Fort Drum construction contract marks paradigm shift
By Fred Stone, Installation Management Command, and Maj. Sean Kwoun, 925th Contracting BattalionJuly 1, 2016
FORT DRUM, New York -- (July 1, 2016) The award of an architect and engineering contract by the 925th Contracting Battalion and Mission and Installation Contracting Command contracting office here in December 2015 established an intent to provide 100-percent complete, ready-to-go designs to contractors submitting proposals on complex construction requirements on Fort Drum.Industry has begun to transition away from the design-bid-build model that incorporates separate architect and engineering contracts to a design-build model where the contractor is responsible for subcontracting design plans.However, Fort Drum's proximity in the north presents a unique situation where it is more advantageous to keep the design-bid-build model due to the limited number of architect and engineering firms in the local area and the privity of contract that prohibits from dictating to the prime contractor to whom they will subcontract the design.Funding and staffing constraints have led to a reduction in the government's ability to complete in-house designs while the size and complexity of projects increased. Left with no recourse, the repair-rehabilitation construction multiple award task order contract incorporated the design-build method. This resulted in construction documents prepared under a "contractor-centered" approach that were either over- or under-designed depending on the clarity of the project's scope, which led to either project delays or increased costs."With the architect and engineering contract in place, the government stays involved throughout the entire design phase with 35, 65, 95 and 100 percent progress reviews to ensure the design meets the government's intent," said Staff Sgt. Emily Gunter, a contract specialist on the project.Cindy McAleese, the contracting officer for the architect and engineering contract, added that even though it may seem counter-intuitive, this approach actually saves time and cost for the larger, more complex requirements."(The contract) eliminates multiple rounds of requests for information between multiple contractors and the government, because the government can now provide a set of specifications that meets our needs," McAleese said. "Additionally, it reduces contractor risk by eliminating the unknowns in a given project by providing comprehensive front-end construction documents and plans, thereby resulting in lower priced contractor proposals."MICC-Fort Drum officials believe its partnership with the architect and engineering firm is a paradigm shift in its approach to meeting the customer's needs by transitioning to a "customer-centered" design to focus and ensure the final design meets their customer's critical needs.
The architect and engineering contract provides Fort Drum an additional capability and resource of pure subject matter experts in their respective engineering disciplines to draw upon. Additionally, they provide a unique opportunity to better serve the warfighter through advanced planning and design.The architect and engineering contract was nationally competed with a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business set aside not to exceed a $4.5 million contract ceiling. To date, 10 task orders have been awarded valued in excess of $1.76 million in support of projects that modernize Fort Drum transportation node's accessibility and ease of use as well as projects designed to improve the environmental impact on its residents and neighboring communities.
MICC-Fort Drum and the 925th CBN provide cradle-to-grave contract support for supplies, services and construction in support of the Fort Drum Garrison and its tenant unit.Editor's note: Fred Stone is the chief of engineering and construction services for the Installation Management Command and Maj. Sean Kwoun is the chief for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command contracting office construction division at Fort Drum, New York.
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