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Hello--I am getting pushback about this approach that we are planning in our upcoming procurement.  I am seeking guidance to assist in my own pushback, or to take another route.

Scenario:  Contractor to provide services in different areas (some quite remote) to stated PWS standard. This will be FFP for annual services to maintain stated areas to standard.

Here is where the pushback comes in:  We are asking for a unit price (not a CLIN) from each offeror to be used as reference (future negotiation for mod?) should an area be found "not to standard" when contractor first begins services.  I wanted to make this contract a combi, with IDIQ, but I did not have estimated quantities or guaranteed minimum so got pushback from the CO on that, too.

So, this was my plan B.  I am still getting pushback but no assistance.  Any advice?

I will appreciate whatever advice I get.

-EB

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What would the unit price represent?  Are potential offerors being provided an opportunity to view the areas to determine their condition in relationship to the standards?  Will the agency and contractor agree on the condition of the area before submission of proposals?

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Guest Vern Edwards
1 hour ago, baierle said:

We are asking for a unit price (not a CLIN) from each offeror to be used as reference (future negotiation for mod?) should an area be found "not to standard" when contractor first begins services.  

I don't understand what you want to do. Unit price for what? For doing a standard job? Then you would adjust it, up or down, to the extent that a particular job varied from the standard?

If that's the plan, what's the specific objection ("pushback") to it?

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It's my belief that once contractor gets to some areas, the grounds will NOT be vegetation-free, which is the "standard" to maintain.

I can almost set my watch to the time contractor will call me with this info about some remote site and wanting a modification or some sort of payment to clean it up.

The pushback is the young CO is scared---having never seen such pricing item (not a CLIN) in a contract that is to be used only for reference.  

Why do I need this unit price?  

Because the annual FFP will be given as lump sum.  I don't expect to see-- nor will I require --such detailed breakdown from FFP offers for commercial services.

Thank you for helping me work through this issue.

EB

 

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There are many sites, spread throughout several states.  Some have very remote access.  No, only a couple of representative sites will be shown during pre proposal conference/site tour.  Offerors must do their own due diligence, use google maps, and rely upon what the government says the conditions are at this time.

The Government's position is that the areas are to standard and that contractor shall maintain that standard.  I have been with this same government for a long time and tend to know differently:  that things are NOT what the government says they are.

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Guest Vern Edwards

Well, it seems that you now think that we've helped you work through the issues. We've had our mad minute, and all the bad guys are dead. Mission accomplished. We hereby ride off into the sunset.

 

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So we have a PWS with an expected outcome (standard) and a fixed price (lump sum) for keeping the site at the standard. Customer is afraid the initial condition will not be as government as specified, which the contractor will rely upon to bid the FFP for the site. Customer wants to establish a unit price for the expected initial site deviation before the first REA is submitted.

Not stated, but which I infer, is that the contractor may not have an accounting system adequate to account for its additional costs associated with the differing initial site conditions. Thus, the customer wants to have something in hand that does not rely on actual costs incurred. Something like a pre-priced unit of work (example: one week or one month of effort) that the parties can agree represents something fair & reasonable for the additional effort associated with moving the site from "what is" to "what was expected."

In my mind, it works like this: (1) contractor arrives on site, (2) contractor performs initial assessment, (3) contractor determines that site is or is not at "standard", (4) if not at "standard" then contractor submits an REA based on the pre-negotiated amount (e.g., one week, one month, etc.), (5) contract price is modified.

Seems to me like a reasonable approach. The critical point would seem to be the granularity of the "unit" of pricing. I suggest there be multiple units based on duration of the effort, ranging from 1 day to 1 month, depending on what the contractor encounters at the site, which should be documented in my Step 2, above.

 

 

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Guest PepeTheFrog
1 hour ago, Vern Edwards said:

Well, it seems that you now think that we've helped you work through the issues. We've had our mad minute, and all the bad guys are dead. Mission accomplished. We hereby ride off into the sunset.

:lol: PepeTheFrog, naturally, favors Hopalong Cassidy.

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here to help:  

 

well, you summed it up, mostly.  It is (me) the contract specialist --and not the customer --who knows there will be some areas not at standard.  

It is the contract specialist who is trying to minimize the inevitable negotiations, changes, and modification efforts.  Remember, I wanted some IDIQ in this contract, but was rejected because I did not have known/estimated/guaranteed quantities.

These 200+ sites are scattered, remotely-located.  It will be within the first year of contract effort that contractor will find sites not at standard.  I did not want numerous negotiations and modifications WHEN this happened.  I was hoping for a price (starting point) with which to compensate contractor for getting the site to standard before they commenced their routine maintenance.  We do this when renting cars (unit price for fuel).  

I have not completely worked through this and the solicitation is going under review.

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43 minutes ago, baierle said:

I have not completely worked through this and the solicitation is going under review.

I loathe the PWS approach to contracting but what can we do? I hope my thoughts were helpful.

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Guest Vern Edwards
2 hours ago, baierle said:

I was hoping for a price (starting point) with which to compensate contractor for getting the site to standard before they commenced their routine maintenance.

But how can you do that if the conditions at the not-at-standard sites vary from site to site? It won't cost the same to bring each site up to standard, will it? How can you avoid negotiations?

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Not sure what condition sites are supposed to be in.   you said free of vegetation.  

Guessing some type of gravel surface that contractor is supposed to spray or otherwise groom to be smooth and kept free of vegetation? 

What type of remediation are you expecting? Killing existing vegetation?  Pulling existing weeds?  Cutting and clearing trees and/or brush? Regrading washouts ? 

If nobody can determine the existing conditions of each site, how can you verify the reported conditions and verify,  let alone separate and determine what is EXTRA work effort?   How do you verify that they are actually performing the required work and any EXTRA work ? Performance based contracting requires substantiation that the contractor meets the performance requirement doesn't it? 

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Would it be helpful and possible to list additional specialties services it would ordinarily take to bring a site up to standard? For example: Commercial tree surgery, felling, pollarding, stump grinding, sapling thinning, ladder fuel reduction by hand-held tools (i.e. chainsaw), hand-piling pullback, lop/scatter, pruning, brush-hogging and associated treatments.

You can further breakdown tasks by degree of difficulty or quantity or a combination of the two ... (e.g. stump grinding trees X-Y circumference, A-B acres)

The concept would be to negotiate how much and what type of work exists in any given area and apply the agreed upon rates from the pricing exhibit/attachment. I haven't put much thought into it - just brainstorming.

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Jamaal may be on the right track with a more simplified approach.   Rather than a IDIQ mix how about a time and materials optional CLIN for bringing sites to standard as necessary with the option priced and to be exercised at initial inspection(s) as necessary.  Further details needed such as estimated hours, language, etc.

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Regardless of the level of detail, it would seem to me to be necessary for the government to verify what reported work will be necessary and, if using T&M rates, how much EXTRA work time was used.  

is it too much trouble or cost for the government to select and inspect a sample representation of the sites before award? If these are missle sites, obviously there is activity present at every site. 

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Some folks upthread don't seem to have grasped the notion that there will not be 100% site inspection prior to bid submission. It's just not feasible, according to our original poster.

Reminds me of the NMCI (Navy/Marine Corps Intranet) award of the early oughts. EDS took the award knowing the risks -- one of which was that the existing local networks they were integrating were all of differing technology and sophistication -- and they did the work, suffering significant financial losses as a result. Ultimately the program was deemed to be a success and the infrastructure continues to be used today (according to Wikipedia).

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Here to help--yes!  You understand.  Government has worked hard to get these sites to a state of veg-free over the past year.  However, because of the remote locations, and the fact that no one visits them but a few times per year for maintenance--it could very well be that some sites have grown back somewhat before our contract is awarded/contractor gets on site.  Not all, but there is a good chance that some growth has reoccurred.

Google maps is not updated weekly, so our only info comes from the contractor or that government maintenance worker on their occasional visit.

I have good description of what contractor needs to do should they encounter such conditions.  I just want an easier way to pay for this once we agree on the area and the need for the "surge" or supplemental service.

 I could not get IDIQ through because I did not have any estimated quantities and the elements needed to support IDIQ.    

 

 

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This sounds an awful lot like a depot maintenance contract, scenario-wise: a known input (busted F-14 radars), with unknown circumstances (how busted?), with an acknowledgement that some tasks are inevitable and predictable (removing busted radars from F-14s and bench-testing them).  

Is  "BOA" the answer to this scenario?

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Guest Vern Edwards

I think the requirement is for vegetation management services at certain government facilities -- power substations and communication sites. If so, the synopsis describes the work as follows:

Quote

The work will be performance-based, commercial services and will require total maintenance and control of the growth of vegetation within the designated areas. The work will require appropriate herbicide application.

The resultant contract will be a single award of a firm fixed price (FFP) contract.

The contract will be for a base period of performance of twelve (12) months and will include four (4), twelve (12) month option periods to be exercised at the discretion of the government.

In short, keep the weeds out.

The sites are supposed to be vegetation free at the outset of performance, and the contractor's job will be to keep them that way. However, at some sites vegetation has already sprung up and will have to be removed before continuing maintenance can proceed.

A basic ordering agreement is not the answer.

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So you spray it all. Gonna have to do that anyway,  periodically. Big deal. 

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