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LucyQ

IDIQ Decision

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We have an IDIQ with a set of NSNs. They wanted to add more NSNs and they had us submit a quote. After negotiation they said the price was too high and will not award. Is there anything we can do about it? I'm assuming they found the price to not be fair and reasonable but can we ask the exact decision why they won't award. If we don't agree with that decision, is there any way we can protest somewhere? This is under 10M and I guess it would have been a scope change because they would have added NSNs to the contract where they could then issue DO's under. 

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44 minutes ago, Don Mansfield said:

Yes, you can offer a lower price.

Touchè lol

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You won't be able to compel the Government to make award.

It's curious that they went through negotiations with you (did you agree to a price?) and then decided against it. But it's far from unheard of, especially in the last two weeks of September.

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3 hours ago, kevlar51 said:

You won't be able to compel the Government to make award.

It's curious that they went through negotiations with you (did you agree to a price?) and then decided against it. But it's far from unheard of, especially in the last two weeks of September.

No, we didn't agree on price. Perhaps they knew it might take some time to finish negotiations and wanted to secure something else. I just wanted to know a reason for a chance at rebuttal. 

Thanks!

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4 hours ago, kevlar51 said:

It's curious that they went through negotiations with you (did you agree to a price?) and then decided against it. But it's far from unheard of, especially in the last two weeks of September.

I have a theory in search of evidence that more bad contracting decisions are made in September than in all the rest of the months of the year, combined.

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24 minutes ago, here_2_help said:

I have a theory in search of evidence that more bad contracting decisions are made in September than in all the rest of the months of the year, combined.

This wouldn't be unique to government contracting.  See the following:

https://hbr.org/2017/08/the-end-of-quarter-sales-rush-costs-companies-money

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55 minutes ago, here_2_help said:

more bad contracting decisions are made in September than in all the rest of the months of the year, combined.

As an auditor, would it be wrong to only review acquisitions made in September?  It may be statistically skewed but the weaknesses would certainly be identified.

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10 minutes ago, jwomack said:

As an auditor, would it be wrong to only review acquisitions made in September?  It may be statistically skewed but the weaknesses would certainly be identified.

That wouldn't work - if you're trying to establish that acquisition outcomes for awards made in September are "weak" that requires a basis for comparison (worse than what?).  If you only review/sample acquisitions in September, you'll only be able to compare them to one another which wouldn't allow you to properly test the hypothesis.

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1 hour ago, jwomack said:

Comparison to what is proper.  “Weakness” being a polite word for incompetence.

The problem with that line of argument is that "proper" is indeterminate. There are courses of action that everyone will agree are proper. There are courses of action that everyone will agree are improper. And then there are courses of action the propriety of which are at issue, with some thinking them proper and others thinking them improper. All you have to do to verify the truth of what I just wrote is read this Forum.

I think almost everyone will agree that many decisions made during the last month of the fiscal year are made in haste, and decisions made in haste are often suboptimal in terms of process and outcome.

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On 9/22/2017 at 11:39 AM, here_2_help said:

I have a theory in search of evidence that more bad contracting decisions are made in September than in all the rest of the months of the year, combined.

I teach one such example in my design-build class, where the Air Force consciously WASTED $1.5 million on an $8 million award for construction of a dormitory at Hurlburt AFB in Florida back in September of 1994 or 1995, so that their  execution rate would look better. 

It was a fully designed IFB by The Army Corps of Engineers that was converted to an RFP because all bids were at least $1.5 million over the Programmed amount.  

After conversion and receipt of proposals from five of the seven original bidders came in,  I conducted discussions with the two lowest offerors who were most competitive.  The lowest price offeror, who I had great respect for, told me that the design was extremely inefficient and commercially impractical due to market conditions in Florida and the South East. After two recent hurricanes that year, the closest mason labor force and masonry subs available to team with the local prime were in North Carolina. The three story masonry framed dorm with face brick finish would require at least four  masonry sub mobilizations and demobs, plus travel and perform while on site, plus inflated masonry prices, which accounted for the entire $1.5 million overrun in their price. The president of the firm said they would drop their price $1.5 million if the government would change the RFP to make the contractor responsible for the structural design with performance specs for the frame and the requirement to match the look of the adjacent dorms that the new dorm design was based on.  He rattled off about four different feasible structural alternatives using matching brick veneer or even precast concrete panels using colored concrete and special brick faced form liners.  The contractor and our office both were experienced with the Design-build delivery method. 

We went back to the Air Force, recommending that proposed solution.  Since it was September 15th, the Air Force felt the risk of award later than 30 September would be unacceptable and said they would provide the additional $1.5 million for award, as designed. 

I was so incensed that I was able to require our District to not specify the structural solution on any design-build project for the Air Force for the next two years until I transferred to another Corps organization.  

After I left, the District went back to prescribing specific framing and materials for the Air Force and back to overrunning the PA on every Air Force project. 

It was a lesson learned that. As a part of the Army MILCON Transformation team,  I was able to assure that the model RFP used for billions of dollars of army design-build construction between 2006 and 2013, was written, using performance based design criteria for structural framing and for exterior materials.  

I'm still pissed off over that one (just one ) example of waste by the Air Force and others who have the pre-conception that the government must prescribe every architectural or structural requirement to meet the look and feel of their design theme. 

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We told the Air Force that we could make an award within the budget by 30 September but it fell on deaf ears. 

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4 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

We went back to the Air Force, recommending that proposed solution.  Since it was September 15th, the Air Force felt the risk of award later than 30 September would be unacceptable and said they would provide the additional $1.5 million for award, as designed. 

I was so incensed that I was able to require our District to not specify the structural solution on any design-build project for the Air Force for the next two years until I transferred to another Corps organization.  

So they didn't accept your recommendation and you think that was a bad decision. Given that this happened more than 20 years ago, we are unlikely to hear from the other side. This is a classic example of what I just wrote, "There are courses of action that everyone will agree are proper. There are courses of action that everyone will agree are improper. And then there are courses of action the propriety of which are at issue, with some thinking them proper and others thinking them improper."

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 Vern, I don't really care what you think about my example or who I offend with that story . I know that we would have saved the taxpayers a million and 1/2 dollars and the customer were only concerned about an award by 30 September. And it has been typical of the Air Force to overprescribe every design build project that I have been involved with or reviewed since. The only design-build project that  I was directly involved with that could not be awarded was a fire station at the same installation. The RFP included at least a 50 to 60% design solution  in the RFP.  The same customer again refused to budge an inch. 

Those have been very effective lessons learned that I've taught for over 20 years in our design build course and which  reinforced our performance based design criteria approach in the Army Milcon Transformation Model  RFP. The story gets  the attention of almost every student in attendance.

 For the dormitory project, we could've issued a quick amendment with four pictures of the dorms to be matched, about three paragraphs of  performance based structural  design criteria and design references and a couple of pages of our standard design build contract requirements.

Edit: I know for a fact that  performance ratings for both the Air Force project managers and the Corps of Engineers project managers, at that time, were more heavily dependent upon their project award execution rate than  the quality or cost of the projects that they were in charge of. 

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55 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

Vern, I don't really care what you think about my example or who I offend with that story . I know that we would have saved the taxpayers a million and 1/2 dollars and the customer were only concerned about an award by 30 September. And it has been typical of the Air Force to overprescribe every design build project that I have been involved with or reviewed since. The only design-build project that  I was directly involved with that could not be awarded was a fire station at the same installation. The RFP included at least a 50 to 60% design solution  in the RFP.  The same customer again refused to budge an inch. 

Again, those are your opinions and we can't hear from the other side. And my point is that there are some issues on which reasonable people can disagree about what is "proper" in such situations.

Consider what you said:

1 hour ago, joel hoffman said:

We went back to the Air Force, recommending that proposed solution.  Since it was September 15th, the Air Force felt the risk of award later than 30 September would be unacceptable and said they would provide the additional $1.5 million for award, as designed.

So they had two weeks to make your recommendations happen. What were those recommendations:

1 hour ago, joel hoffman said:

The president of the firm said they would drop their price $1.5 million if the government would change the RFP to make the contractor responsible for the structural design with performance specs for the frame and the requirement to match the look of the adjacent dorms that the new dorm design was based on.  He rattled off about four different feasible structural alternatives using matching brick veneer or even precast concrete panels using colored concrete and special brick faced form liners.

That reads like the concept that needed some fleshing out, and the Air Force didn't think it could be done in time. They would have lost their funds and the project would have been delayed for who knows how long. They decided to proceed as planned. You think they made a bad decision, and maybe they did. You're entitled to your opinion, but I can see how reasonable people would disagree about what was "proper," which is my only point.

55 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

And it has been typical of the Air Force to overprescribe every design build project that I have been involved with or reviewed since.

Again, your opinion. But how can we evaluate it? And by the way, Joel, design-build was a pretty new idea in Government construction in 1995. I was advising on design-build at that time, and a lot of organizations were having trouble letting go of design.

Cool off.

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Vern , i was responding to H2H's opinion.

There was no legal requirement to award the AF MILCON project  by 30 September.  However, the biggest lesson learned was not to prescribe the structural system or specific exterior architectural materials.  

The Air Force was in the process of making D-B their default method at that time. D-B wasn't the issue. I suspect that the metrics for the personnel performance ratings of the individual decision makers were the underlying issues and motivation to make an award at any price within the Statutory limits by 30 September. 

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17 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

There was no legal requirement to award the AF MILCON project  by 30 September.

Then I don't understand why you told us this:

2 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

Since it was September 15th, the Air Force felt the risk of award later than 30 September would be unacceptable and said they would provide the additional $1.5 million for award, as designed. 

 

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Obviously, you haven't worked Air Force MILCON programs (5 year money) in a long time. One of their goals was to award all Current year MILCON projects by the end of the fiscal year. Even when Congress delayed authorization and appropriations til mid FY.  Everything would get backed up for September award along with the O&M funded projects.

Which kicks in the supply and demand factors. The seller is well aware of time pressures to award and the slew of solicitations. Which kicks in haste and stupid decisions.  

We could have made an award within two weeks. Why the heck would we convert the IFB to an RFP (FAR 14.404-1) , ask the bidders for price proposals and hold price discussions with them if we couldn't follow through with an amendment, revised price proposals and award? 

Our District was doing lots of negotiated design-build and construction acquisitions for both Air Force and Army then.

We could have easily done it within three to four weeks with an award one to two weeks into the next FY - to save $1.5 million?  But we could also have squeezed it in within two weeks with some concentrated effort and overtime.

In addition to handling the source selection and negotiation process, as a professional engineer, I could have written the revised technical requirements myself or could have suprervised  Engineering Division's efforts.  I often came up with design fixes during source selections. 

Our negotiated acquisitions didn't take longer than WWII.  

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23 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

In addition to handling the source selection and negotiation process, as a professional engineer, I could have written the revised technical requirements myself or could have suprervised  Engineering Division's efforts.  I often came up with design fixes during source selections. 

I guess the Air Force just didn't know it had such a prodigy handling its procurement.  If only you'd had similar skills of persuasion. ^_^ The USACE should have just kept you to itself.

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1 hour ago, Vern Edwards said:

I guess the Air Force just didn't know it had such a prodigy handling its procurement.  If only you'd had similar skills of persuasion. ^_^ The USACE should have just kept you to itself.

While tongue in cheek, anyone reading this should heed the lesson - without the authority to make the decision, a good idea will go to waste unless the you have the ability to convince the other party that the idea is, in fact, good.  You may have to try by speaking, writing, or briefing (and that medium will likely be chosen for you).  Practice those skills so that when you have a good idea, you'll be ready.  If for some reason you feel you're inadequate or unlikely to succeed (you may lack the trust or "political capital"), have the humility to find someone who is and let them help (by pitching the idea on your behalf, drafting the letter/email/document, or reviewing your work) so that the good idea is more likely to be accepted.

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I wasn't involved in the attempted persuasion.  Our PM's were the POC's and handled those communications with the customer's PMs . The contractor also told me later how wasteful and stupid he thought the customer's decision was. 

 

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4 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

The contractor also told me later how wasteful and stupid he thought the customer's decision was. 

And we all know that contractors are never wasteful and stupid. Or deceptive and dishonest.

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You really don't know a darned thing about that acquisition or about that person. The man was known to be a straight shooter. Tough but truthful. We asked him why the price for the current dorm project was so much higher than the previous years' prices for the same design.  He told us why the contract, as designed, was not affordable. It was a cut and paste of earlier projects and didn't fit the market conditions at the time. He had built the last dorm project using the same design. There weren't  any local mason labor force or masonry subcontractors available due to recent hurricanes.  The structural framing and cladding design was very inefficient.   He asked us what really mattered to the Air Force. We learned that their  objective was that the new dorm must match the appearance of the other dorms. He told us how we could meet their underlying objective and committed to do that and to meet the budget. The man doesn't deserve your degradation.  Feel free to stop now. 

I didnt say the Air Force personnel were stupid.  I said that they made a wasteful and stupid decision. That decision needlessly cost the taxpayers 23% more than the programmed amount for the project - a $1.5 million dollar bust.  25% over the PA is the statutory limit for gosh sakes. There were seven bidders. His firm was local and he did lots of work at the bases in Florida. He was the low bidder and the only one who really knew the problem.   He was the only one willing to work with the government and the taxpayers to find a solution. 

The customer chose to meet a self imposed deadline for award to make their metric for timeliness of award look better, regardless of cost. The project had a duration of about 18 months and could have been awarded within 12-13 months into the 60 month period of availability of the funds for obligation. 

Believe it or not, some of us actually believe in serving both the mission and the taxpayers. 

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1 hour ago, joel hoffman said:

You really don't know a darned thing about that acquisition or about that person. 

I know only what you've told me, which is just your side of the truth.

1 hour ago, joel hoffman said:

Believe it or not, some of us actually believe in serving both the mission and the taxpayers. 

Sanctimony and self-righteousness.

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