Monday, June 22, 2009

GSA Says Poff Rehab Will Have Roanoke Workers, But No A&E Firms

Local architects and engineers have been shut out of the process of renovating Roanoke's Poff Federal Building^

A story in the June edition of Valley Business FRONT, “The misdirection of federal stimulus funds,” on the letting of design contracts for the Poff Federal Building to an out of state firm has elicited a response (through 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte) from Acting Regional Administrator Linda Chero of the General Services Administration.

She explains that initial contracts went to an architectural firm in Pennsylvania because of fast-track construction and that “GAS anticipates that the majority of workers will be from the Roanoke region for the bulk of the $60 million renovation.

Here is a portion of her letter to Goodlatte: “To provide needed stimulus to the nation’s economy, the Poff renovation, like all [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] projects, is on a fast track. To ensure that this project started quickly and is completed in the time required by law, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) expedited project start-up activities by using previously awarded indefinite delivery/’indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for design-related services. An IDIQ contract allows an agency to acquire an indefinite quantity of services during a faxed period of time. An IDIQ contract helps streamline the contract process and speed service delivery. For this project, GSA issued a task order to TranSystems/DPK&A. Since the contract was already in place, design-related work could begin almost immediately.

“GSA will procure the construction contract, which represents the largest portion of the funding later this year and will follow Federal Acquisition Regulation to select the construction contractor. GSA anticipates that the majority of workers will be from the Roanoke region.”

Lora Katz, director of architecture at Clark Nexsen in Roanoke and an outspoken critic of the process, wrote Goodlatte: “The GSA is advertising for a construction manager to start this fall, early in the design process. This means that by the time the design documentation are completed and our region sees anything, it will be well into 2010 (when things should be much improved in the economy).

“It also means that the architecture and engineering professionals in our region will see zero from the entire American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and only the construction industries will be positively affected. From the GSA letter it also implies that this is typical for all of the work associated with the ARRA, another sad statistic.”

--Dan Smith

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