Architects testify against obstacles in government contracting

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The American Institute of Architects testified before Congress to eliminate two impediments facing small architect firms as they compete for government contracts.  Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, Thomas Jacobs, AIA, principal of Krueck+Sexton Architects, based in Chicago, said Congress should work to reduce:

1. Design-Build fees. The average firm spends over $260,000 to prepare a design-build bid.  This cost is becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive for small firms. At a time when the construction industry lost 28,000 jobs last month, small architectural firms should not have to spend an average of $260,000 just to prepare a bid where there is a slim chance to win the job and,

2. Large final list teams. In the past, there were typically no more than three teams competing for a project. Now, government agencies are requiring as many as 8 teams on a final list. As a result, the odds of small firms winning projects are becoming slim, as larger firms can absorb the cost of bidding while smaller firms must “bet it all” on a contract.

Meanwhile, expanding the federal government’s use of Design Excellence programs would enable more small businesses to compete for government business and ensure that the government buys design services with both cost and quality as equal criteria, Jacobs said.

“At a time when the federal government is facing unprecedented deficits, we need to ensure that every dollar spent on federal facilities is spent wisely,” said Jacobs. “Ensuring the most qualified designers are selected at the outset of the project reaps financial benefits for years to come.”

“The design excellence program streamlines the architect/engineering selection process while stressing creativity in designing the buildings,” said Jacobs.   Read More.

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