Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When Do Emergencies Cease to be Emergencies?

In public procurement, most states and local agencies have provisions that permit them to award a contract for goods, services, or construction in the event of an emergency.

Definition of an emergency: The definition of what constitutes an emergency and the subsequent waiving of competitive bidding requirements varies for different agencies, depending on state and local laws and policies.  Generally, however, an emergency occurs when there are unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the agency that will likely result in any of the following if immediate action is not taken:
  • Material loss or damage to property
  • Bodily injury or loss of life
  • A real or immediate threat to the proper performance of essential functions.
How long do emergencies last?  Waiving competitive bidding requirements due to an emergency is an exception to the normal requirements.  Thus, emergency contracts are usually only valid to address the immediate emergency situation.  If there is subsequent or follow-up work that is necessary, it would generally not be deemed an emergency if the public agency would have sufficient time in which to competitively bid the work.  This, however, is a case-by-case decision that requires exercising subjective and wise judgment.

Washington state:  In Washington state, emergencies are defined in RCW 39.04.280, although some specific types of agencies also have their own definitions for emergencies.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Job Opening: Buyer

King County (WA)
  • Position: Buyer
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  September 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $60,902 to $77,188 Annually
  • Job Summary:  This position is responsible for procuring supplies, materials, equipment, and services in order to support operational needs throughout King County.  The successful candidate must be highly analytical, and have the passion and drive to secure goods and services by efficient and cost effective methods in accordance with procurement laws, regulations, policies and procedures in support of King County's mission and objectives.  
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Training in September: Washington Construction Law

21st Annual Washington Construction Law Seminar:  I've attended this seminar in previous years and always found it to be very helpful.  I will be attending again this year.

When:  September 18-19, 2014 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 

Agenda and Speakers:
  • Federal Construction Law - New Developments (Bruce P. Babbitt)
  • Washington State Public Works Competitive Bidding and Bid Protests (Arnold R. Hedeen)
  • Key Clauses of Construction Contracts (Alan Bornstein)
  • Integrated Project Delivery (Scott R. Sleight)
  • Key State Tax Considerations for Construction Projects (George C. Mastrodonato)
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) (Brendan J. Peters)
  • Construction Changes/Differing Site Conditions (John P. Ahlers)
  • What Happens When Someone in the Chain Goes Bankrupt? (Jerry N. Stehlik)
  • Discovery Issues in Construction Claims (Andrew L. Greene)
  • Washington Construction Law - New Developments (Paul R. Cressman, Jr.)
  • Claims Against Design Professionals (Stanton P. Beck)
  • Design Professional Considerations (Blaine J. Weber)
  • Ethical Considerations for Construction Lawyers (John A. Strait)
  • Insurance in the Construction Industry (Todd C. Hayes)
  • Lien and Bond Claims; Dealing with Sureties (Kerry C. Lawrence)
  • Construction Mediation (Henry C. Jameson)
  • $645 - Government employees
  • Other fees for different categories 
  • The sponsor of this training, The Seminar Group, will provide my blog readers with a $50 per person discount off of the regular tuition rate.  Call The Seminar Group to register and mention Mike Purdy and the discount code "SPP50." 
 Credits:  Approved for continuing education credits with:
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Alaska
  • Construction Risk & Insurance Specialists by IRMI
  • AIA (American Institute of Architects)
  • American Institute of Constructors
  • Construction Management Association of America
Sponsored by:  The Seminar Group

Information and registration:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, August 18, 2014

Key Factors in Deciding on a Unit Price Book for Job Order Contracting

Job Order Contracting (JOC) has been gaining increasing popularity among public agencies as an efficient project delivery tool for public works construction projects.  In JOC, the contractor agrees to a fixed period, indefinite quantity delivery order contract which provides for the use of negotiated, definite work orders for public works, based on an established unit price book.

Types of unit price books:  There are a number of options available for what unit price book to use and there are companies who help guide public agencies in the establishment and management of Job Order Contracting.
  • Agency developed:  Some public agencies develop their own unit price book, often using prices based on historical usage data.
  • Off-the-shelf industry:  Other public agencies use an already established unit price good such as the estimating guide published by the company RSMeans.
  • Customized: Still other public agencies turn to specialist companies such as RSMeans and The Gordian Group to develop a specific unit price book tailored to the agency's needs and location. On July 21, 2014, The Gordian Group announced that it acquired RSMeans from Reed Construction Data.
Lisa Cooley
Evaluating unit price books:  Lisa Cooley, the Program Director for JOC and Custom Cost Engineering at Reed Construction Data, has written a very thoughtful, thorough, and accessible article entitled "The Best Unit Price Book for Your Job Order Contract" in which she explains some of the factors that should drive a decision on which unit price book to use for a Job Order Contracting program.  Ms. Cooley has also written some other helpful articles on the same website.

JOC in Washington state:  Not all public agencies are authorized to use JOC in Washington state. RCW 39.10.420 lists the agencies or agency types that may use JOC.  Other JOC related laws are found in RCW 39.10.430, RCW 39.10.440, RCW 39.10.450, and RCW 39.10.460.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Can Businesses Access Your Business Opportunities from Mobile Devices?

In our increasingly mobile world, we are seeing more and more Apps being developed for mobile devices (smart phones and tablets).

An App for business opportunities?  Many public agencies publicize business opportunities for bidding and proposals on either their own website or on a third party website.
  • Has your agency considered developing an App to make your business opportunities available more easily for contractors and vendors?  
  • Is there an App available from the third party website where you publicize your bids and proposals?
2 new free Apps:  Although not directly related to agency business opportunities, here are two new apps that may be of interest:
  • MRSC City + Town Officials Directory: This comprehensive database published by the Municipal Research and Services Center includes the names, positions, and contact information for elected officials and key employees of the 281 cities and towns in the state of Washington.  It also includes useful information on local government, such as city hall addresses, phone numbers, population, classes of government, and much more.  Click here to view the database online, or below to view information about the App for your mobile device:
  • NIGP 2014 Annual Forum: The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) will hold their Annual Forum in Philadelphia from August 23-27, 2014.  They have developed a very useful App for attendees with information about:
    • Names and agencies of all attendees (ability to create a list of your contacts)
    • Times, locations, speaker information, presentation material for workshops and other events (ability to create your own schedule for what you'll be attending)
    • Names and locations of exhibitors
    • Floor plans
    • And more

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Upcoming Training at NIGP Forum in Philadelphia

I will be teaching two all-day courses in August just before the start of NIGP's Annual Forum in Philadelphia:
Information and registration:  To see an outline of each of these classes and/or to register, click on the links above.

Other locations:  I've also taught these classes in other states around the country and will be teaching them later this year in Maryland, Colorado, Texas, and Arizona.  In addition, I teach a class entitled "Best Practices in Developing Public Construction Bid Documents" and will be teaching it later this year in Texas and Georgia.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, August 11, 2014

NJ Prohibits Financial Statements in Bid/Proposal Processes

The New Jersey legislature has approved a bill that would prohibit public agencies from requiring bidders and proposers from submitting a financial statement if a bid guaranty (bid bond, cashier's check, certified check) is submitted. A bid guaranty is a measure of protection for the public on the financial viability of the bidder/proposer.

Unanimous support:  A-1794 passed both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly unanimously in June 2014.  

Purpose of bill:  The bill was promoted as a means to encourage small businesses to participate in public contracting, and not impose on businesses an often onerous, costly, and time-consuming process of obtaining and providing a financial statement to demonstrate financial viability.

Exception:  The bill includes an exception for any federally funded project that requires submission of a financial statement by bidders or proposers as a condition of a public agency receiving a grant.

Public records:  Prohibiting submission of financial statements also eliminates the situation in which confidential information must sometimes be disclosed under public records laws.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC