most or all of the Part 36 construction clauses as well. But doing this raised a couple of questions. Do I tell the Ktrs (small business set aside) that they will be responsible for 15% of the work or 50%? Do I need to determine at each task order level how much will be construction that would make things like OFCCP notification necessary? Can I just paint a broad stroke and say everything will follow the construction requirements even if they may not be necessary? I don't want to do extra work, but sometimes it is easier to send out too much information that not enough. Thanks everyone that has chimed in so far, it has been a helpful read. And please let me know if I am leaving anything out from my description.
  16. Thanks, I am using 562910 as my NAICS code, because the purpose isn't only excavating soil. It will likely be the biggest component, but it isn't the only thing we may be doing under the contract. I think my best bet is to use Part 36 clauses, with Service clauses as appropriate. Since the majority of money will be in the construction portion, I think I'll be safer calling it a construction contract.
  17. I'm hoping someone here can help me. I'm working on a requirement for an IDIQ that will allow us to perform environmental dredging. We will be taking dirt out, but usually replacing it with something else. So I'm confused here if this should be considered Construction or Service. We are not altering property in the typical sense that we will make an improvement to the site, unless you consider removing toxic soil and replacing it with clean soil an improvement. There will be dredging on many sites but there is also a good deal of other work that my agency typically would consider a service. I'm hoping that I'm just having a moment that is blocking my ability to come up with the answer. Any help would be appreciated. I'm not concerned with DBA/SCA, but this will matter for clauses and how we define small business requirements under the limitation on subcontracting provisions.
  18. I'm not military, so I don't know specifically if it can work. But why not skip the whole problem by putting an evaluation factor in for how quick they can start? If clearances are an issue just saying that you will evaluate contractors who can start work in a 60 day period would guarantee clearances, I would think. This assumes you would have a justification for such a quick turnaround. It may not work for you, but in some cases I can see it being a legitimate factor.
  19. First of all, thank you to everyone that answered. I'm actually happy to see that I was wrong, and we are going to move ahead with a T&M with the hope that it can be converted in the future. Jacques, there aren't any incentives in this contract, other than do a good job and get another task order We have very strong systems in place to monitor T&M orders, and the experience to do it right. For us a conversion isn't about minimizing risk as much as it is meeting an arbitrary goal of OMB to reduce contract risk. I think in the long run a T&M might be better at this site. Basically the work is dredging. The problem is that there is about 6 inches of hazmat, and we aren't completely sure if it goes deeper than that. The first part will be to get the bad stuff out, and if all goes as planned it's basically navigational dredging which is pretty straightforward. But if it goes deeper, well you see the problem. I don't think there will be an issue convincing the contractor to go FFP. They've been hinting on many of our projects they'd like to give it a shot. I think they honestly see FFP and change orders as more lucrative, and probably also cheaper in some respects because they won't have to maintain the infrastructure on site for a T&M. Thanks again to everyone for the advice. FormerFed - Thanks so much! Goes to show I should read that FAR thing once in a while myself.
  20. I have a really odd question, and I think the answer is no. But I wanted to run it by the experts to see what people here thought. I have a requirement for construction (dredging, etc) that we want to award as a firm fixed price task order. The problem is that the final drawings haven't been completed yet, and the contractor won't have enough information to make a good proposal. The money I have expires this year, so waiting isn't an option. So here is what I'm wondering. The IDIQ that I would use to issue the task order is primarily set up for time and materials orders. Can I issue a T&M now, and then convert the task order into firm fixed price later once/if the final design is complete and allows for it? There is plenty of work to get the KTR going for the moment, including ordering long lead items, subcontractors, permits, and also assisting with the final design. We could certainly issue this order now as a T&M and have no problem. But my agency has counted this contract as one of the less risky types of awards to OMB as part of our reducing risky contracts inititive. I know it seems convoluted, but for matters of political expediency, my management wants to do one thing, while I just want to make the award before our money expires. Any suggestions or criticisms are appreciated.
  21. The large increase is a concern... going from 24 CY to 1200 CY sounds like a major change in scope even if other CLINs are being reduced. Putting aside the issue of can you do this, I'd be inclined to rebid it if possible simply to see if you can get better pricing from the economy of scale.
  22. No, it isn't about skirting competition. We can justify awarding task orders based upon specialized skills that one contractor has that the others don't. It is part of our selection criteria for the IDIQ. If we were to award a new task order, it would go to the same contractor that had the original order.
  23. So please excuse my ignorance here, but I have a question. If a task order, under a multiple award IDIQ, expires, is it possible to "resurrect" the order at a later date? Say a month after a task order expires we find out that more work needs to be done at the same location. Can we use the same task order and correspondingly any excess funds from that order, to complete the work or does this require a new order? All this assumes the underlying contract is still active and valid, and that for various reasons competition would not play into this decision. I've been searching all over the FAR for an explanation of what the end of the period of performance means, but I haven't found one for task orders that really seems to apply. Thanks in advance for the advice.
  24. I have kind of a unique situation, and I'm wondering if anyone can see a problem with the approach that I'm planning on taking. I have a request for a contract, likely an IDIQ, for a service. The problem is, the location that will provide this service has not yet been built. So my plan is to write an IDIQ contract, with the stipulation that the Government can terminate if certain conditions are not met, ie permiting, potentially first product testing/proof of acceptability, etc. If the plant that will provide the service is built and all goes well, the rest of the contract should be fairly straight forward. As I said in my title, this is an innovative technology and service, something that isn't currently provided by anyone in the marketplace. But the proof of concept has been demonstrated on a small scale to the satisfaction of the program office that requested this. Can I continue forward with an award, or am I asking for trouble because the awardee has to construct the facility first? Thanks in advance for your help.
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