Contracting – Common Questions Answered during Webinar
- How is USACE approaching the Stafford Act provisions to utilize local businesses at time of emergency?
A Contracting Officer with boots on the ground will review each mission assignment very carefully and then preference under the Stafford Act is given to the extent feasible and practicable to those organizations, firms and individuals residing or doing business primarily in the area affected by the major disaster or emergency. In the case of COVID-19, the area affected by the emergency is nationwide. Therefore, one other item that is really one of the top considerations, besides the Contractor’s capabilities, is the ability of that Contractor to respond immediately to the situation. In most cases, we cannot wait for a Contractor to mobilize. So, capability and responsiveness are at the top of our list.
- What is the process of determining which agencies (e.g., State, City, Federal agencies (GAS, FEMA, DHS, USACE) work which procurements (e.g. Supply/Services/Construction)? We are noticing that every state is doing things differently to meet COVID19 requirements.
Each state is going to vary on its own unique COVID-19 mission.We receive a mission assignment from FEMA.Generally, the state is going to decide along with FEMA which actions it is going to execute prior to requesting support from USACE.In many of these cases, USACE is actively engaged in these discussions, but in some, we are not involved.In the end, we recommend that each of you reach out to the states as well as they are executing many of these actions on their own.
- I am a firm with the capabilities to support the Alternate Care Facility mission with enclosures, modules, containerized medical spaces, etc. I sent a message to the COVIDContracting@usace.army.mil email inbox. Why haven’t I been contacted yet?
We greatly appreciate the willingness of our industry partners to contact us providing information and capability statements related to our mission.As of April 7, we received 4,200 messages from industry.We are going through each message with a team of 46 contracting professionals and contacting those individuals and firms, responding where we need additional information such as phone number, CAGE code, company number, etc.Each day we are finding better ways to receive and assimilate the industry market research.We upgraded our site to a form rather than just an email: .We are also working with Futures Command and compiling all our data to provide bigger audience to disseminate this information out to.
- How do I find out about the contract that USACE has awarded for Alternate Care Facilities?
Each day, all the information on our awards for the Alternate Healthcare Facilities is posted on the USACE public website. If you click on the COVID Contracting, the information is on the main page. Here is the direct link: https://www.usace.army.mil/business-with-us/Contracting.
Webinar Facilitate Questions and Answers
- Industry is planning teaming arrangements to execute recently prepared Alternate Care Site standards. We are curious what contract types are anticipated and currently being used?
The specific facts of the mission assignment is going to drive the acquisition approach. The Districts or Centers will determine which approach is best, but there will be a combination of execution against existing tools as well as issuance of letter contracts as appropriate for the circumstances on the ground. Again, it is going to be determined on what the requirement is.
- Who is doing the design work – and who is the DOR? The USACE ACS web site indicates that the “General Scope of Work” concept layouts and performance specifications are to be used by States or municipalities to prepare a list of “Design Deliverables.” Now that USACE is directly contracting for this work, how are design decisions being addressed?
The designs that were discussed in this briefing, they’re conceptual designs developed to try to get out ahead of things and provide help even before we got mission assignments. The Medical Center of Expertise down in Huntsville did a lot of these designs. They are conceptual in nature and the states and municipalities are by no means forced to use these at all. These were what we thought would be a good idea and a lot of people have latched on to them. Our Districts are taking these conceptual designs, plans, and specs and mold them to what is needed for their particular site location, or medical experience that they are trying to fulfill. So, every single contract that’s awarded is probably a little bit different from what the concept design is. This is just a base/guideline that Districts where the Corps of Engineers is doing the work, the Contractor awarded the job as the designer of record will adapt with the Corps of Engineers doing the review. Where the states are using our designs or developing their own designs, then that falls into their area and then they will take full responsibility as those things move out.
With this decentralized execution, which is really the only way we could do this in a timely fashion, it’s going to depend on the language in the local contracts the districts do. There will certainly be language tasking a constructor and possibly an AE partner with some designer of record responsibility, particularly for the fire protection systems and life safety, etc. There will have to be continued three-way communications with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction, and all parties will have some level of responsibility. Due to the temporary nature of the facilities and timeliness required, the AHJs out there are having to accept risks that they normally would not. However, there’s still some responsibility for our constructors and our AEs as well in the designer of record capacity. It will just vary locally.
- DB, Construction, Service? – Industry firms are unclear on USACE’s process for soliciting, evaluating and selecting awardees. How are the awardees of these facilities selected and how are their capabilities considered in this process?
As stated earlier, each District and Center is going to determine which acquisition approach is best given the uniqueness of requirement.
We are using a variety of approaches. For most of the requirements for the areas east of the Mississippi River, we are doing through Design-Build limited source competition. A phase I solicitation is issued to limited sources based upon market research followed by a downselect to a phase II pool and mark awards for individual projects from that pool. We also have other tools within USACE that can be used. There’s an RDI program out of Omaha and we also have our contracts out of Huntsville that Medical Renewal and Repair that have available capacity as well. With these projects, we are looking at which approach is going to best meet our needs. And with our Design-Build tools that we are using, we are certainly doing what we can to try to consider local businesses to the maximum extent possible.
It is important to remember that we are working in an urgent and compelling or unusual environment. Normally, when we are not in an urgent environment, the Corps of Engineers will take 15 days to announce a requirement and 30 days to receive a solicitation. We’ll go into an evaluation process where boards will hold multiple rounds of discussions, and months later we’ll emerge with a contract award. The environment that we have here with COVID-19 being a life safety environment, the Districts and the Centers on the ground are working under unusual and compelling urgency which means they are going through that process in a matter of days. It’s not even a week in terms of selecting a Contractor and moving forward. From the point of a mission assignment and a tasking order for FEMA, our job is to make sure we are selecting the best contractor available that can respond in a robust manner and get them onsite as quickly as we can.
That’s why it is so important for you to provide your information from a market research perspective on this website and to the local offices doing sources sought right now. We are in various stages all throughout the country right now. Some are in execution mode, executing actions that have already been assigned. Some offices are waiting on mission assignments from FEMA and tasking orders. That’s why you see the differences in some executing actual contracts and others executing sources sought and doing more market research. And so, please provide us your documentation on the website because this is an urgent environment.
- Changes/modifications to the General Scope of Work (Standard Designs) – We understand that site adaptations are a necessary part of this contingent operation. As changes to the configurations for the Arena to healthcare and other alternate care facility concepts are made (such as isolation, pod configuration, HVAC, med gas, and power) , how have these changes been documented and incorporated for future procurements?
Yes, we have been incorporating feedback from the field into these concepts , sketches and performance work statements, equipment list, etc. The core team has been established for a couple of weeks now. They came up with the concepts, and we’ve established points of contact for each of our major subordinate commands who are feeding all their lessons learned back through us. We’ve also set up a lessons learned site on the Corps of Engineers Knowledge Management portal where all of the Districts and Divisions are sharing information. We also have more formal mechanism to take RFIs from the Districts. USACE is doing our best to archive all of the information and apply it as we continue moving forward. Version control is a challenge, but we are taking feedback and pushing out new updates to the website where appropriate.
- Have there been, or do you anticipate, doing any Hotels to healthcare projects?
Thus far, for an actual hotel, the Corps of Engineers has just awarded one to an actual hotel and that was in St. Louis. But, out of the 20 or 21 that we have awarded, 7 have actually used that concept. The concept can be used for an old hospital that has been shut down or a dorm or similar facility. However, there has only been one actual live hotel that was shut down for coronavirus impacts that USACE has actually done.
As we started early on in this process and were just starting to develop the hotel to healthcare option, we had a couple that health and human services and public health had put in place out in California giving us some real facilities on the ground already operating that had gone through the process. We used those two examples to help frame our original concept and think through how we would do that. These helped us sort of jump start from getting that concept in place rather than just starting from a white sheet of paper and no idea. As stated before, we are starting to see that record be applied to one hotel in St. Louis, but we have seen them take versions of that concept and apply it to some dormitories, existing hospital spaces and other spaces other than arenas.
- We have not seen any awards for CM services. Will you be soliciting these services?
These are rapid contracts anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks from award to fully constructed. Right now, for USACE contracts, we are using our in-house personnel like we would for our regular projects. Whether its ACOs or construction managers we’ve got out in the field working with these, we are doing the oversight on that. I cannot speak as to how the states are actually completing their oversight, but it is probable they will complete how they normally do their construction projects. It is likely that if they don’t have the in-house manpower, they probably contract that out. As stated above, USACE, with our contracts is using in-house manpower.
- Is USACE requiring traditional Cost Accounting Standards when cost contracts are used?
Yes, CAS requirements are still in effect right now. We do understand that there are a lot of firms that do not have an approved cost accounting system, so we have asked for a class deviation for all COVID-19 awards. We think that will be a big help for the small business and construction contractors who normally don’t do cost type contracts.
USACE COVID-19 Industry Teleconference- Q&A
On April 9th, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) held a teleconference with industry partners on the construction of Alternate Care Sites for the COVID-19 Pandemic Response. This document provides responses to some of the questions received.
- Q: Can you provide a list of assessed sites that will likely be utilized, but that do not have contracts?
A: After assessments are accomplished, State and local government entities are determining whether to proceed with the project themselves or execute the work through USACE. The situation is developing too rapidly to provide a list of sites for which USACE or other entities will be contracting for.
- Q: USACE requested we provide capabilities to them, but if the contracts are at state and local levels, how are contractors to make their capabilities known to the appropriate personnel?
A: For state run projects, please use the following link from the USACE Contracting page for state contact information: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-management-agencies
Additionally, vendors with the ability to perform or supply items 1, 2 and 3 below are requested to send capabilities statements to our dedicated COVID-19 Contracting site: https://www.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/COVID-Contracting-Form/
1. "Build-out" or retrofit of existing space (arenas, convention centers, dormitories, hotels, or other facilities) into alternate care facilities
2. Field Medical Units
3. Temporary Medical Enclosures
Please Note: Vendors of other supplies and services are welcome to submit capability or interest statements regarding support of the USACE COVID-19 Response. All interested parties are requested to register at the SAM.gov website under the "Disaster Registry" tab. See https://www.acquisition.gov/disaster-response-registry for instructions. Potential contractors may enter their Capabilities Statement on USACE web site.
- Q: Is there a way for you to provide the California sites that you are working on or know about?
A: A listing of current contracting efforts can be found here: https://www.usace.army.mil/Coronavirus/USACE-COVID-19-Response-Efforts/
After assessments are accomplished, state and local government entities are determining whether to proceed with the project themselves or execute the work through USACE. The situation is developing too rapidly to provide a list of sites for which USACE or other entities will be contracting for.
- Q: Does the $1.7B include the $10B in USACE contract awards mentioned today publicly? "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued contract modifications worth $10B combined to two joint ventures and eight independent firms contractors to design, construct and temporarily repurpose public facilities for health care work."
A: The $1.7B noted in our public affairs documents represents the aggregate value of FEMA Mission Assignments.” Notices posted to beta.SAM represent contract actions which in some cases are increases of capacity on existing contract vehicles rather than obligated funds. A listing of current contracting efforts can be found here: https://www.usace.army.mil/Coronavirus/USACE-COVID-19-Response-Efforts/
- Q: How can contactors get visibility into what alternate care facilities will be coming up for contracting?
A: After assessments are accomplished, state and local government entities are determining whether to proceed with the project themselves or execute the work through USACE. The situation is developing too rapidly to provide a list of sites for which USACE or other entities will be contracting for.
- Q: Who is generating mission assignments for med facility construction?
A: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is generating all mission assignments for medical facility construction.
- Q: Is the Army staffing the Javits Center?
A: The staffing of Javits is coming from various sources. USACE isn’t involved with supplying, equipping, or staffing sites for operations.
- Q: Are registered fire protection engineers required and/or involved in the design/build phase?
A: These projects are typically being executed as Design-Build, where the general contractor is working with a design team, to include Fire Protection Engineers, as the project requires.
- Q: Why is pipe and drape being hung as the dividing barrier between COVID-19 patients in convention centers? Infection Control efficacy and stand procedures are not being followed.
A: The original intent for some facilities was for non-COVID, non-acute patients; hence no need for infectious control or negative pressure. Since inception, some facilities have transitioned portions of their space to handle COVID, non-acute patients and modifications to facilities are either complete or ongoing.
- Q: Can you please describe the "emergency contracting authorities" being used for these projects?
A: The Contracting teams at each District are able to contract using emergency contracting authorities noted in Federal Acquisition Regulations Part 18 provided for under the Stafford Act and the Declaration of a National Emergency.
- Q: Is the Corps looking to use existing (district) IDIQs to execute the local work or will it be separate/new contracts?
A: Districts are using emergency contracting authorities using large or small businesses in the region which are capable to quickly execute the work. In some cases, other prepositioned contracts may be used.
- Q: Can you please elaborate on containerized solution? Does USACE have a COVID container?
A: Information on the containerized option for arena to healthcare can be found under Step 5 at: https://www.usace.army.mil/Coronavirus/Alternate-Care-Sites/
- Q: How can local manufacturer representatives who are already registered help in the build process? For example - with construction solutions that can increase speed or efficiency of the build?
A: Contractors can provide their capability statements here: https://www.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Contracting/
- Q: Where can we get code applicability decisions by location? Is USACE helping to sort that out with State and local authorities, or is each builder to navigate that on its own?
A: USACE is not consolidating local code interpretations. Contractors are encouraged to contact local building officials for Authority Having Jurisdiction coordination.
- Q: How is USACE achieving negative pressure HVAC in arenas and/or hotel retrofits?
A: The solution is dependent upon site specifics and which ACF concept is being applied. The application of negative pressure could be across entire floors or individual rooms / suites as determined by local medical providers. The differential pressure is monitored and verified by mechanical and/or digital devices.
- Q: Who is contracting for utilities including primary and backup power?
A: Primary and backup power are typically being provided under the contract for the alternate healthcare sites.
- Q: Is verifying or review of emergency power system periodic maintenance log a consideration for possible ACF sites?
A: Assessment teams are considering existing emergency power systems of potential ACF sites.
- Q: Is this process just for contractors or can A/E Design firms offer their ability to support contractors?
A: All firms are welcome to submit capability statements to aid the alternate care facility effort.
- Q: Will contractors have access to N-95 Masks from USACE?
A: Contractors will be responsible for the safety of their own workforce on each project.
- Q: Will USACE require pre-construction submittals (APP, QCP, EPP) prior to emergency construction?
A: This is dependent on the terms of the contract for each particular project.
- Q: Who would be the appropriate contact to provide information regarding products for Temporary and Permanent Power for the ACS?
A: Please feel free to provide your capability statement here: https://www.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Contracting/
- Q: Can Medical equipment be sold directly to USACE for H2HC related projects such as over bed tables and surface mounted medical lighting? This will speed up the delivery process.
A: USACE is not providing medical equipment for alternate care facilities/sites.
- Q: Is USACE seeking any professional services to support market analysis, real estate acquisitions, economic analysis, or COA development?
A: Typically, these services are being accomplished in-house and USACE is not seeking external support.
- Q: The presentation says HHS & DLA are handling medical equipment supply, the verbal said HHS & FEMA. Who is procuring medical equipment?
A: Contracts for supply, equipment, wraparound services and staffing could be administered by the State or municipality. In some cases, HHS may be able to provide Federal support. For additional information, please see https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/technical-resources/111/covid-19-alternate-care-site-resources/
- Q: Can you provide state contact information (names, numbers, emails) for design services?
A: State contact information can be found here: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-management-agencies
- Q: If we already submitted a capability statement via email to COVIDContracting@usace.army.mil, should we also complete the COVID19 Contractor Support Information at https://www.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/COVID-Contracting-Form/ ?
A: No. Your capability statement has been uploaded to the database from your email submission.
- Q: Do you anticipate another significant wave of facility assessments or have enough viable facilities been identified?
A: The average number of daily assessments executed by USACE has declined, but we are continuing to respond to requests from states to provide support.
- Q: Are the contractors supporting this effort required to purchase permits from local municipality and state jurisdictions to support modifying these facilities?
A: Permit requirements may vary depending on the state the work is to be performed and local municipality.
- Q: How will local civil engineers be selected for site engineering work and which state agency should we contact like state Department of General Services?
A: USACE will be generally selecting the general contractors on projects which are typically being executed as Design-Build. The general contractors will select their design team, to include Civil Engineers, as the project requires.
- Q: Will USACE be contracting for any wraparound services or is that up to the states or municipalities?
A: Wraparound services will not be contracted through USACE.
- Q: Will RMS be used, or is there another reporting system?
A: The reporting system will be project dependent.
- Q: Given the urgency and related design-build approach, are specific accelerated environmental compliance measures in place for assessing or avoiding potential impacts?
A: The Federal Government will fully comply with environmental regulations. These regulations define processes that are applicable for the current situation.
- Q: For this work are there any goals for small businesses to be engaged
A: USACE will support the engagement of small businesses and encourages subcontracting opportunities during the contracting process when possible.
- Q: Is waste generated at the facilities handled by USACE?
A: USACE is not handling medical waste. When we conduct site assessments, we do consider the proximity to necessary support facilities.
- Q: I know of a local clinic building that is for sale. Where should the seller be directed to determine if this property could be of use?
A: Please use the following link for state contact information: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-management-agencies
Note that HHS has set up the following sites for hotels to register their properties if they wish to be considered during this event: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdMFbxLD4rsltGfZzBJc0BJ9YyWTIwx0v_XNy9ie3yKtiI8kg/viewform
- Q: What has been planned for post event demobilization of these sites?
A: Mission assignments provided through FEMA are through turnover of the alternate care facility. USACE is not currently involved is decommissioning/demobilization of these sites.
- Q: How will the government assist contractors in obtaining materials (IE spot coolers, generators, tile, etc)?
A: This is dependent on the terms of the contract for each particular project.