Charlottesville, VA - Linc Moss, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. in Mansfield, TX, will testify Sept. 23, 2010 at the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on “VHA Contracting and Procurement Practices.” He is testifying on behalf of the Modular Building Institute (MBI) – the international non-profit trade association for the commercial modular construction industry.
The purpose of the hearing is to identify potential weaknesses in the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) contracting and procurement practices, and to explore viable solutions to these problems. In other words, the goal of the hearing is to provide proper oversight and ensure that VHA’s contracting and procurement practices are fair, fiscally responsible, and effective.
Throughout the construction industry there is a growing concern with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as to their solicitation of construction projects that call for a delivery system referred to as “Design-Bid-Build.” This traditional project delivery method is often more costly and less efficient than other delivery methods and its restrictive nature prohibits alternate forms of construction, such as permanent modular construction, from being able to participate in the bidding process.
Within the last few months there have been two separate RFPs issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs which Ramtech and other modular construction companies were capable of performing. However, because the RFP was issued using a project delivery system that excludes alternative forms of construction, such as modular, these companies were unable to participate.
“MBI is excited to participate in this hearing and assist in being part of the solution when it comes to finding ways to provide quality structures for our nation’s returning warriors,” said Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute. “Modular construction is one part of a greater solution and MBI is looking forward to that discussion.”
Over the past decade, the use of the Design-Build delivery system has greatly increased in the United States, making it one of the significant changes in the construction market. The Design-Build method, which has been embraced by several government agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, streamlines project delivery through a single contract between the government agency and the contractor. This simple but fundamental difference not only saves money and time, improves communication between stakeholders, and delivers a project more consistent with the government agency’s needs, it also allows for all sectors of the construction industry to participate.
As our nation prepares for an influx of returning veterans, it is imperative that we are able to provide them with the services that will help them assimilate into civilian life. Medical clinics, dental facilities, physical rehabilitation facilities, mental health treatment facilities as well as interim veteran housing will need to be provided in an efficient and cost effective manner. By adopting the Design-Build approach, VA could provide these facilities in a compressed timeframe while ensuring that the product delivered is top quality.
The construction industry has seen great advances over the past ten years, and one of those is the Design-Build delivery system. More and more contractors are beginning to utilize Design-Build because of the advantages that are offered. However, until agencies such as the VA decide to solicit more projects using a Design-Build method, these companies will be unable to participate. The members of MBI ask that the VA Committee look into the issues discussed in the hearings in the hopes of improving the way the VA procures construction projects. The recommendations would ensure that the Federal Government gets the ‘best value’ and also maximizes opportunities among the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business firms and alternative construction methods.
Founded in 1983, the Modular Building Institute is the only, international, non-profit trade association serving non-residential modular construction. Regular membership includes wholesale manufacturers, direct manufacturers, and dealers of commercial modular buildings, while associate members are companies supplying building components, services, and financing to the industry. It is MBI's mission to grow the industry and its capabilities by encouraging innovation, quality, and professionalism through communication, education, and recognition. MBI also administers an educational foundation. For more information, visit www.modular.org