Order Up! How to Choose a Task-Order Team that Best Serves You
IDIQ, GEC, GES – What do all these acronyms have in common? They are all types of task-order contracts. Known by many names, such as Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ), General Engineering Services (GES), General Engineering Contract (GEC) or an on-call, this contract type has been utilized by various agencies to accomplish minor capital improvement projects (CIPs) with a specified consultant team.
Task-order contracts, once assigned to a consultant team, forego the formal request for proposal process, which allows the project team to move directly into the scoping phase once a task is identified. This process reduces the lead time to finish smaller projects and consolidates active contracts, which makes this contract type ideal for addressing emergent issues.
Selecting Your Go-To Consultant
To reap the full benefits of a task order contract, agencies need to be diligent in their consultant selection. Whether it’s one consultant team or a handful of go-to consultants, there are several qualities to look for to help ensure you get the best service:
Experienced Project Manager
It’s important that the consultant project manager has experience navigating a variety of project types. This experience allows the team to swiftly and accurately create a scope of work and reduce the time it takes to start a task. Once the task has begun, knowledge of design standards can reduce the number of reviews and help complete the project more quickly. If there are any questions throughout the task, an experienced consultant will know the correct person to ask for clarification.
It is crucial to have a project team that has worked together before. This experience proves that the team meshes well which leads to a smooth delivery and allows the project manager to ensure everything is running according to schedule and is up to the client’s standards.
The consultant team must have proven communication strategies to ensure tasks are completed within schedule and budget. Since there are typically multiple concurrent tasks, the project manager should have regular communications with the project team to provide project status and schedule updates to the client.
A consultant team with multidisciplinary skills provides the client with a one-stop shop for any emerging issue or planned task. Since not all tasks are identified at the time of consultant selection for a task order contract, having a diverse team will help meet the client’s needs for any task.
For example, B&N is currently providing General Engineering Services through a contract with the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities. Specific tasks required expertise from B&N’s architectural, environmental, transportation, and utility infrastructure groups. With the resources available in-house, a few of the projects that B&N completed include a traffic signal warrant study, dystor cover evaluation and fuel island canopy design. These internal resources allowed the client to complete the necessary maintenance tasks within one contract.
Making the Selection
Each of these qualities creates a project team best suited to serve any utility needs. To ensure utilities get the best service, the request for proposals criteria should ask consultants to provide examples of the qualities above.