Best Practices Procurement Manual (BPPM) Update Initiative (forum is now closed)

Welcome to the BPPM online dialogue!

Purpose:

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is revising its Best Practices Procurement Manual (BPPM), which provides assistance to grant recipients conducting FTA-funded procurements. While FTA has periodically updated the manual, first issued in 1997, many best practices have become outdated. In addition, changes have been made to FTA’s Third Party Contracting Circular (C4220.1F) that significantly expanded FTA’s guidance, duplicating many areas covered in the BPPM.

The new BPPM is likely to look very different from the manual many of you have used in the past. Technology has changed significantly in the almost two decades since the original manual was written. We at FTA are striving to create a more useful, technology-based tool for providing procurement technical assistance. We are also contemplating changing the name of this document to Procurement Practices Manual.

During the revision process, we want to provide recipients, third party contractors, and other stakeholders with an opportunity to share procurement practices, including lessons learned, that reflect current trends and challenges in the industry. Join us in this online dialogue, FTA’s central place for comments, recommendations and questions on the BPPM revision.

The following questions are meant to elicit discussion; please feel free to have conversations on related topics. You may remain anonymous when making comments and recommendations, posing questions, or providing documents to be shared. We appreciate your taking the time to address any or all of these questions.

Current FTA Guidance

FTA provides procurement technical assistance to grantees via multiple sources, including: contact with regional and headquarters office staff; FTA’s online Third Party Procurement FAQ; FTA’s Third Party Procurement Hotline; the Code of Federal Regulations (i.e., 2 C.F.R. part 1201, formerly 49 C.F.R. parts 18 and 19); FTA Circular 4220.1, Third Party Contracting Guidance; and the Best Practices Procurement Manual. As we develop a revised BPPM, we would like to know more about how you use of the various sources of procurement information provided by FTA and others including

  • What FTA sources of procurement information do you use? Are there sources that are particularly helpful that you rely on routinely? Are there any sources that you do not use at all? If yes, please elaborate.
  • On what topics should FTA focus in the revised BPPM? For example, piggybacking, joint procurement, Buy America, sole sourcing, alternate delivery methods, including design-build, Construction Manager at Risk, Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) with Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP), cost and price analysis, independent cost estimate, FTA required clauses, etc.
  • Do you search FTA’s public website for third party contracting guidance? If so, is the information you are seeking easy to locate? Is the content helpful? Are your questions fully addressed or do you typically seek additional information to address your question or concern?
  • Do you obtain guidance from other sources such as industry associations, consultants, trade groups, etc.? Please elaborate.

The Procurement Process for FTA-Funded Projects

FTA is interested in obtaining best practices and lessons learned across the entire procurement cycle. This information will be extremely useful in our goal to develop a revised procurement manual that will be helpful to a wide range of participants with varying degrees of expertise in transit third party procurements. FTA is asking grant recipients and other industry participants to submit ideas on how FTA can improve the guidance it provides in the following areas.

  • Preparing a solicitation. What types of procurement best practices and lessons learned can assist recipients when preparing a solicitation? Please address the following areas:

    1. Selecting type of procurement, e.g., small purchase, sealed bid, competitive negotiation, best value, sole source, state schedule, joint procurement, piggyback, etc.
    2. Defining selection criteria
    3. Preparing the Independent Cost Estimate (ICE)
    4. Qualifying contractors
    5. Establishing contract term and options
    6. Developing specifications, including brand name restrictions, liquidated damages provisions, FTA required clauses, selection criteria, etc.
    7. Requiring no geographic preferences, prevailing wages, bid and performance bonds
    8. Use of consultants to assist in the procurement process
    9. Other
  • Selecting a third party contractor. What types of procurement best practices and lessons learned can assist grantees when selecting a third party contractor? Please address the following areas:

    1. Determining responsive and responsible contractors
    2. Performing cost/price analysis
    3. Evaluating proposals, in particular, best value determinations
    4. Evaluating options, if specified
    5. Validating required certifications, including Buy America
    6. Handling bid protests
    7. Other
  • Managing post-award performance. What types of procurement best practices and lessons learned can assist grantees post award? Please address the following areas:
    1. Maintaining written record of procurement history
    2. Managing the contract. Please describe project management and contract administration practices.
    3. Reviewing and approving advance payment and progress payment terms
    4. Processing change orders, including out-of-scope/cardinal changes
    5. Reviewing compliance with Buy America
    6. Utilizing warranty provisions
    7. Other

Major Capital Projects

  • What procurement lessons learned on Major Capital Projects would benefit the transit industry as a whole and improve project outcomes?
  • What lessons learned from use of alternate delivery methods for construction projects, particularly use of CM/GC with GMP or CM At Risk?
  • What lessons learned on bus procurements, including stand-alone procurements, piggyback, state schedules, joint procurements?

How can we revise our Best Practices Procurement Manual (BPPM)?

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  1. Calyptus Consulting Group's responses to the above questions

    Please see below for Calyptus Consulting Group's responses to the questions below. Please note that all templates and procedures mentioned in the responses are available upon request by contacting Dr. George Harris, gharris@calyptusgroup.com.

    - What FTA sources of procurement information do you use? Are there sources that are particularly helpful that you rely on routinely? Are there any sources that you do not use at all? If yes, please elaborate.
    -----Most grantees are not aware of the tools that are available on the FTA website. They are hungry for examples. FTA should have an easily accessible list of all…

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    • 3 votes
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        1 comment  ·  Admin →
      • BPPM should include a section on IT Procurements

        With Transit Agencies using more complex IT hardware, software, and platforms (ERP, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) inside the agency and on rolling stock, a separate section on IT Procurement would be beneficial to understand what contractual terms to include during the solicitation process and how best to guide your agency regarding implementation and programming errors, downtime, legacy data, and agency data.

        5 votes
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        • Major IT Procurements should be treated like Construction Procurements

          Major IT Procurement such as ERP System Implementations or other major software/hardware implementations should be qualifications based because if the implementation is incorrect a transit agency can be on the hook for the costs to fix it.

          Also, ERP systems should have a 10 year or more contract term.

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          • Omnitrans' Cost Analysis Form

            Cost Analysis

            PO: 4500023134 Prepared by: William Valle
            Amount: $4328.06
            Description: Support Systems License Renewal

            Vendor: Oracle America, Inc.
            Description: Oracle Database Enterprise Edition
            Unit of Measure: 50 licenses
            Cost:
            Total: 4328.06

            ICE: Project Manager
            Description: Oracle Database
            Quantity: 50
            Cost:
            Total: $5,000





            Cost for the services is quoted at $4,328.06 and was estimated by Omnitrans' Project Manager at $5,000. It is determined that the cost for this effort is fair and reasonable since total cost difference is with 10% of the Independent Cost Estimate

            1 vote
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            • Omnitrans' Single Bid Justification and Approval

              Single Source - Justification and Approval Form
              (Reference: Omnitrans Procedure 4050-1, Sections 1.1.1 and 2.2.1.)

              SECTION I (To be completed by Contract Administrator):

              1. Solicitation Number: PRC16-88-11416
              2. Proposed Contract Amount: $825.04
              3. Period of Performance: 1/14/2016
              4. Supplier name, address, and contact information:
              Pirtek Inland Valley
              909 S. Cucamonga Ave. Suite 101, Ontario, CA 91761
              Gil Moyers, General Manager, 909-773-1700
              5. Brief description of requested items or services and their purpose:

              Material Number:
              218508 HOSE, ZF TRANS FC300-20 C87.0 FL92. 99”
              6. Procurement History Overview:
              Date Issued 1/14/2016

              Number of Firms Notified 344
              Number of Firms that Downloaded Solicitation…

              1 vote
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              • Omnitrans' Responsibility Determination Form

                Responsibility Determination Form

                PO/Solicitation #: 4500024047

                Supplier: Fairview Ford Sales, Inc.

                Date: 5/11/2016

                For each of the areas described below, check that the appropriate research has been accomplished and provide a short description of the research and the results.

                Acceptable Comment
                1. Appropriate financial, equipment, facility, and personnel ☐ Yes ☐ No





                2. Ability to meet the delivery schedule ☐ Yes ☐ No




                3. Satisfactory period of performance ☐ Yes ☐ No




                4. Receipt of all necessary data from supplier ☐ Yes ☐ No


                This vendor has been deemed responsible and does not appear on the declined or suspended list…

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                • Omnitrans' Price Analysis

                  Price Analysis/Reasonableness

                  PO/Contract#: 4500024045

                  Project Name: Electrical Workshop

                  Vendor Name: American TrainCo

                  Dollar Value: $1,980

                  Description: Electrical Workshop

                  Rationale:

                  Analysis: Prices for this PO/Contract were reviewed by the Contract Administrator and determined to be fair and reasonable for the following reason(s):

                  ☐Award based on lowest, responsive and responsible bid received - see attached quotes

                  ☒Compared with prices paid for similar goods or services

                  ☐Award based on availability (as stated in procurement docs)

                  ☐Pricing deemed reasonable based on past purchase history attached

                  _____________________ ___________________________
                  Contract Administrator Procurement Director/Manager

                  1 vote
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                  • Omnitrans' Binder Index

                    1 ☒Procurement History

                    2 ☐Notice to Proceed
                    ☐ FINAL Contract (Executed)

                    3 ☐Change Orders/Amendments (Options)

                    4 ☐Board Reports (Release and Award)

                    5 ☒Awarded Bid/Proposal
                    ☐Bonds

                    6 ☐Purchase Order(s) / Invoices / Releases / Certified Payrolls

                    7 ☐Cost or Price Analysis / Reasonableness

                    8 ☒Insurance

                    9 ☐Correspondence (POST award)

                    10 ☐DBE

                    11 ☒Procurement Plan

                    12 ☒Independent Cost Estimate (ICE)

                    13 ☐Sole Source Justification

                    14 ☒ Addenda
                    ☒ Solicitation (RFP/RFQ/IFB)
                    ☒Attachment A – Scope of Work
                    ☒Attachment B – Regulatory Requirements
                    ☒Attachment C – Sample Contract or Purchase Order Terms and Conditions
                    ☒Attachment D – Minimum Insurance Requirements
                    ☒Attachment E – Protest…

                    1 vote
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                    • Omnitrans' Procurement History

                      PROCUREMENT HISTORY

                      Procurement Title: Transit Survey

                      Procurement Number:
                      ☒Received ICE (Independent Cost Estimate) DATE: 4/8/2016
                      $____5,000__________________

                      Procurement Method (Attach Method of Procurement Decision Matrix)
                      ☐RFP
                      ☐RFQ
                      ☐IFB
                      ☒Sole Source (justification attached)

                      Contract Type (Check appropriate type)
                      ☒Firm Fixed
                      ☐Cost Reimbursement
                      ☐Time and Materials
                      *Cost Plus Contracts are Prohibited by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

                      Vendor/Contractor Selection (Describe method and rationale for selection) (e.g. - This project was released as an Invitation for Bid as staff required a specific product or service and was advertised in public newspapers of general circulation.)

                      ☒Excluded Parties List System was verified via www.sam.gov
                      ☒Cost /Price…

                      1 vote
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                      • Omitrans' Method of Procurement

                        METHOD OF PROCUREMENT DECISION MATRIX

                        To best determine which method of procurement is suitable, classify your situation by checking off the appropriate boxes below in each of the procurement methods below. All elements must apply that use that method.

                        ☒ Independent Cost Estimate (Attached for every procurement over $3,000)

                        I. Mini-Purchase
                        ☐Amount $3,000 to $25,000
                        ☐Three or more vendor quotes available
                        IV. Sole Source
                        ☒OEM, Custom Item
                        ☐Only once Source Available
                        ☐Approved by FTA – Sole Source
                        ☐Public exigency issue/emergency
                        ☐Competition is inadequate after public solicitation (If all elements apply, continue to Emergency Procurement below)

                        Emergency Procurement (Subset of Sole…

                        2 votes
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                        • Provide guidance on procuring administrative on-call consultants for legal, HR, and CPA types of service.

                          The current guidance is vague and disallows the use of qualifications based procurement, yet the scope of work can't easily be defined for an RFP. Included should be guidance on preparing an ICE for this type of procurement.

                          3 votes
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                          • Increase threshold or defer to state's threshold

                            In section 4.1 Micro-Purchases, items 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and in the Micro-purchasing definition and discussion which follows section 4.1, the dollar amount should be raised to $10,000. Items such as engines, transmissions, electrical equipment, and diesel exhaust fluid filters all need to be fixed, changed, or replaced as soon as possible upon failure. Repair and replacement are typically only available from the manufacturer which increases costs. Many state and local agency procurement thresholds are already set at $10,000. Oregon's small (micro) procurement threshold has been set at $10,000. The FTA’s best practices should reflect the reality of…

                            2 votes
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                            • Using FTA funds in conjunction with Other Federal Funds

                              Please add an additional chapter on utilizing FTA funds in conjunction with other fund sources. The procurement guidelines are often confusing for DOTS as their main funds are FHWA not FTA. Having a clear crosswalk for which FTA and Other Funds exhibits to include in the procurement would be nice. Best practice Other Fund examples could be:
                              • FTA with FHWA
                              • FTA with FLAP
                              • FTA with FAA
                              • FTA with NPS
                              • FTA with HHS

                              2 votes
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                              • Provide more procurement training and guidance materials.

                                Please provide more training materials and technical assistance materials to be publically available. The current materials are:
                                1. 4220.1F - good, but a base guidance document.
                                2. BPPM - good, but outdated and with deprecated examples.
                                3. Third Party Q&A - thoughtful answers in some cases and a good on-going dialogue, but often has conflicting or incorrect guidance, sometimes with one answer directly contradicting one on the same topic right above it.
                                4. NTI Procurement Training - fantastic but the material is not publically available and the classes are always booked full and not offered enough. Please make the materials…

                                11 votes
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                                • Please m

                                  FTA suggested calling this the "Procurement Practices Manual." PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE release a manual that provides *ideal* illustrative examples and case studies of how to best comply with 4220.1F in the real world. The BPPM - while flawed with outdated examples and some incorrect guidance, as well as nonstandard industry practices- is the only way that agencies can feel confident in some of their decisions. Agenices would prefer not to be playing guessing games with PSR and Triennial Contractors over their (the oversight contractors) interpretations of vague Circular provisions. Please update the BPPM and have it be FTA's ideal set…

                                  3 votes
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                                  • Update List of Federal Clauses (BPPM Appendix A)

                                    While the BPPM list of required federal clauses has 31 entries (two of which are only listed as "reserved"), adding extra clauses from Circular 4220.1F and general knowledge gained from other reference sources should push that list to the vicinity of 44 entries.

                                    7 votes
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                                    • Buy America Assistance

                                      As part of the procurement process for construction projects, a three-page document with numerous examples was developed to provide assistance to construction contractors in determining what is a component (must be certified as complying with Buy America) and what is a sub-components (certified compliance with Buy America is not required). A second form was developed for the construction contractors that requires a listing of all components provide for the project and the manufacturing location of those components. This form must be completed and submitted before final payment is made. (These documents would be provided for inclusion in the BPPM, if…

                                      5 votes
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                                      • Keep the BPPM up to date and easy to find on the FTA web site

                                        The current BPPM was issued 15 years ago and has not been revised in 11 years. That situation should not be repeated in the future.

                                        In spite of the first section of Chapter 1 of the BPPM being titled "Assistance, Guidance, and Requirements", looking on the FTA website under one of three available tabs titled "Regulations & Guidance" will not get to the BPPM. To get to the BPPM, the user must select the "Funding" tab, then select "Resources" from the column of five options offered on the left side of the page, then select "Procurement" from the four menu…

                                        4 votes
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                                        • Standardize Definitions

                                          Add a glossary up front, so that users (and contributors) are always working from the same definitions. Consider using the NIGP's Dictionary of Procurement Terms, http://www.nigp.org/home/find-procurement-resources/resources/dictionary-of-terms

                                          4 votes
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