Developing a Federal Acquisition Team: Reverse Engineering a Standard Forestry Project to Determine Team Requirements
The selected project is controlled by the Forestry Department, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, placing the project under the auspices of Chapter 4 for the Federal Acquisition Regulations, which themselves make up Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR, 2012). Relevant paragraphs include a provision that all Head of Contracting Activities (HCAs) comply with FAR 7.103, detailed further below (e-CFR, 2012, Title 48, Chapter 4, Part 407, par. 407.103). In addition, paragraph 407.503 of the same chapter provides provisions for the determination of whether or not a proposed contracting function is "inherently governmental" according to FAR 7.503(e), and also sets out rules for settling disputes when there is not agreement on this issue (e-CFR, 2012). It is not expected that this will be of issue in this case, however, and thus the regulations specific to the Department of Agriculture are not of great importance in building the acquisition team for this project.
Turning to the general FAR provisions, contacting the USAID Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization will not be necessary given the expected project cost of $100,000 or less (e-CFR, 2012, par. 705.207(b)). Thus it is the general acquisition rules of Part 701, and specifically part 701.6, that will define the rules for developing and guiding the acquisition team for this project (e-CFR, 2012). There is very broad authority given to the head of contracting activities, so as long as the processes of acquisition contracting remain within the rule, team formation is essentially unregulated (e-CFR, 2012, par. 701.601(b)). According to this paragraph, the head of each contracting activity has the authority, "to execute contracts and the establishment of procurement policies, procedures, and standards appropriate for their programs and activities, subject to government-wide and USAID requirements and restrictions" (e-CFR, 2012, par. 701.601(b)). The contracting officer themselves is also required to be a U.S. Citizen that was directly hired by the federal government, however no such provisions exist for other members of the acquisition team and indeed it would be permissible to assemble a team of advisers not actually employed by the Forestry Department if this were deemed desirable, though for efficiency and expertise purposes this is unlikely (e-CFR, 2012, par. 701.603-70).
Summary of Project
Opportunity Title/Project Location
The official title for this project is PAYCO NFSR #2210, Solicitation Number AG-04T0-S-12-0006. The project location is R-6 Western Oregon ZAP, Siuslaw National Forest; the specific project site is in the Yamhill County portion of the Siuslaw National Forest area, in the smaller and separate northern portion of the national forest near State Highway 22 (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012; PAYCO NSFR #2210 Recons. Drawings, 2012).
As a project taking place within National Forest boundaries, this contract and the attendant acquisition process is being offered through the Forestry Department, which itself is part of the larger Department of Agriculture. Specifically, it is the Siuslaw National Forest, part of the Pacific Northwest Region, Hebo Ranger District of the Forest Department that is offering this project and acquiring contract bids (PAYCO NSFR #2210 Recons. Drawings, 2012).
The contracting office for PAYCO NSFR #2210 is the office of the Siuslaw National Forest, of the Forest Department, Department of Agriculture (Request for Quotation, 2012).
The office location is:
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis OR 97331
Due to an apparent serve issue with the Federal business Opportunity website (top domain level URL www.fbo.gov), the specific URL for this project is unavailable at the current time.
Project Nature and Specifications
The nature of the project is very straightforward, consisting of the replacement of sections of large drainage culverts associated with land and road maintenance at the given project site (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012; PAYCO NSFR #2210 Recons. Drawings, 2012). No permanent on-site construction is involved, which limits the materials and the equipment needs of the project, however there will of course be heavy equipment necessary for carrying out the necessary work and semi-permanent reshaping and adjustment of the area will be required in order to successfully complete the project. As such, the general nature of the project could be deemed to be one of basic ecological maintenance, specifically drainage and erosion control, in conjunction with basic road clearance and maintenance (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012; PAYCO NSFR #2210 Recons. Drawings, 2012). A variety of knowledge areas and experience as well as equipment or equipment procurement capabilities will be necessary for the successful bidder and company awarded the contractor, however as the nature of this project is rather basic and straightforward it is expected that many companies of various sizes would be able to successfully complete the project.
The specific elements of the project include the removal and replacement of culvert drainage pipes and attendant soil working, reshaping, and control. Sixty-inch sections of culvert drainage pipes will need to be structurally excavated form the project site, removed, and disposed of as the first element of the proposed project (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012). New culvert sections will have to be installed to replace those that are being removed, and of course longevity of these new culverts will be a major consideration in the project and in the eventual reward of a contract following the bidding process; rip rap placement will also be required as part of the installation process, as will pipe dewatering for the new culverts installed and the connecting pipes associated with the sections being directly addressed in this project (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012). These elements require the most explicitly constructive elements of the project and will be the most difficult to maintain or adjust, and thus are the primary project components for consideration in awarding a contract.
Other project elements that will support the culvert replacement and improve land and road maintenance are also a part of the total contract to be awarded under PAYCO NSFR #2210. Soil erosion and pollution control are also concerns for the project area and for the work to be done on the project site, with the National Forest status of the project creating special considerations in these areas and adding to the expertise and experience levels that will be required when selecting a project bidder and awarding the contract (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012). The project description also explicitly requires, in standard form, that all materials, equipment, and mobilization required to complete the other work listed as the specifics of this project, ensuring that all potential contract bidders are aware of the full scope and responsibility involved in carrying out the culvert replacement and the soil erosion/pollution control that form the focus of the project (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012).
There are several areas of expertise that will be required for the successful completion of this project, and that should be incorporated into the acquisition team in order to ensure that a reputable and fully competent contractor is selected to carry out completion of the project. The culvert replacement will be the most equipment- and labor-intensive portion of the project, and will definitely require a certain level of expertise in terms of budgeting and overall project management, however this is not the only area or even the primary area in which direct expertise will be required. The incidental details are actually still more important.
Expertise in terms of soil erosion and pollution control will be essential for this project, not only in the reshaping and control of the land surrounding the culvert replacement portion of the project but also in the actual removal and replacement of the culvert sections themselves. This work will create massive movements of soil In a very wet and rainy area; the dry season was purposefully selected for this project, but there will undoubtedly be large amounts of moisture in the soil and this will complicate the project considerably in terms of simple completion and in terms of controlling its environmental effects. soil management techniques, run-off prevention in order to control pollution, and long-term irrigation and road maintenance processes are all areas of expertise that will be essential to the successful completion of this project (PAYCO NSFR #2210, 2012). Ensuring that team members included in the planning and acquisition phases of the project are equipped with adequate knowledge in these expertise areas so that the proper evaluation and selection of contractors bidding for the project can take place will be instrumental in project success.
Justification of Team Members
The head of the construction activity for this project need only have basic project management expertise and the proper ability to delegate, evaluate, and openly receive input from the other members of the acquisition team. If the person in charge of the project also has expertise in one or more of the other project areas this could potentially increase the group efficiency and even possibly reduce the number of team members necessary for successful planning and acquisition phases. One team member should be selected as the budget controller, determining real cost estimates…