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City Streamlines Bidding Process for Small Construction Projects


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September 14, 2018 -- In an effort to expedite smaller construction projects, the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday voted to form a pool of prequalified contractors to provide services on an as-needed basis.

The new system replaces the current bidding process for contracts of more than $175,000 that must be competitively bid and presented to the Council for approval.

Due to legal requirements, the process can take between 20 and 27 weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of the project, according to City staff staff.

"In addition to extending the project completion timeline, the lengthy process burdens staffing resources with paperwork and process without directly contributing to the goals of quality and economy," staff wrote.

Under the new system, the City would issue a request for qualifications and choose the top eight bidders to include on a list of prequalified contractors approved by the City Council.

For each project of up to $1 million, three contractors would be solicited and task orders awarded to the top bidder by the Public Works director or designee.

The total amount issued under each Master Services agreement (MSA) cannot exceed $5 million.

All projects using MSAs would be reviewed to ensure they undergo appropriate environmental review and are funded by the City's biennial budgets, staff said.

The City also would check to ensure that contractors "adhere to all prevailing wage requirements," staff said.

The completed task orders would then be deducted from the contractor's $5 million MSA cap.

"Staff believes using MSAs would improve project delivery and benefit the City by shortening project timelines by an estimated 20-27 weeks, decreasing the risk of potential escalation costs," staff wrote.

The new system also would reduce the amount of time staff spends on a project and facilitate "a more accurate overall project schedule," staff said.

Similar forms of as-needed contracting ordinances have been adopted in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Anaheim, according to staff.


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