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Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 02:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm a specifier for a large public agency in Florida. We have about 110 Div-0 & 1 documents (including forms). The quantity of our documents tends to drive bidders off, particularly on small projects. So to lessen the intimidation factor, we've decided to only give bidders hard copies of our so called "most important" Div-0 & 1 documents and a web-address where they can find the rest. Are we: A)Legal B)Smart C)Stupid? I welcome opinions?
Ronald J. Ray, RA, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: rjray

Post Number: 32
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 04:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I would say you would be leaving the impression that you are trying to be deceptive.

You might want to consider specifically editing your Division 0 and 1 documents for each project. There is no reason to publish standard forms in a Project Manual. Referencing them and noting where they are available for viewing seems more then adequate. I would question if standard forms need to be part of Contract Documents.
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 03:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

You may need to explain how this helps.

In my 20 years in the industry, it has been my experience that public agencies produce poor Series 0 and Division 01 specification sections. Most of them are badly written and rife with inconsistencies, undefined terms, and contradictions. The best advice I can give any public agency is to fix these things, enlisting the services of an experienced CCS.

Anne Whitacre, CCS CSI
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 179
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 07:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

or on the other hand, you might consider having two versions of your Division 0 and 1 documents -- for large projects, and small projects. You can define "small" either by square footage or dollar volume. For examples, Masterspec has "Short Form" and "Long Form" documents for all sections. And yes, I've seen small public projects drive up the cost of their work simply because the front end documents are so onerous; and for that matter, it drives up the consultant (architect) cost as well --
I would also advise having an experienced CCS to update and revise the documents, and perhaps carefully, selectively edit your set into a small version. You will probably have a "full version" for large, stand alone projects; a "large remodel" version for renovations and/or additions to facilites that are kept in operation during the remodel; the "interior remodel" version for small tenant renovations or improvements; the "exterior improvements" version for landscape, paving, and other exterior-only projects; the "re-roofing" version; and you probably have others you can think of. The time spent now to revise and develop these sets should pay off in better coordination and bids in the future.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 437
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 08:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It is very common on small projects for me to have more pages in Bidding/Contracting General requirements and Division 1 than in the rest of the project manual.

Unfortunately a law is a law and public agencies have to put the same about of paperwork together for a small contract as well as a large contract.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 349
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Well, it's true that public agencies need to craft documents that comply with the multitude of laws governing bidding. However, that does not explain the fact that, as anonymous points out, they are "badly written and rife with inconsistencies, undefined terms, and contradictions." (I couldn't have said it better.) I just helped one such public agency in a large eastern city reduce their "special provisions" from nearly 80 pages down to 12 for our project. This is on top of the 38 pages (in 6 point type) of you-can't-change-this "Standard Conditions". I convinced them that all of the 60-odd pages that were deleted were completely irrelevant to the project, or were duplicates of other provisions. I'm not sure what causes these monsters, but my experience suggests that the attorneys responsible are not very interested in making well-coordinated, usable documents, appropriate for the work at hand. I don't know whether this is due to depleted staffs and budgets, lack of knowledge of construction, or just poor legal skills.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 350
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 09:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I should have added that I think that Florida-agency's dilemma should be solved as others here have suggested: rewrite these front ends by getting professional help. The big sales job will probably be convincing the "keepers of the language" (some attoney, no doubt) that the endeavor is worthwhile. But your best argument in support of this is the experience you've had of driving away contractors. Maybe you can even get one of the local contractor's advocacy groups to help out.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 58
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 06:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

There are actually 2 tasks that take 2 separate approaches. One task is the rewriting of Division 01. This task should be undertaken after the rewriting of the Contracting and Procurement Requirements, but may be done without a lot of input/interaction from attorneys. One does need input from those personnel in the public agency who do the construction administration. By adhering strictly to CSI principles, one can craft a set of documents that lay out the requirements that particular agency has in relation to administering the construction contract. Success in adhering to CSI fundamentals may depend on emphasizing a "standardized" approach. You might even argue that "standard" documents can result in lower prices.

The other task is, of course, the revision to the Bidding and Contracting Requirements. The optimal condition is to have a good team of specifiers and attorneys who have public work procurement experience working on this (it is possible). This step should have minimal input from the affected agencies. One should also be prepared to make distinctions not only between large and small projects, but also between building construction and "heavy civil" (roads, bridges, utility services, drainage, etc.). Optimally this should be done prior to the development of Division 01, but I am not sure that it could not be done at the same time.

City of Houston's Airport Division used AIA A201 as a model in developing their "General Conditions", and my experience with other public entities in this area leads me to believe that there is more acceptance of A201 as generally applicable and less resistance on the part of knowledgeable attorneys.

Of course, ultimately Division 01 has to be synchronized with Division 00, but this should be a largely editorial exercise.
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:19 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Hello, no one answered the original question. Are we OK (legal, smart, or stupid) to issue part of the docs. as hard copies and tell bidders to find the rest of the docs. online?
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 351
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:19 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Peter makes excellent points. Also, having done a project using the City of Houston's Airport Division documents, I think that their standard Divisions 0 and 1 are probably the best I've seen for a public agency. They use multiple documents in an intelligent way that allows for building an appropriate project-based project manual. Yet at the same time, they were amenable to appropriate edits to Division 1 Sections, as well as additional Division 1 Sections to handle unique aspects of our project. Kudos to them for putting this together.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 352
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Anon: I think the question has been answered--by offering more appropriate solutions to the problem faced by Florida agnecy: bid requirements scaring off bidders. The answer is to fix the offending documents. The recommendations of CSI, in the MOP and the PRM is not to make reference to documents as suggested in the posting. (Though I agree that the CA forms don't need to be in the Project Manual.) Is it legal, probably, but you need to ask an attorney, not a specifier. If the solution for onerous and ponderous bidding requirements is to effectively hide them from the bidders--or at least put them out of view--then I think this is a serious ethical lapse. The only reason that this approach would work is if the bidder didn't fully realize the effect of all those onerous requirements, and failed to include them. Another suggestion to this problem is to offer well-structured and effective workshops to help contractors understand the requirements and how to comply with them. I think that this is a good idea, even for agencies that have good documents, since these laws and regulations can constitute a serious barrier to entry in the public bidding arena.
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 10:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks for your reply. We're hoping to get opinions here regarding the correctness of what we're doing (not dissertations on what others would do).
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 128
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 12:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The fact that bidders are not bidding could indicate a couple of things: they are too busy; the job is too small to be profitable; or maybe the hassle of doing work with public agencies just isn't worth it. I worked for the University of Minnesota for several years and saw the same thing. The amount of paperwork and procedure was far greater than for private sector jobs, and many contractors refused to bid on them unless they were big projects. Those who did bid on small projects told me they always included a fudge factor just to handle paperwork.

What do you hope to accomplish by putting documents on line? The same number of documents must be accessed and read by the bidders. "Hiding" them online is about the same as using 6 point font. In either case, the bidder is still responsible for knowing the information. If the documents are part of the bidding requirements, or part of the contract documents, all are equally important, as the bidder or contractor must comply with all of them. The idea of "more important" is amazing - how will you enforce the contract after telling the contractor that something isn't really important?

Do you understand your front end documents? Can you explain every requirement? If so, you may be unique among civil serpents, or you have been working with those documents for a long time. If it took you months or years to understand them, how can you expect bidders to do the same in a couple of weeks? And if you don't understand them yourself - good luck!

The real answer is obvious: Clean up those documents! Get rid of the unenforceable policy statements, cook the text down to its essence, use simple sentences, don't ask for things you don't need, have someone who understands English write the text (not a lawyer!), eliminate redundancies, be clear and concise!

As to legality, you'll have to do some research. I found that Minnesota statutes required some information to be published, but usually did not address the issue. Of course, the University had its own written policies, and a lot of things were done just because that's the way they had been done. No rules, no policies, just tradition - which is sometimes harder to overcome. For some odd reason, people who work for public agencies are afraid to change anything, so you have a battle on your hands. But it's one worth fighting.
Robert Swan (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 04:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Anonymous issue the bid documents either all on the web or all hard copy. Your bid package should be one complete identified unit.
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 06:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Dear specifier for a large public agency in Florida.

I would like to submit a fee proposal to re-write your guide Division 00 Documents and Division 01 Sections for small/medium/large projects.
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 103
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 09:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One of our state's CSI leaders has successfully arranged for a series of MasterFormat 2004 training sessions for the office that adminsters our state construction projects. This will provide an opportunity to build some relationships through which we hope to have some positive impact on the rather onerous documents and procedures used by our state construction office.

Practicing specifiers all deal with state and municipal construction documents that are prepared by people who lack CSI training and awareness of industry standards. Millions, perhaps billions, of taxpayer dollars are wasted around the country each year in construction contract inefficiencies and disputes, due to this lack of training and awareness. Professional specifiers and other CSI members can help prevent such things as front ends with 110 documents, or public entity A/E guides with 400 pages of requirements.

We've got a great opportunity in our state to communicate this message. We should deliver the message about industry contract document standards to our public servants every chance we get, and offer ways to assist them in bringing their practices closer to commercial practices.

BTW, The Army Corps of Engineers has a massive program underway to realign their practices to be closer to commercial construction - to save taxpayer money. Talk to them.

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