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joel hoffman

Christian Doctrine GSA eBuy Schedule 56 mixing design, construction and supplies

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Is GSA eBuy Schedule 56 buying “construction” as a Commercial Item for Supplies without mandatory construction clauses or any design related requirements?

In a recent appeal of two ASBCA cases to  Federal Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the appellate Court concluded that two Army task orders using GSA Schedule 56 for Pre-engineered/prefabricated buildings were construction contracts and that requirements for performance and payment bonds were incorporated by operation of law.

The Army used Schedule 56 for two contracts to procure and install two  (pre-fabricated? Pre-engineered?) metal buildings from K-Con, who provides pre-engineered and pre-fabricated/modular buildings. Two task orders were issued using SF 1449 Solicitation/Contract/Order for Commercial Items without including any  requirement for bonding. The Army required the contractor to provide bonds before issuing an NTP, which delayed start of the jobs for two years, until K-Con provided the bonds. K-Con submitted claims for delays and increased cost, which were denied and appealed to the ASBCA,  which ruled for the Army.  K-Con then appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal District.

The contracts (task orders) did include Davis -Bacon Act requirements for applicable parts of the work. The Decision didn’t elaborate on whether the buildings were pre-fabricated in a factory or pre-engineered/site assembled from pre-fabricated materials and parts.

The contractor argued that the contracts were contracts for commercial items, not construction, that the (formerly referred to as ) Miller Act bonding requirements weren’t applicable and alternatively, the contracts contained no requirements or clauses requiring bonds.

The Case is found here: https://cases.justia.com/federal/appellate-courts/cafc/17-2254/17-2254-2018-11-05.pdf?ts=1541435554

I haven’t read the ASBCA Decisions yet. However, what the Appellate Court decision didn’t say raises several questions  for me.  

How is GSA contracting for pre-engineered/prefabricated buildings and building materials?

Do the schedules address or why don’t  the schedules address A/E services and  construction aspects for orders that include more than buying a delivered pre-fab building or building materials.  

Is a commercial item task order appropriate when the project includes or is for designed aspects and construction?

Do GSA and agencies using the schedules know the difference between supplies and construction (or A/E services for that matter)?

Since pre-engineered metal buildings usually are shipped as parts, which require assembly on-site,  it would be very unlikely that the government would simply purchase them for delivery without provision for on-site erection  (construction) and interior construction and the other building systems (construction). The military might buy a building that way for erection and construction by its military engineer teams. 

Prefab buildings can be bought for delivery to the site but if any related on-site construction is to be provided by the seller,  the task order would have to cover those construction aspects. 

I found two websites that provide some interesting perspectives one is a GSA presentation at a construction conference. The other is the K-Con website for its GSA Schedule 56 Contract, which includes the GSA SIN numbers and descriptions.

The SIN description appear to assume that these are not contracts involving A/E or construction (with some exceptions), even when design  and  building assembly, installation of materials and systems, and site work is included in the order. When construction is specifically included, the SIN acknowledges Davis-Bacon and other unspecified construction requirements. I’m not familiar with the Schedule contracts, so didn’t search for the entire contract format to see how those are addressed.  

K-Con advertises design/build  as part of its services. 

GSA presentation: http://www.modular.org/documents/document_event/07gov_gsa2.pdf

K-Con (this has been updated in 2018, since the contracts in question but the contract SIN descriptions may be the same)

https://kconinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/KCON-GSA-Brochure.pdf 

When I was a consulting engineer many years ago, even the pre-engineered metal building manufacturers used registered architects and licensed professional engineers  to supervise or perform designs and to stamp designs for their buildings. 

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