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Emergency Base Engineering Requirements (Construction)

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Hello world.

I work in support of Civil Engineering as an 1102 at a CONUS Air Force Base and am looking for ways to appropriately handle emergency acquisitions (Septic pipe burst, water main leaking under steam tunnels, etc.)

Our office primarily supports CE and the assorted base mission partners.

We have multiple methods of executing contracts, ranging from IFB, 8(a) direct award, or utilizing our Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC) (~1M-10M) or Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements (SABER) (~$<micropurchase - $850K).

I have been asked by leadership to research a method of handling these actions, but am unsure of the most expedient way -- and was hoping another base may have accomplished the task already. Please be gentle, as I'm still relatively new to the career field!

Currently, in such instances our SABER contractor (Competitive, 8(a) SB, Single Award IDIQ) has typically been tasked to respond to such events, since they typically have the established capacity to respond and work the effort. Current Process: Branch chief receives pressure from leadership to resolve emergent issue, Requirements doc received, including purchase request and IGE. Action is under SAT. Task order issued w/ NTE, SOO (not SOW until defin). Definitized upon proposal receipt, but no defin schedule is issued. 252.217-7027 Contract Definitization was not part of the basic award or task order.

I believe there is an issue with the current process as it's technically a UCA.

1. Has another base solved this problem?

2. What is incorrect with the current issue/could make it correct. (I believe there are an incredible amount of things currently wrong with the current method.)

3. Is there a better way?

 

I've suggested some sort of BPA with general contractors who could respond within a certain amount of time, but my leadership was not receptive to the idea. They seemed to indicated they'd much prefer we utilize the existing SABER contract to the maximum extent practicable.

 

Thanks.

 

Very Respectfully,

SE

 

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Isn't that what your SABER contracts are for?

When it is a real emergency (I've dealt with a landslide on a Friday evening and a tree over power lines to the base hospital on a Sunday afternoon, and so forth), and you simply don't have time to conduct a traditional competition, then you don't conduct a traditional competition. 

Tree over power lines on a Sunday afternoon.  Agency:  Air Force.  I got the phone call at home from the base emergency action group -- it was a three-way call with the CE engineer.  I asked the CE engineer if one of our IDIQ companies could respond immediately.  He said yes, and he named the name.  I sent an e-mail to the contractor authorizing it to do the work on a T&M basis up to some ceiling amount (I don't remember what it was, but I purposefully set it a little higher than the CE official's estimate).  In the e-mail, I said I would issue the formalized task order on Monday, but that it must start work immediately and to respond immediately with YES or NO.  The contractor replied YES, mitigated the damage, and restored the power that evening.  The next day (Monday), the contractor gave me an invoice for its hours and equipment.  The same day, I signed a very simplified JEFO and asked for a funds document.  I got it, and I issued a paper task order for the work that was already competed.

Landslide on a Friday evening.  Agency:  Forest Service.  I got the phone call at home from the district engineer saying a landslide had blocked a Forest Service road that was used by the public.  I asked him if he knew of companies that we had used before who could respond immediately.  He knew of some that probably could.  We agreed that he would find one contractor to start excavating from the south side, and another contractor to start excavating from the north side.  I told him to pick whatever companies he thought were reputable and that we had worked with before -- call one, and if it agreed for the south side, for example,  then verbally authorize it to start work on Saturday morning.  I told him that I was verbally issuing an unpriced purchase order with an NTE to each of the contractors he selected, if they would start work on Saturday morning, and that I would do the paper purchase orders on Monday at the office.  He found two good contractors on Friday night, and both started work on Saturday (one early, one about noon) -- they met in the middle on Sunday.  On Monday, they sent in their invoices, and I I got the funds citation.  I issued the paper purchase orders on Tuesday.  The SSJ I wrote might have been three or four sentences.

I was able to do these things because I understood my craft and I was trusted by my leadership (both line and staff).  Some people, if they look hard enough, will find fault with something that I did (or didn't do) -- but I got the job done in an honorable and honest manner.  The last of these was eleven years ago, I think.  Our cultural climate is changing for the worse, and your ability to get the job done for your agency might be less than my ability back in those days.  If your organization wants to formalize everything, and require reviews for everything, and make everything slow, well, that's your organization's prerogative.

Yes, you can use your SABER contracts for emergencies. 

For a real emergency, you don't need a formalized, reviewed, multi-page requirements document -- the water main has burst and the breakage needs to be repaired is entirely adequate as the work description -- one sentence is adequate as the work statement.  Remember, the SABER order is just for the emergency (put out the fire) -- for the permanent repair solution (rebuild the building), you might have to use the traditional process.

The contracting officer can do the JEFO if the work is less than $700,000 -- keep it less than $700,000, and use a simplified check-the-box JEFO template.  Does SABER allow for T&M orders?  If not, use the principle (and maybe even the clause) for unpriced purchase orders.

You can issue task orders orally.  Yes, you can -- see FAR 16.504(a)(4)(vii).

But here is the most important question:  Does your leadership really care about this matter?

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Thanks for the response!

What you suggest is kind of what I was going for -- a BPA of sorts for a general contractor. I agree wholeheartedly it's what SABER's for, but without time for a proposal, a SOW, we're in an interesting spot.

Leadership cares as they were recently burned on such an NTE situation that drew the ire/of higher leadership, and so now I'm attempting to identify a solution to alleviate confusion for future CO's who are concerned that they're nor performing correctly, and local leadership alike so there is a streamlined and correct process.

Unfortunately the basic SABER contract does not contain authorization to place oral orders IAW FAR 16.504(a)(4)(vi), nor clauses for T&M. It also doesn't have the Defin clause @ DFARS 252.217-7027  in place either.

At the end of the day work will get done in an emergency, inside or outside the lines, but I'm trying to identify a within the lines approach to these situations.

 

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You can establish Part 13 BPAs with some or all of your SABER contractors.  You do not need to do a competition to establish the BPAs.

The simplest question for leadership:  When the water main breaks, do you want a contractor there within two hours, two days, two weeks, or two months?  Whatever procedures you write have to support that answer.

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“At the end of the day...”  I first heard that expression used in normal conversation, while watching Love Island last month (ad infinitum):  “At the end of the day, I’m (or we’re) 100%...” Guess it’s the latest vernacular...😃

 

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2 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

“At the end of the day...”  I first heard that expression used in normal conversation, while watching Love Island last month (ad infinitum):  “At the end of the day, I’m (or we’re) 100%...” Guess it’s the latest vernacular...😃

 

He's only a pen salesman at the end of the day!

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2 hours ago, ji20874 said:

You can establish Part 13 BPAs with some or all of your SABER contractors.  You do not need to do a competition to establish the BPAs.

The simplest question for leadership:  When the water main breaks, do you want a contractor there within two hours, two days, two weeks, or two months?  Whatever procedures you write have to support that answer.

Yep, I was thinking along these lines as well. Granted, not sure what recourse there is when they don't show up, just that we'd go to the next on the BPA list if they couldn't get there in time.

 

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Don't issue the call (or order) unless you have verified that the contractor will show up.  If they don't promise, then say you'll call another contractor.  You want the contractor there in two hours, right?

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I would give serious consideration to a hybrid, service/construction, FFP/cost reimbursement, contract that would give your COR the right at a price level to authorize certain emergency actions to be completed. Above that threshold, a KO/CO would get a proposal from the contractor. Several Maintenance Contracts have this contingency option. This contract is competed at the onset and thus when emergencies arise you only deal with one contractor. These have separate levels of emergencies that are regularly dealt with on a separate CLIN. I assume you have enough history on that base for certain type actions, thus necessitating a certain response time to certain type emergencies. Don't pigeon hole these type of actions to simply IDIQ type contracts. Think outside the box.

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