A/Es gear up for new Federal qualifications form
The date for implementation of SF330, the new qualifications form for firms that perform Federal design work, has been pushed back until June 8. The original deadline was January 12.
SF 330 will replace SF254 and SF255, two forms that have been used since 1975. SF254 covers general qualifications; SF255 covers qualifications for a specific project.
The revision process began eight years ago, when Federal agencies were asked what qualifications information they needed, according to Nancy Usrey, a Rowlett, Texas-based marketing consultant to the building design and construction industry. She is the author of An Insider's Guide to SF330 Preparation, a guidebook of more than 200 pages being published by ZweigWhite Associates.
Usrey says the expectation had been that following publication of SF330's final form in the Federal Register, a period of six months would be allowed before it would take effect. However, the Federal Register publication occurred December 11, with an effective date of January 12 and a mandatory deadline of June 8. This meant that an agency could begin requiring the use of SF330 as early as January 12. Software companies didn't know the final details of SF330 until December 11. Some Federal agencies were also confused. As a result, the General Services Administration delayed the effective date to coincide with the mandatory use date.
Usrey says SF330 basically reshuffles information requested on SF254 and SF255, but also eliminates information and adds new requirements. The overall effect is to place a much stronger emphasis on reporting relationships within a project team.
Michele Renda, marketing director of architect HLW, New York City, concurs that SF330 requests generally the same information as SF254 and SF255, but packaged in a different way. For example, SF254 and SF255 did not track an individual's specific project role, but SF300 requests this information. HLW has tracked that data, and Renda says the changeover to SF330 is not expected to mark a dramatic change for it. She believes that the use of SF330 will lead to greater forethought being paid to the selection of project team members.
In some cases, reporting requirements were simplified. For example, SF254 required listing 15 revenue items — direct Federal contracting, domestic work, and foreign work for each of the past five years. SF330 requires only the average of revenues for the past three years.
Usrey thinks most firms will be able to meet the June deadline, but says if they haven't started assembling and reviewing information they currently have, "they'll be scrambling come June."
Barton Bland, marketing director in the Washington, D.C., office of A/E HNTB, says his firm is waiting for software companies to introduce electronic versions of the form, since GSA released only a pdf file of it. About half of his office's architectural volume is Federal work. Bland believes the SF330's emphasis on collaborative experience will be positive for his office because its in-house team for major Federal projects has been in place for eight years.
A related issue is whether private owners and local agencies (including New York City) that have adopted SF254 and SF255 over the years will switch to SF330. Firms that do work for such agencies may therefore need to keep an inventory of the old forms. Usrey is advising her clients to notify non-Federal owners about the new form and explain the benefits of using it.
SF330 is available on the Internet at www.gsa.gov, then by clicking on "federal forms."