Last spring, the U.S. Navy Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) awarded a five-year, $50 million architect-engineering services contract to a joint venture between WSP USA and HKS for the Command’s medical facilities projects around the world.
This so-called indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract covers hospitals, dental clinics, medical clinics, veterinary clinics, laboratories, sustainment/restoration/modernization projects, military construction projects, and medical studies.
The contract is not exclusive to the two firms, but it lets NAVFAC assign certain projects to them. NAVFAC selected seven projects under this contract for 2018, including a 477,000-sf, $298 million health, education, and research facility for the Uniformed Services University at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; and a 44,000-sf medical and dental clinic in Jacksonville, N.C. There’s also a renovation component, plus four research studies that will help define future projects.
WSP, which has been active in the healthcare sector for a quarter century, decided to compete for this contract after noticing that the AE presence in the government sector was “not as strong” as in other sectors, says Nolan Rome, PE, U.S. Healthcare Director for WSP’s Dallas office.
Rome says that he had seen IDIQ-type contracts in the past and thought that a combination with an architecture firm might work for both companies and the client. Over the previous seven years, WSP and HKS had collaborated on 42 healthcare projects for the military and private sector.
“We promised a one-stop shop for whatever the government would need, and they perceived us as something new and different,” says Jim Whitaker, AIA, DBIA, Principal and SVP with HKS. “Now, we’re the Navy’s go-to task-order vendor.”
NAVFAC follows a Uniform Facilities Criteria that touches on everything from design to scheduling. It also leans toward design-bid-build delivery, whereas the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Veterans Health Administration prefer design-build. (Rome says WSP will self-perform 98% of the work under the NAVFAC contract.)
Each agency imposes spending limits, notably a 6% cap on total cost design services. “We’ve responded to those parameters with an integrated design approach,” says Alan Davis, Vice President for WSP’s Built Ecology, a national practice based on integration between architect and engineer.
Whitaker says that having a predetermined cost structure and pre-existing relationship can “make procurement easier.”
HKS and WSP have been talking with other government agencies about setting up similar contractual arrangements.