Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Job Opening: Chief Procurement Officer

King County, Washington
  • Position: Chief Procurement Officer
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  June 23, 2014
  • Salary:  $100,216 to $127,030 Annually
  • Job Summary:  The Chief Procurement Officer is responsible for all centrally provided procurement services across King County government.  The position directs the Procurement and Contract Services Section (PCSS), which serves in a support role for meeting the ongoing purchasing and contracting needs of other County agencies.  The section is comprised of about 45 staff, which is organized into the following units: goods and services; design and construction services; technical and other consulting services; project control officer function for large-scale capital projects; environmental purchasing services; and purchasing card (P-card) payment services.  The Chief Procurement Officer reports directly to the Finance Director.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Equalizing the Public Works Construction Bid Process

In bidding public works construction projects, it is important for public agencies to include basic information about the conditions that the successful contractor will be required to meet, including but not limited to the following:
  • Scope of work
  • Schedule for completion of the work
  • Liquidated damages amount per day
  • Bonding and insurance requirements
  • Prevailing wages
Problem bid documents:  Sometimes, I see public agencies ask contractors to include with their bid the contractor's proposed length of time for completing the work.  The problem with this and similar approaches is that the bidders are, in essence, bidding on different projects.  Contract duration directly impacts bid prices, and the bid documents must clearly define the amount of time allowed for doing the work. This helps ensure that all of the bidders are bidding on the same set of assumptions about the project.

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Detailed Should Plans and Specifications Be for Construction Bid Documents?

Some public construction projects are very large and require extremely detailed design documents.  But there are also very small projects that may not require that the plans and specifications be as detailed.

What's the right level of detail?  How should public agencies make the decision about how detailed the design documents used during the bid process need to be?  Plans and specifications should be detailed enough to address at least the following items:
  • Equalize the bid process:  Do the bidders have enough information?  Are they all making the same assumptions?  Are they all bidding on the same work?
  • Meet owner expectations:  Do the design documents describe the work in sufficient detail so that the owner will get the project it anticipated being built?

  • Hold contractor accountable:  Are the design documents and the contract provisions clear enough so that the owner can hold the contractor accountable during construction to perform consistent with the owner's intent and needs?
  • Comply with regulations:  Are the design documents developed in sufficient enough detail so that appropriate permits can be issued, and so that the project is in compliance with building codes and other regulatory requirements?
Small Works Roster:  In Washington state, the law governing public works projects in which the contractor is selected through competition using a Small Works Roster, states that "detailed plans and specifications need not be included in the invitation" to bid (RCW 39.04.155 2c).  The list above provides a framework for what is detailed enough for the bid process for smaller projects.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

3-D Printing of Buildings

While 3-D printing of objects is becoming more common, the technology is advancing to the point where it may change the construction industry by using large 3-D printers to print buildings.

Laura Bourgeois LoBue
Laura Bourgeois LoBue, a Washington, DC attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, has written a fascinating article entitled "Forget printing construction documents, let's print buildings!" in which she describes the 3-D printing process and explores what is being done around the world to develop the technology to print buildings. 

Click here to read Ms. LoBue's article, which has many links to other information about this topic.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, May 19, 2014

Job Opening: Procurement and Contracts Business Analyst

Sound Transit, Seattle, Washington
  • Position:  Procurement and Contracts Business Analyst
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  Continous
  • Salary:  Negotiable
  • Job Summary:  Coordinates and administers procurement and contracts division initiatives and projects, and division compliance with reporting requirements. Performs business and process improvement analysis with emphasis on procurement efficiency, transparency, and integrity.  Performs high level research related to procurement requirements including Federal Transit Administration (FTA), state law and national best practices.  Advances the formulation and improvement of procurement policies and procedures and the development of procurement guidance and training curricula.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Job Opening: Contract Specialist

King County, Washington
  • Position:  Contract Specialist II
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  June 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm Pacific Time
  • Salary:  $71,905 to $91,145 Annually
  • Job Summary:  This position provides expertise in the procurement of construction (public works), professional, engineering and/or architectural consulting services contracts working with King County agencies. This position also involves managing and mitigating the risks inherent in design, construction and other professional services to protect the County from being subject to litigation, criticism or unanticipated costs due to unclear, ambiguous and non-compliant contract documents. This is a mid-level professional classification that performs highly complex procurement activities and may direct the work of others. The interviews for this position will be held the week of June 9, 2014. Candidates chosen for interview will need to be available.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Plan to Exclude Women-Owned Firms from DBE Program

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is moving forward with a proposal to exclude non-minority women-owned businesses from Washington's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program goals for federally-funded contracts.  

Elizabeth (Ellie) Perka
Ellie Perka, an attorney with Ahlers & Cressman, has written a detailed analysis of the DBE program, the steps leading up to this proposal, and the impacts of implementing the proposal.

Click here to read Ms. Perka's analysis. 
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2 Days of GC/CM Training

2 Days of Training on GC/CM (General Contractor/Construction Manager)

GC/CM is one of three alternative public works contracting procedures authorized by Washington State law (RCW 39.10).  The generic name for this method of contracting, and as it is known elsewhere in the country, is Construction Manager at Risk.

Who should attend?  If you represent a public agency and you are exploring whether to deliver an upcoming project through GC/CM, attendance at the training will be very helpful for you.  Likewise, if you represent a contractor or subcontractor and are interested in doing work for agencies with GC/CM projects, understanding how it works is very important. 

Structure of the training:  The training is a good overview of the GC/CM process and some of the issues involved in implementing it.  There will be presentations by industry experts, hands-on class exercises, and plenty of time for questions and answers with a panel.  The training will also explore the recently approved legislation that establishes different requirements for heavy civil construction projects.

When:  June 19 and 20, 2013 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

Where:  Seattle, Washington (AGC Building, 1200 Westlake Ave. N.)

Cost:  $350

Sponsored by:  AGC Education Foundation, University of Washington, and Mechanical Contractors Association of Western Washington

Information and Registration:  Click here.

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

Monday, May 12, 2014

Can Expired Contracts Be Resurrected?

What happens when a contract between a public agency and a business expires?  Is a new solicitation required?  Can the contract be extended through an amendment? 

Conservative position:  The conservative position is that an expired contract is expired and may not be amended to extend it.  Once the contract expires, nothing exists, and a new solicitation for continuation of services is required.

Risks of extending an expired contract:  Some public agencies, because of the need to continue to provide services, have been known to extend expired contracts.  The following are some of the risks associated with extending an expired contract:
  • Audit risks:  If a contract has expired, there is no contract to amend or extend, and thus an auditor may argue that the public agency has not gone through the appropriate selection process for the additional or extended work.  If an agency makes the assumption that any expired contract may be amended, this would suggest, in the extreme, that an agency would never have to conduct a competitive solicitation in the future, but simply amend previously expired contracts.  Mitigating against an audit risk for extending an expired contract may be partially dependent on when the contract expired.  In other words, if the contract expired three months ago and a public agency is just now resurrecting it, that is a more difficult position to support than if the contract expired yesterday or last week.  If a public agency chooses to extend a previously expired contract, they should document the reasons why this action was necessary, instead of conducting a new solicitation.  This documentation should discuss the negative consequences to the operation of the public agency if a new solicitation was conducted and the agency was left without a service provider for a period of time.
  • Contractual risks:  If an agency choose to amend a previously expired contract, the language in the amendment is important.  Without all encompassing language, the firm an agency contracted with could at some point argue that they are not bound by the original terms of the contract since it expired.  Thus, any amendment language would need to acknowledge that the contract had expired through an administrative oversight, but that both parties have explicitly agreed that all of the terms and conditions of the original contract continue to be applicable under the amendment.
  • Protest risks:  There is a risk from other firms who may argue that they have not been provided the opportunity to publicly compete for the work that has simply been continued through an amendment to the expired contract.  Part of their argument may be that the original solicitation laid out the term of the contract and that they now have a right to compete for the continuation of the work.  A protesting firm may simply protest or they may challenge an action to extend an expired contract in court, which could end up delaying the provision of the services.
  • Publicity risks:  Audit, contractual, and protest risks all come with potential negative publicity for a public agency if the information is reported in the local media.  Public agencies should weigh carefully whether the risks of extending the contract are worth the potential negative publicity.
Practical tips:  The following practical tips can help your agency in addressing the issue of whether expired contracts can be extended.
  • Develop a policy:  Discuss and develop a policy on your agency's position on whether an expired contract can be amended.
  • Track contract expiration dates:  Develop a clear tracking system to identify early on contracts that are expiring.  This type of system will provide sufficient time to develop and solicit services under a new contract.
  • Talk with your attorney:  If your agency is faced with the situation of potentially amending an expired contract, be sure to discuss it with your attorney and seek their advice on the best course of action.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Job Opening: Buyer 1

City of Spokane, Washington
  • Position:  Buyer 1
  • Location:  Spokane, Washington
  • Closing Date:  May 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm Pacific Time
  • Salary:  $43,305 - $52,554 Annually
  • Job Summary:  Performs general purchasing work in procuring a wide variety of commodities for the City. Evaluates sources of supply and price trends; advises employees regarding purchasing policies and applicable laws; manages department contracts. Employee has contact with City employees, vendors and outside agencies. Performs related work as required. 
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Training: Competitive Public Construction Bidding

Competitive Public Construction Bidding

When:  May 13, 2014 (1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 


  • Seattle, Washington (City University, 521 Wall Street) or
  • Live Webcast
  • Strategic Decision Making for Selecting the Most Appropriate Public Works Project Delivery Method (Linneth Riley-Hall, Sound Transit)

  • Using Contractor Responsibility Criteria for Public Works Contract Bidding (W. Gregory Guedel, Foster Pepper PLLC)

  • Tools for Ensuring Contractor Performance on Public Works Projects (Mike Purdy, Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC)

  • The Top 10 Things to Know About Public Works Contracting (Aleanna Kondelis, City of Seattle)
Sponsored by: The Seminar Group 

  • $325 - Single registration
  • $275 - Government employee
  • As one of the faculty for 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 "FAC50."
  • Other rates available - see website
Information and registration:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Tensions of Public Procurement

There are five competing objectives in public procurement that often create tensions for those responsible for managing the solicitation processes for government agencies: 

Cost:  How can the public agency obtain the best price for goods, services, and construction?

Performance:  How can public agencies ensure that the selected vendor, contractor, or consultant is capable and will provide quality and timely goods and services?  Will they perform as required?

Transparency:  What steps should public agencies take to ensure they conduct a transparent and fair process that does not favor any party over others? 

Expediency:  How can a public agency respond to business needs quickly, efficiently, and competently?

Compliance:  How can public agencies ensure they are in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and best practices for procurement?

All five of these objectives must be at the forefront of the public procurement process.  Because they often conflict with each other, this can create tensions for those responsible for managing the procurement process.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Training: Tricks, Traps, and Ploys Used in Construction Scheduling

Tricks, Traps, and Ploys Used in Construction Scheduling

When:  June 4, 2014 (8:30 am to 4:30 pm) 

Where:  Seattle, WA (Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1113 6th Avenue) 

  • Types of Delays and Interpreting Contract Provisions
  • Legal Issues Relevant to Recovery of Delay Damages
  • Critical Path Method Scheduling
  • Time Impact Analysis and Computing Damages
  • TIA Scheduling Specifications and Practical Application
  • Claims Avoidance and Risk Management
  • Avoiding and Resolving Claims Through Better Procedures
  • Brett M. Hill (Ahlers & Cressman, PLLC)
  • Lisa M. Marchese (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)
  • Steven S. Pinnell, P.E. (Pinnell/Busch, Inc.)
  • Curt Quick (Hainline & Associates, Inc.
  • Ryan W. Sternoff (Ahlers & Cressman, PLLC) 
 Cost:  $369 

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

In What Order Should Bids Be Opened?

When bids are received by a public agency, should they be opened:
  1. In the order in which they were received?
  2. Alphabetically based on the contractor's name?
  3. In a random order?
Applicable laws and policies:  Unless there are applicable local or state laws or agency policies, bids may be opened in any order, as the order of opening doesn't impact the bidding process or give one bidder an advantage that other bidders don't have.

Administrative convenience:  Some agencies choose to open bids in alphabetical order and may have entered the names of anticipated bidders on a bid tabulation form prior to bid opening.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Job Opening: Contract Administrator/Project Coordinator

City of Poulsbo, Washington
  • Position:  Contract Administrator/Project Coordinator
  • Location:  Poulsbo, Washington
  • Closing Date:  May 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm Pacific Time
  • Salary:  $47,836 - $50,801 Annually
  • Job Summary:   The Contract Administrator/Project Coordinator is responsible for performing the administrative, accounting and record keeping duties for the Engineering department.  This is an upper level position supporting capital program functions and assisting in the implementation of capital improvement projects.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Job Opening: Buyer 3

Spokane County, Washington
  • Position:  Buyer 3
  • Location:  Spokane, Washington
  • Closing Date:  Continuous.  Open until filled.
  • Salary:  $37,334 - $50,378 Annually
  • Job Summary:  This is an advanced purchasing position assisting the Purchasing Director or designee in the procurement of goods and services.  Assists departments in preparing highly technical specifications.  Generates and administers complex bids and contracts.  Handles the bidding of building construction, building remodeling, architectural services, engineering services, and other professional services.  
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC