Thursday, May 4, 2017

Estimating Training & Graphic Design Assistance



The Construction Management and Technology (CMAT) Program at Iowa State University has developed two opportunities for Iowa DOT DBE Contractors. On Friday May 19th there will be a training day on construction estimating to be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Institute for Transportation in Ames, IA. I would encourage all DBE Contractors to attend. Click here for more information and to register.

Also CMAT has developed a program to assist DBE firms create a logo and associated graphics for their company. Design students from Iowa State University would be teamed up with DBE companies to design a logo for their company. A logo will help identify a company to the rest of the industry and public whether it is on letterhead, quotes, pickup trucks or emails. This service is free to Iowa DBE firms.

This is just one of the programs to be offered by CMAT to assist Iowa DOT DBE contractors. Program director is:

Jennifer S. Shane, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Iowa State University
515-294-1703
jsshane@iastate.edu
http://www.intrans.iastate.edu/cmat/DBE-support-services/

Friday, March 24, 2017

Subcontract Termination for Convenience

I have had several DBE subcontractors tell me that they have had their subcontracts terminated by a prime contractor after the work performed on their subcontract exceed the DBE commitment on the project.  These DBEs had done good work but the prime contractors took the work away from them because their crews "needed the work."  No notification to the DBEs.  This is a termination for convenience.

If a subcontractor fails to show, does shoddy work, doesn't pay for material then the prime contractor has a right to terminate a subcontract for "cause" and finish the subcontractor's work.  Prime contractors like to have a little cushion over the amount of the DBE commitment because the Iowa DOT requires the prime to subcontract at least that amount, but a subcontract is a subcontract.

I don't know the solution to the problem.  Primes and DBEs need to develop long-term trusting relationships.  I think many have. Some prime contractors are better to work for than others.  The good ones need to be rewarded and the poor ones penalized.

I-74 Bridge in Scott County

The I-74 bridge project spanning the Mississippi River will bid with a special letting on April 25th.  This is biggest project ever let by the Iowa DOT.  I have heard $500 million.  $750 million?  Higher?  There is a 5% DBE goal on the proposals.  Looking through the project I have following comments:

  • DBE contractors who are not certified in Iowa have until 10 days before the bid to get certified in Iowa.  Don't be surprised if you see some names you don't recognize.
  • Expect to see a lot of requests for quotes from the prime contractors.  They are trying to establish their good faith effort.  If you are not interested in bidding respond to the primes and let them know.  If you are interested contact the primes and work with them on how to incorporate your company into their bid.
  • Stainless steel reinforcing is being used.  Millions of pounds of it.  Stainless steel has special requirements.  Stainless steel reinforcement needs to be kept away from carbon steel,  covered with tarps outside, separated from the ground of floor by wooden supports.  
  • There are incentive/disincentive pay dollar amounts per calendar day.  I would include a statement in your quote that limits your overtime exposure. For example this bid does not include working over 10 hours a day or 60 hours per week.

Monday, February 6, 2017

DBE Essentials Workshop

It's never too late to sign-up for the 2017 DBE Essentials Workshop to be held February 8th & 9th at the Iowa Department of Transportation offices in Ames, Iowa. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Using Bid Express

I think more DBEs should be adding their names to the voluntary plan holders list in Bid Express.  Six DBE companies have listed themselves for the December 20th letting.  Go to Bid Express and log in. Open up a proposal and click on the Plan Holders / Eligible Bidders link on the right side.  Click the Add button to add your company to the Voluntary Plan Holders list.  This is no substitute from sending out your sub quotes to the eligible bidders but it is a great way to let the primes know to expect a bid from you.




Bid Express also has a new service called Bid Express Maps - https://maps.bidx.com/ .  The proposals that are out for bid are displayed on a map.  Not all next door states are included but Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri are listed.