August 2019 SLED Analysis: Interviews with AEC Contracting Experts

Posted by Paul Irby on September 4, 2019


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Our feature for August includes excerpts of interviews with three procurement experts on trends in the SLED AEC contracting market, drawn from the full interviews contained in our recent report, the State & Local Procurement Snapshot – Q2 2019. We spoke with Mary Scott Nabers, the President/CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.; Tammy Rimes, Executive Director of the National Cooperative Procurement Partners (NCPP); and Tom DiGangi, Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs for Gordian. 

First, we interviewed Mary Scott Nabers of Strategic Partnerships Inc. to gain a deeper understanding of the broader AEC market.

GovWin: The Bureau of Economic Analysis shows a rise in construction spending over the last year, even though we show a slight decrease in bids. Have you been seeing signs of progress?

Mary Scott Nabers: As you know, we track projects throughout the U.S. and in the first 6 months of 2019, we have seen significantly more projects being launched than we expected. Most of the activity is occurring, however, at the local levels of government. Even though general funding has often been reduced and all cities and counties have tight budgets, city, county and educational leaders are moving forward with many new projects. In terms of project size, there is spending growth happening in both larger-scale and smaller projects. Many large infrastructure projects have been announced this year. There are numerous airport expansions and upgrades, all types of roadway projects, port projects to upgrade, widen and deepen ship channels, construction of new school buildings and an abundance of opportunities on college and university campuses. Many cities and counties are also launching large projects related to old courthouses, new sports stadiums and performing arts centers.

Although there has been a rise in the number of unique projects, most are smaller in size and scale (involving fewer actual bids). The smart cities trend is a driver, with most projects smaller in size. Urban revitalization projects are also abundant but they too are on a smaller scale. Many cities are making downtown areas more attractive, friendlier and vibrant. Most urban renewal projects involve the installation of green spaces, park and play areas and upgrading tourist attractions. Some of these projects also add affordable housing and entertainment.

Our second expert was Tammy Rimes of National Cooperative Procurement Partners, whom we talked to about how cooperative purchasing can be used to help governments buy AEC supplies and services efficiently.

GovWin: What kind of growth are you seeing in cooperative purchasing for Architecture, Engineering, & Construction?

Tammy Rimes: Construction supplies and installation services are key areas of new growth. Over the past decade, procurement teams have gotten quite comfortable and knowledgeable about using cooperative contracting for commodities. However, not all purchasing fits neatly in a box. For instance, an organization may need to purchase HVAC units or security cameras, but then also need someone to install them, and possibly some related roofing work done.

With cooperative contracts expanding and offering commodities with installation services, or having construction trades and services available through a cooperative, government agencies are pursuing this avenue more. As an association (National Cooperative Procurement Partners), we have experienced a growth in our supplier membership over the past year for those companies who contract primarily for construction services. They are seeking support in their marketing efforts, as well as desiring more educational opportunities to influence government teams on this topic.

Our third expert was Tom DiGangi from Gordian, who explained the ins and outs of Job Order Contracting and how it can improve outcomes for government agencies and vendors.

GovWin: In a nutshell, what is JOC and how does it differ from a standard, traditional contracting approach?

Tom DiGangi: Unlike traditional construction procurement methods, Job Order Contracting (JOC) allows multiple projects to be completed through a single competitively-awarded contract. This streamlined process helps project owners maximize resources, begin projects faster and develop collaborative partnerships with awarded contractors. While JOC is ideal for renovation and repair work, it isn’t limited to small works and gives opportunities to both large and small contractors. The on-call nature of the JOC process promotes local contractor involvement, as either a prime or subcontractor.

It’s easy to learn more about current procurement opportunities and research in the GovWin IQ SLED database – often before the contracts even go out to bid. Not yet a subscriber? Learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service here

Or, to read the full versions of these interviews with AEC contracting experts, secure your free copy of the State & Local Procurement Snapshot – Q2 2019 report produced by GovWin’s SLED Market Analysis team by simply clicking on the link below.


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State & Local Procurement Snapshot for Q2 2019

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