Today, Krueck+Sexton Architects principle Thomas Jacobs, AIA, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce in an effort to urge Congress to eliminate two impediments facing small architecture firms as they compete for government contracts. Jacobs argues that high design-build fees and lengthy “final teams lists” are prohibiting small firms from competing.
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The average firm spends over $260,000 to prepare a design-build bid. At a time when the construction industry lost 28,000 jobs last month, Jacob believes that small architectural firms should not have to spend such a large sum in order to prepare a bid where there is a slim chance of winning the job. Many small firms simply cannot afford the risk.
Not only is competing for government contracts cost-prohibitive for small firms, but large final list teams are adding to the issue. In the past, there were typically no more than three teams competing for a project. Now, government agencies are requiring as many as eight 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.
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.