Q: I am not familiar with procuring construction services through cooperative purchasing networks. How does that work?
A: Government facility managers use cooperative purchasing networks to procure commodities such as toner, pens, paper, printer cartridges, staplers, paper clips, and so on. Using cooperative purchasing for goods is not unusual. So why is it unusual for government agencies to use this process for construction purposes? Two glaring reasons come to my mind:
1. Construction is extremely visible. What I mean is the public is typically very aware of a new building going up in the community, or renovations being done because of the amount of contractors on site. However, when you need more pens, you either pick them up or have them delivered, but it’s not by 10 pieces of equipment;
2. The cost of construction services is significantly more than the other items I mentioned earlier.
Q: How can this process benefit me and my department?
A: This is one of the most common questions we hear among government facility managers. ezIQC is a process that has been around for several years, but has yet to become the most popular method of procuring construction services. Why is that? Many states have endorsed it for use, and it meets all requirements of a competitive bidding process.
Government officials have tough jobs and they are very good at them, but they are very scrutinized by the very nature of the role they are in. They may all like new innovative ideas that could make their job easier, but actually implementing these ideas can sometimes take an act of Congress (no pun intended). How can ezIQC make that better? I think by understanding the contract itself, how it meets the requirements with regard to the bid process, the cost structure, but more importantly it is the ability to communicate the use of ezIQC to the ones making the decisions. If they feel comfortable that they can explain their reasoning for using it, they will embrace it.
The contract is a JOC; a blanket contract if you will. Just like all other JOCs, it is in place and it can be utilized very quickly without having to put much effort into it. You simply pick up the phone and make a call. The reason for that is – it has already been competitively bid on the front end. No more cost or time issues due to the bid process.
Q: How does the unit pricing benefit me?
A: These are very competitive prices when compared to the marketplace and are made up of overhead (which typically includes Project Managers and Superintendents) and profit so you know exactly what you are spending. Because of having unit prices already in place you reduce the amount of change orders, significantly, as well as the unknown cost that usually accompanies a change order.
Q: What is the benefit of using an ezIQC contractor for my repair work?
A: Another very important thing to understand and pass along is the value associated with having a solid relationship with a general contractor you can trust, who is familiar with the facilities, understands the owner, the processes that need to be followed and the general specifications preferred or required. This is extremely important with regards to efficiency. The bidding process, like it or not, does not always provide this type of cohesive partnership which can create delays in start times due to the vetting process and the familiarization phase that each new contractor has to go through. That is not conducive to high efficiency! With the ezIQC contract you develop that partnership one time and you know that the vetting process has been extremely thorough having been done ahead of time.
Q: What types of projects are a good fit for this process?
A: I would encourage it to be used as much as possible to help with year-end budgets, time constraints, workload management plans and, most of all, to establish a partnership with the general contractor based on trust that allows you to focus on other important matters. This contract is there to help make you successful and so are we! It’s what we do!!!