July 18, 2007 - Baltimore, MD
Army To Set Aside $720,000,000 In BRAC Small Business Contracts
Karen Barbour, president, The Barbour Group (TBG) hosted James Jones, Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management, US Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, John O'Brien, Associate Director, Small Business Programs Office, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and Kathy Wajer, Chief Financial Manager, Harford County Office of Economic Development for a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Construction Opportunities breakfast briefing.
The breakfast briefing, held July 12th at The Engineers Club in Baltimore and organized by The Barbour Group, drew subcontractors and suppliers from across Maryland and was devoted to help construction firms identify and prepare for BRAC contracting opportunities.
Participants discussed a broad range of issues, including a review of the dollars allocated to BRAC construction opportunities, how to locate BRAC resources, identifying construction trades which will be impacted first, and identifying potential obstacles to winning BRAC contracts.
While most construction trades will be impacted by BRAC, Jones expects mechanical and electrical trades to be impacted first. “There just aren’t enough local mechanical and electrical firms with the capacity to do the volume of work needed … these folks will be very, very busy,” said Jones.
The local labor market will strongly influence the success of the BRAC program. Right now the mechanical portion of the National GeospatialIntelligence Agency (NGA) project at Ft. Belvoir is worth about $400M which exceeds the total capacity of DC mechanical contractors. “We’re going to see a significant influx of labor from outside the region,” said Jones.
All of the presenters emphasized that developing relationships with prime contractors will be critical. Many new prime contractors have entered the marketplace and desperately need to establish relationships with local contractors. “Right now, these firms don’t have the relationships needed to perform on projects this size.”
Contracts located within military installations may require that contracting personnel obtain a security clearance. “We’re doing everything we can in planning stages to ensure that contracting work takes place outside secured areas,” said Jones. Right now the security clearance approval process is taking 18 to 24 months.
BRAC timelines show the bulk of construction beginning in 2008 and finishing 2011. Most of the planning and design for BRAC construction will be completed in 2007.
“BRAC will create enormous wealth for construction owners across the region,” says Barbour. “The time to prepare is now.”