HOW IT UNFOLDED
Beaches Energy Services had a strong sense of what needed to be done at the substation and how it wanted the work performed, so it elected to put out a request for qualifications rather than a request for proposals.
Under the circumstances and given the commitment to using EPC project delivery, the utility placed emphasis on qualifications over pricing. Its primary objective was to select a highly qualified firm that would be capable of providing the necessary services on a complicated project.
The RFQ evaluation criteria were intended to gauge applicants’ abilities to successfully support the substation project across many variables:
- Execution plan: How would the contractor manage the execution of the project (i.e., engineering, procurement, construction, testing)?
- Key personnel: Does the contractor have sufficient breadth and depth of resources?
- Material management: How does the contractor plan to manage lead times for equipment and materials?
- Proximity: Does the contractor have resources close at hand for the project?
- Quality: Does the contractor have specific, relevant EPC experience on similar projects?
- Safety: What is the contractor’s plan to protect personnel and property?
- Subcontractor utilization: How would the contractor utilize subcontractors, and what would the local and minority business representation look like?
Beaches Energy Services conducted interviews with applicants about expectations and ability to meet or improve on the schedule.
The contract ultimately was awarded to Burns & McDonnell, in part based on its plan to utilize progressive, or “open-book,” EPC. Under that structure, the prime contractor performed the engineering, developed a price, put together an estimate and shared it with the utility. The package was then put out for bid, and the utility and prime contractor worked together to decide which firms to select for purposes of cost certainty.
By discussing and assigning risk in advance, and evaluating all bids collaboratively and transparently, the utility gained a lot of insight into EPC best practices while also achieving the efficiencies and relative cost certainty of that project delivery approach.