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My agency wants to do a professional services IDIQ for CERCLA environmental services.  They anticipate that there may need to be some civil engineering design work needed at times as part of the remediation.  They said that they don't need licensed professionals to do the work. In reading the A/E definition in the Government Contracts Reference Book, I could lean A/E.  The client is insisting that they are not A/E services under the Brooks Act.  I am not sold.

ARCHITECT-ENGINEER (A-E) SERVICES Official- (I) Professional services of an

architectural or engineering nature, as defined by State law, if applicable, that are required

to be performed or approved by a person licensed, registered, or certified to provide

those services; (2) Professional services of an architectural or engineering nature that are

associated with research, planning, development, design, construction, alteration, or repair

of real property; and (3) Those other professional services of an architectural or engineering

nature, or incidental services, that members of the architectural or engineering professions

(and individuals in their employ) may logically or justifiably perform, including studies,

investigations, surveying and mapping, tests, evaluations, consultations, comprehensive

planning, program management, conceptual designs, plans and specifications, value

engineering, construction phase services, soils engineering, drawing reviews, preparation of

operating and maintenance manuals, and other related services. Source: FAR 2.10 l. If these

services are acquired under a separate contract, the procedures set forth in the BROOKS ACT

(ARCHITECT-ENGINEER PROCUREMENT) must be followed. See FAR Subpart 36.6.

However, such services can also be acquired as part of a DESIGN-BUILD contract. DFARS

Subpart 236.6 provides guidance for procuring A-E services in military CONSTRUCTION.

See Ness & Medill-Jones, A-E Government Contracts, CoNSTR. BRIEFINGS No. 88-11 (Oct.


Two questions:   

  1.  Is it A/E or SCA Professional Services? 

  2.  In the above definition under (I); can anyone clarify as “defined by State law, if applicable” what this means.  It was always my understanding that the state doesn’t have any jurisdiction over federal projects conducted on federal lands.  Thoughts?  By the way, the project is located in California.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The answer depends on the precise nature of the "environmental services."

Go to FedBizOpps and search over the last 365 days using keyword CERCLA. You'll find many examples of solicitations for such services from various agencies. See, for example, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region solicitation 1291S8-18-R-0001, dated 31 Jan 2018. The synopsis says:


The US Forest Service, Region 5, Pacific Southwest Acquisition Management intends to issue a solicitation towards the end of January 2018 for a multi-award CERCLA Environmental Response Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. Estimated award for this multi award IDIQ contract is May 2018. These dates are an estimate and are subject to change without notice. 

The intent of this multi award contract is to secure the professional services of one or more Contractors to provide technical services for site response activities. This includes conducting various evaluations, studies, and reports as specified in the National Contingency Plan (NCP) found in 40 CFR 300 or as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or other federal or state hazardous waste cleanup regulations. The Contractor may be requested to complete the following studies; Preliminary Assessment (PA), Site Inspection (SI), combined PA/SI, Risk Assessment, an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA), a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS), or other documents required for CERCLA response actions, including enforcement support. The Contractor may also be requested to implement the CERCLA site remedy in accordance with the NCP with approved work plans and decision documents. Work under this contract is broken into the following Work activities/areas

Activity I : Site Assessment/Charaterization
Activity II : Removal Action Support
Activity III : Removal Action Implementation 
Activity IV : Remedial Action Support
Activity V : Remedial Action Implementation
Activity VI : Enforcement Support
Activity VII : Other Technical Support and Assistance

They are not handling it as A-E services.

However, see Corps of Engineers solicitation W912DR18R0007, issued last November, in which they sought proposals for "environmental A-E services." I would trust the Corps on this. What qualifies your client to classify the services?

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As Vern said, it depends upon the precise nature of the environmental services covered by the ID/IQ contract for a CERCLA (superfund)  project.  Is this a comprehensive contract for studies, reports, remedial design, remedial action (e.g., monitoring, excavation, removal, construction of facilities, extraction or injection wells, etc.), operation of facilities, etc.?  Can you share the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) of the contract scope of work?

If comprehensive, the tasks could cover one or more of project or program management, design (a/e), construction , operation and maintenance (service) contracting methods. 

The answer to your title question, “Is CERCLA ever considered A/E”, the answer is “yes”.  If this is comprehensive scope of work, then I  doubt the truth of the statement that civil engineering (or environmental engineering or geotechnical engineering, etc.) design doesn’t require the use of licensed engineers. 

See, for instance,  https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-remedial-design-remedial-action   .

I honestly don’t know the characterization of an overall Systems Contract (ID/IQ) for Environmental Restoration Services but individual task orders would be characterized by the type of work being ordered. 

I believe that the Omaha District of the USACE is the Certer of Expertise for Envirionmental Restoration, HAZMAT, CERCLA (Superfund), RCRA, etc. There are other Corps organizational Activities performing this type of  contracting and Program Management. They could probably  answer or lead you to an answer. 

I certainly know that the seven  Systems Contracts that I worked on for Destruction of the US Chemical Weapons Stockpile included A/E services, Construction services, and/or design-build services and all included Services for Program Management and operations and maintenance of the Plants . 

Are there any USACE members here who will participate in this thread? 

Of course, the original poster should provide some more description of the scope of the intended ID/IQ.  

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