Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Training: Building Information Modeling (BIM): New Technology in Construction

BIM: New Technology in Construction:  Despite the increasing penetration of Building Information Modeling (BIM) on construction projects, there are still many questions about how to legally and practically structure and implement BIM to harness its potential to minimize construction defects, conflicts, and the cost of construction and building operation and maintenance. 

When:  March 26, 2014 (1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 

  • In-Person:  Seattle, WA (City University, 521 Wall Street)
  • Webinar:  Your office
Agenda and Instructors:
  • Introduction: Why BIM - Why Now? (Brendan J. Peters)
  • The Past and Future of BIM (Dennis Neeley)
  •  The Legal Side of BIM (Brendan J. Peters)
  • Managing BIM and the BIM Execution Plan (Christopher Hubbard)
  • BIM from the Owner's, Contractor's, and Design Professional's Perspective (Andrew L. Greene, David de Yarza, James Hansen, Jason Limp, Jay Martin)
  • BIM Coordination and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) (Tim Luke, Jim Stoner)
  • BIM and Dispute Resolution (Christopher Nutter)
Sponsored by:  The Seminar Group 

  • $295
  • $245 for government employees
  • Other rates available
Additional information and registration:  Click here
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Job Opening: Contract & Procurement Specialist

KCDA (King County Directors Association)
  • Position:  Contract & Procurement Specialist
  • Location:  Kent, Washington
  • Closing Date:  March 3, 2014
  • Salary:  $3,750 Monthly
  • Job Summary: This position manages all aspects of the public procurement contract process for a variety of projects.  Responsible for supply management functions and public procurement in accordance with state laws and regulations.  Develops bid documents and conducts open competitive bidding process.  Evaluates and recommends bid awards.  
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Job Opening: Procurement and Supply Specialist 4

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)
  • Position:  Procurement and Supply Specialist 4
  • Location:  Spokane, Washington
  • Closing Date:  February 28, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time
  • Salary:  $45,828 to $60,120 Annually
  • Job Summary: This position will manage all of the purchasing activities for the Eastern Region of WSDOT and will serve as the inventory expert for the region in the operation and monitoring of approximately $600,000 in capital assets and $4 million in consumable inventory.  Responsibilities will include supervision of the two staff members assigned to the Stores operation in the request and receipt of supplies, procurement of equipment, materials and services, and control over the commodities held in consumable inventory.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, February 24, 2014

CPARB Seeks 4 New Members

The Washington State Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) is currently recruiting for four open seats on the board.  

What is CPARB?  CPARB is established by state law to provide evaluation of public capital project construction processes including the impact of contracting methods on project outcomes, and advises the legislature on policies related to public works deliver methods. 

4 open positions:  The following four positions, which are appointed by the Governor will have vacancies in 2014:
  • General Contractor
  • Higher Education - owner
  • Insurance/Surety Industry
  • Specialty Contractor
More information and application process:  More information about CPARB, the open positions, and the deadline and process for applying may be found on CPARB's website under the "CPARB Recruitment" heading.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bill Requiring Certified Payrolls on Public Works Passes Washington State House of Representatives

On February 13, 2014, the Washington State House of Representatives approved (on a 54 - 44 vote) HB 2331 that would require all public agencies in the state to obtain certified payroll reports from the contractor and every subcontractors before making any payment on a public works project. 

Bill may increase cost of public works projects:  There is currently no state law that requires submission of payroll reports to public agencies, and HB 2331 imposes a major new requirement.  The bill will delay payments to contractors (and subcontractors), discourage contractors from bidding public works projects, and potentially result in increased bid prices to public agencies due to:
  • Less competition:  A more limited pool of contractors bidding public works projects

  • Cost of managing new requirement:  Contractors bidding more to manage the collection and submission of the payroll reports
  • Cost of delayed payments:  Contractors bidding more to compensate for delayed payments from public agencies. 
Payrolls already required for federally funded projects:  Only if a project is federally funded are certified payrolls required.  Public agencies already have the contractual right to withhold payment in the event that payrolls have not been submitted on a federally funded project.  A new law that applies to all public works projects regardless of funding represents a major new requirement for public works contracting. 

Payroll submission already required by regulations:  WAC 296-127-320 already provides the option for Labor and Industries or an interested party to request certified payrolls on a public works project.  Mandating that certified payrolls be submitted on all public works projects by all contractors and subcontractors is not necessary and complicates public works bidding and contract administration.

What must a public agency do with the payrolls?  Interestingly, HB 2331 does not say that a public agency must do anything with the payroll reports other than collect them prior to making payment to the contractor.  In fact, the bill implies that a public agency's only role is to collect the payroll reports: "The awarding agency shall be held harmless and is not liable for the currency, completeness, or accuracy of certified payroll records submitted under this section."

Managing confidential information:  Because the payroll reports will become a matter of public record once received by the public agency, anyone may request the documents through a public records request (further increasing the workload of public agencies).  There is nothing in the bill that protects disclosure of confidential information (Social Security number, address, etc) on the certified payrolls to outside parties.

Impact on small businesses:  HB 2331 will have an especially negative impact on small contractors and subcontractors that do not have the administrative support systems in place to comply with this proposed new requirement.  

Status of the bill:  There was a public hearing on the bill on Friday, February 21, 2014 in the Senate Committee on Commerce & Labor.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

3 Business Opportunity Conferences

Whether you're a public agency or business, the following three conferences focusing on doing business with the government will be of interest to you.

2014 Alliance Northwest Conference

When:  March 13, 2014 

Where:  Puyallup, WA (Puyallup Fair & Events Center) 

What is it?  The 2014 Alliance Northwest Conference is a business-to-government conference.  This event features keynote speakers, workshops, and matchmaking sessions with government agencies and prime contractors. 

  • $100 to attend
  • $425 for exhibitor booth
  • Use discount code PURDY for a $10 discount off of attendee or exhibitor registration 
More information and registration:  Click here. 


2014 Regional Contracting Forum

When:  March 26, 2014 (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Where:  Seattle, WA (Washington State Convention Center)

What is it?  Opportunity for businesses to meet with the region's largest government agencies and the opportunity for government agencies to meet with businesses interested in working with them.  Includes one-on-one sessions between prime and sub-contractors during pre-scheduled interviews for both construction and architectural/engineering, and opportunity for businesses supplying goods and services to meet one-on-one with agency buyers. 

More information and registration:  Click here.


2014 Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference

When:  April 14-15, 2014

Where:  Fife, WA (Emerald Queen Casino)

What is it?  The conference will focus on the following areas:
  • K12 and Apprenticeship
  • Career Pathways and Opportunities for Apprenticeship
  • Apprenticeship is a good business model
  • Recruitment and Retention Strategies; Methods to Diversity the Workforce
  • Transitioning Veterans to the Trades
  • Apprenticeship Opportunities for Tribal Members
  • Apprenticeship Utilization
  • Apprentice Success Stories
Cost:  $100

Information and registration:  Click here.

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2 Job Openings: Senior Contracts Specialist & Contracts Administrator

Sound Transit (Seattle)
  • Position:  Senior Contracts Specialist
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  Open Until Filled
  • Salary:  $59,419 to $74,273 Annually
  • Job Summary:  This position performs the full range of senior professional and technical duties involved in the preparation, finalization, analysis, and administration of technology, systems, materials, services, small construction, and other agreements and contracts.  Leads or assists departments and project managers in selection of procurement methods and strategies.  Prepares, issues, and awards contracts in accordance with policies, procedures, and in compliance with all state, federal, and local regulations and laws.  The position is responsible for cradle-to-grave procurement and contract work.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.

Port of Seattle
  • Position:  Contract Administrator - Service Agreements
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date: March 9, 2014 at midnight (Pacific Time)
  • Salary:  Minimum $59,846 to Midpoint $74,822
  • Job Summary:  Manage service agreement procurement schedule.  Organize and facilitate meetings, address questions and concerns both internal and external.  Work closely with requesting department representative.  Coordinate and draft addenda.  Responsible for problem-solving routine/conventional professional service agreement procurement and compliance issues.  Address bid protests and present recommendations to management.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fire District Disputes Audit on Violation of Construction Bid Requirements

A fire protection district in Washington state has disputed an audit finding from the State Auditor's Office that the district failed to comply with bidding requirements for the construction of a training tower. 

Audit findings:  The audit report cited the Spokane County Fire Protection District No. 3 for the following on $186,530 of work on the tower that had a total cost of $637,662:
  • Project split:  The District split the work into smaller projects each worth less than $20,000, which is the dollar amount below which the district is not required to seek competitive bids.
  • District employees doing work:  The District used district employees to perform part of the work which is not permitted for fire protection districts.
District response:  The District responded in writing to the audit as follows:
  • Why was the project split?  The District implies in their response that they used the Small Works Roster for the work, and that splitting a Small Works Roster project is prohibited only "if it is done for the purpose of avoiding the maximum dollar amount of a contract that may be let using the small works roster process [$300,000]."  The District maintained that the reason they split the project was to save money by having its own staff and volunteers do the work.  What the District failed to note and may not understand, however, is that under the Small Works Roster process, competitive bids are still required.  The District's argument is not persuasive.
  • Why did district employees perform some of the work?  The District stated that there was no prohibition on using their employees for the work.  However, unlike other types of public agencies, fire protection districts have no explicit authority in state law to use their own forces for a public works project in lieu of bidding it.  The auditor affirmed their original finding, probably based on the fact that RCW 52.14.110 that governs how public works are governed for fire protection districts requires formal sealed bidding unless the work will cost less than $20,000 or the Small Works Roster process is used.  Under the Small Works Roster process, of course, competitive bids are still required, but they don't have to be sealed bids.
Lessons learned:  Public agencies should:
  • Strategy:  Think strategically about each project and the best method for structuring and bidding the work.
  • Laws:  Be aware of applicable laws governing how public works construction projects are to be bid.
  • Advice:  Seek appropriate advice prior to embarking on a public works construction project, especially if the agency does not normally do such projects and does not have staff who are knowledgeable on applicable laws and best practices.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

3 Upcoming Training Opportunities (Apprenticeship, Public Procurement, and BIM)

1.  Benefits of Apprenticeship for Contractors

When:  February 18, 2014 (3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 

Where:  Everett, WA (Snohomish County Admin East Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave)

Cost:  Free

Agenda: Informational session for contractors to learn about the benefits of apprenticeships offered through various state approved apprenticeship training programs including NW Laborers, NW Washington Electrical Industry JATC, and Construction Industry Training Council (CITC), and how apprentices through these programs can meet apprenticeship requirements for Snohomish County public works construction projects. In addition to representatives of these three programs, a representative from the Department of Lab or and Industries will also speak.

Sponsored by:  Snohomish County 

Information and registration:  Contact Jennifer Koontz at (425) 388-3344 or by email at


2.  Introduction to Public Procurement

When:  March 5 - 7 2014 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 

Where:  Everett, WA (Community Transit, 2312 West Casino Road) 

  • $660 for NIGP members
  • $860 for non-NIGP members 
  • Day 1
  • Pre-test
  • History and Value
  • Private and Public Purchasing Organizations
  • Differences
  • Similarities
  • Purchasing Cycle
  • Day 2
  • Legal Issues
  • Ethics/Professionalism
  • Contract Administration
  • Organizational Structure
  • Roles
  • Centralized vs. Decentralized
  • Day 3
  • Planning
  • Specifications
  • Market Conditions
  • Socio-Economic Factors
  • Technology
  • Federal
  • Post-Test 
Sponsored by:  NIGP, Washington State Chapter 

Information and registration:  Click here. 


 3.  Building Information Modeling (BIM): New Technology in Construction

When:  March 26, 2014 (1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 

Where:  Seattle, WA (City University, 521 Wall Street) 

  • $295
  • $245 for Government Employees
  • Other rates also available 
  • Introduction: Why BIM - Why Now? (Brendan J. Peters, Perkins Coie LLP)
  • The Past and Future of BIM (Dennis Neeley, Neeley Consulting)
  • The Legal Side of BIM (Brendan J. Peters, Perkins Coie LLP)
  • Managing BIM and the BIM Execution Plan (Christopher Hubbard, Quarry Group)
  • BIM from the Owner's Contractor's and Design Professional's Perspective (Andrew L. Greene, Perkins Coie LLP; David de Yarza, BNBuilders; James Hansen, Bethel School District; Jason Limp, BNBuilders, Jay Martin, Miller Hull)
  • BIM Coordination and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) (Tim Luke, Basepin; Jim Stoner, Hainline & Associates)
  • BIM and Dispute Resolution (Christopher Nutter, Navigant Consulting) 
Sponsored by:  The Seminar Group 

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

New Prevailing Wage Rates Effective March 5, 2014

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries published updated prevailing wages on February 3, 2014.  According to WAC 296-127-011, the new prevailing wages will become effective 30 days later, or on March 5, 2014.
Effective Date for Projects:  For any public works project with a bid submittal deadline of March 5, 2014 or later, the new wage rates will be in effect.  For projects advertised prior to March 5, 2014, but which have a bid submittal date of March 5, 2014 or later, public agencies should issue an addendum with the revised prevailing wage rates.  To look up the new wage rates, visit Labor and Industries' website.
Current Prevailing Wages:  Projects with a bid opening date of March 4, 2014 or earlier are governed by the current prevailing wage rates dated August 31, 2013.  Labor and Industries publishes corrections to prevailing wages on their website.
Notifying Contractors of Applicable Wages:  It is important for public agencies to make sure that the correct prevailing wage rates are either included in the bidding documents for any public works project bidding on or after March 5, 2014, or that the bidding documents reference L&I's website and include other information.  See my previous blog entry on incorporation of the prevailing wage rates by reference.
No Incorporation by Reference of Federal Wages:  For federally funded projects, the actual federal prevailing wage determination must be physically included in the bidding and contract documents, and may not be just included by reference.  In order to eliminate confusion on federally funded projects, the best practice is to also physically include the state prevailing wages in the bidding and contract documents, even though it is permitted that Washington state prevailing wages may be incorporated by reference.  
Differences Between Federal and State Wages:  On federally funded projects, both federal and state prevailing wages apply and the contractor is required to pay the higher of the two wages for any classification of labor.  Public agencies should ensure that language to this effect is reflected in their bid and contract documents.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Risk of Accepting and Keeping a Late Bid

Public agencies have different practices about what to do with a bid that is submitted late.  Here are some of the options:

Don't accept the late bid:  Under this option, a public agency would refuse to accept a bid that was submitted after the bid submittal deadline.  In my opinion, this is the best practice to follow.

Return the late bid:  However, sometimes a bid will arrive late through the mail, or via a delivery service.  In a case like this, the public agency has "accepted" the bid, but should then return the bid unopened after first making a photocopy of the face of the envelope with the notation of what time the bid was received.

Keep the late bid in the file:  Some public agencies will accept a late bid (whether in person, mail, or delivery service) but not open it.  Instead, they keep the late bid sealed in their file.  The risk of this option is that as long as the late bid is in the public agency's control, the bidder may protest the agency's rejection of the late bid, which may significantly delay the project.  Once the bid is outside of the agency's control and has been mailed back to the bidder, the risk of a bid protest drops significantly.  

To accept or not to accept:  If a bid is late, the best practice is to not accept it or consider it.  Some public agencies tend to treat late bids on a case-by-case basis.  One of the basic principles of public bidding and contracting is that all bidders are provided with the same opportunity to submit a bid and all operate under the same rules.  Bidders are expected to make appropriate arrangements to ensure their bid is received on time by the public agency.  Accepting and considering a late bid undermines the confidence of the public in the integrity of the bid process.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Public Contracting News From Around the Country

County to make bidding requirements consistent with California law:  Humboldt County, California will consider revising their procurement code to bring it in line with state law.  Currently, the County allows public projects estimated to cost more than $175,000 but less than $187,000 to be awarded through informal bidding with approval of the County's Board of Supervisors.  The California Public Contract Code permits informal bidding only for projects costing $175,000 or less.  Click here for more information.

Florida public works employee accepts bribes:  In exchange for influencing purchasing decisions by Miami-Dade County, Florida to favor a particular supplier's lighting products, a former County supervisor accepted $13,000 of bribes in the form of household appliances.  The employee was convicted of accepting the bribes on the federally funded programs, and will be sentenced in federal court on March 28, 2014.  Click here for more information.

Contractors face jail time for bribes:  Two New Jersey executives of a power washing and snow removal contracting firm paid $20,000 in bribes for a New Jersey Transit employee in exchange for helping obtain a snow removal contract at the Trenton train station.  Both executives have pleaded guilty.  One faces ten years in prison when he is sentenced at the end of March, and the other may get up to five years when sentenced in April.  The employee who accepted the bribes cooperated as a witness against the two men.  Click here for more information.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, February 3, 2014

Federal Bid Protests Decline Slightly in 2013

Bid protests on federal procurements declined 2% in 2013 over bid protests filed in 2012.  There were a total of 2,429 bid protests filed with the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), down from 2,475 filed in 2012. 

First year of decrease:  The decrease marks the first time in a number of years that the number of protests actually declined.  The following shows the percentage change in bid protests since 2006.
  • 2006 to 2007 - 6% increase
  • 2007 to 2008 - 17% increase
  • 2008 to 2009 - 20% increase
  • 2009 to 2010 - 16% increase
  • 2010 to 2011 - 2% increase
  • 2011 to 2012 - 5% increase
  • 2012 to 2013 - 2% decrease 
Reasons for protests:  GAO reports the following as the most prevalent reasons why they sustained protests filed with them during the 2013 fiscal year:
  • Failure to follow the solicitation evaluation criteria
  • Inadequate documentation of the record
  • Unequal treatment of offerors
  • Unreasonable price or cost evaluation 
More Information:  Click here to read the complete GAO report to Congress on bid protests (7 pages) 

Practical Tips:  Make sure you have a comprehensive and independent quality control process for reviewing your solicitation documents before they are advertised to ensure that the selection process and requirements are clear.  Your solicitation documents should also define your agency's protest procedures, which may be partially governed by your state law.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC