USACE and ACEC sign partnership agreement
Last week I participated in a partnership agreement signing ceremony and meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies. The meeting was an exchange of ideas between the government and our industry with a common goal of improving the practice of architecture and engineering while delivering greater value to the nation.
As a member of ACEC’s Federal Agency and Procurement Advocacy committee, I have been meeting regularly with USACE staff for the past five years. My committee sought to gain a better understanding of USACE programs and initiatives as well as address ACEC member concerns regarding procurement actions.
I’m proud to report we resolved a number of issues during these meetings. For example we gained insights on USACE initiatives, including public-private partnerships for civil works. In addition, we provided USACE with feedback on various contracting and technical issues like Early Contractor Involvement procurement, two-step design-build and building information modeling.
Last week’s meeting included representation from both USACE and ACEC leadership.
ACEC sees USACE as an important federal partner. So together, we sought a common understanding of the issues that exist between our organizations, how to streamline policies and how innovation can help improve project delivery.
In particular, we discussed how ACEC firms can better support the USACE mission, contracting challenges and best practices with regard to new technology. We also agreed there were challenges with contracting under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, USACE’s contracting practices. Although strict adherence to qualifications based selection, lump-sum contracts and selection criteria transparency are good things, some interpretation of FAR rules can result in overly complicated and very lengthy acquisitions. However, these are best practices that ACEC would like to see expanded throughout the federal government.
Finally, we discussed several technical design topics such as cybersecurity challenges.
This meeting was the first of a renewed and increased effort of partnering for the betterment of our practice and industry. I look forward to our follow-on meetings and working group sessions to identify and solve issues. The result will be of great value to the government and the taxpayers.
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