A client called last Thursday asking for help with a public agency request for qualifications, starting with a detailed review of the RFQ and a Go/No Go decision. The client had allowed 18 calendar days from RFQ release date to due date, and asked for the following information:
1. A statement of interest for providing on-call, as-needed A/E services for minor construction, repair and renovation projects, including the prime firm's unique qualifications pertaining to task orders; a statement of availability and commitment of the prime, its principals and professionals to the project; a brief history of the prime firm and each subconsultant; a graphic representation of the team (org chart); and a completed SF254 (later amended to allow a completed SF330).
2. Information on Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) status -- minority- and women-owned firms -- of the prime and other team member firms.
3. Information on the prime firm, including name, address, years in business, type of operation, number of employees by skill group, and average revenues for the past 10 years; resumes of key project staff including experience with task ordeers, years with firm and city of residence; proposed assignments and lines of authority/communication for principals and key professional staff (another org chart); identification of members of the proposed team who worked on projects presented in the Experience section; firm financial statements for the past two years; documentation of financial stability; information on potential sale of or acquisitions by the company; details of past or pending litigation; information on any current or previous defaults on loans or financing agreements; and a 5-year claims history under professional malpractice insurance.
4. The same information as item 3 (above) for each of the subconsultant firms, plus information on how members of other firms would be integrated into the team; resumes of key staff; a graphic description of assignments and lines of communication (more org charts); basis for selection of that firm for the team; prime's process for working with subconsultants and integrating them into the design process.
5. Prime's past performance on projects for similar facilities within the last 5 years including project name, location, contract delivery method and description; initial and final construction and total task order costs; project size in gross square feet; type of construction; start and finish dates for design; notice to proceed and substantial completion dates for construction; description of the professional services provided; name of project manager and project architect; list of all project consultants. Past performance was to be evaluated based on accuracy and quality of cost estimates; design to and control of program scope within budget during schematic, design development and construction documents phases; effective management and tracking of schedules; provision of accurate, complete and coordinated plans and specifications; effective management of change orders and claims.
6. Representative projects -- three projects involving similar scopes of services, regardless of facility or client type, including all of the information required in Item 5 above; three projects that won awards for design excellence with descriptive information; color images of all projects described in this section.
7. An explanation of how the prime intends to make sure any project under this on-call contract will comply with the Facility Master Plan and incorporate the requirements of the client's design standards for the project.
8. Best practices -- using specific examples from three projects described earlier -- related to quality assurance proceedures; the owner's specific system design and construction standards; the prime's service support philosophy; the types of records, reports, monitoring systems and information management systems the prime uses to manage projects; cost control methods for the design and construction phases; ensuring continuity of project objectives from design solutions, to construction documents, to the actual construction project; assurance of timely completion, including methods for schedule recovery if needed; a section based on a review of the draft agreement stating which services the prime considers a part of Basic Services and which would be considered Additional Services.
9. Problem identification and resolution -- describe your understanding of the administrative, physical and aesthetic challenges and opportunities and your strategy for resolving these issues; what are the critical issues for task orders; using any three projects described earlier, discuss conflicts with owner, consultants, contractor or subcontractors, and described methods used to resolve the confloicts.
10. References -- owner's name, representative and phone number; contractor's name, representative and phone number; length of business relationship and background information of project (year of project, summary of services performed, etc.).
Responses were limited to 100 pages plus SF254 or SF330 and HUB documents.
For the average small firm, which probably does not track all of this information, and which certainly does not have any fancy response preparation software, is this not just a bit excessive?
I had to recommend that this was not an appropriate pursuit, even though the client was perfectly suited to undertake and successfully complete the assignments envisioned under the contract. The submittal would require more time (his and mine) than he anticipated because he didn't track the required data in any purposeful, organized form. Every piece of data would have to be researched separately.
If he wanted to make this a strategic client, pursuing multiple projects for them each year, he could spread the development costs over multiple opportunities. However, the actual expense would all fall under the current pursuit, and he would have to come up with a big time commitment and a pay a big fee to develop this first submittal.
I understand that there are numerous systems out there today to track this information, many of which are not that expensive. The data can even be tracked using Word templates or Excel spreadsheets, softwares which everyone already has in their offices.
But many DBE, MBE, WBE, 8(a), DVBE and other small firms do the majority of their projects as a subconsultant and rarely think ahead to the time when they will submit as the prime and need this depth of information.
Wouldn't it be more fair if, when public agencies issue RFQs and RFPs for smaller programs and projects, where they anticipate that smaller firms will compete and win the work, they would cut these small firms some slack and only ask for information that is truly required for selection?