Comparing 7 IDIQ Programs for Federal Construction Projects

The construction needs of the Federal government are complex and diverse, as projects can range from long-planned remodels of VA hospitals to disaster recovery projects and all points in between. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for getting good work done. To match their varied demands and meet their varied challenges, agencies and departments use an array of project delivery methods. One of the many construction project delivery methods available to Federal government project owners is Indefinite Quantity/Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ).

Generally speaking, IDIQ programs empower project owners to order an undefined number of construction tasks or services from a selected pool of contractors using one competitively-bid contract. As explained in a 2017 Construction Dive article, “many public agencies use IDIQ when there is uncertainty as to how much of a service they need and when they’ll need it.” The article goes on to explain that this arrangement often benefits both project owners and contractors because “IDIQ programs allow public agencies to lock in prices for a set period of time. For contractors chosen to participate, it can be an opportunity to lock in a customer.”

An IDIQ program begins with an umbrella contract that enables the government to issue purchase orders under that contract. This contract defines the parameters of the work that can be completed over the contract’s life. One of the strengths of completing construction work with IDIQ project delivery is cost control: Prices are preset, allowing owners to access contractor services at any point during the agreed time span without having to renegotiate prices for each project. And avoiding price negotiations for every job allows work to begin faster.

However; not all IDIQ contracts are the same. They solve different problems and serve different purposes. Let’s look at a few of the IDIQ contracting methods available to Federal construction project owners: Multiple Award Construction Contract​, Multiple Award Task Order Contracts, Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineer Requirements, Job Order Contracting, Single Award Task Order Contracts, Performance Oriented Construction Activities and Basic Ordering Agreements.

Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC)

Used for larger construction projects that require some design work, MACC contracts pre-qualify a group of contractors to which the branch issues task orders for completing projects. The pre-qualification criteria can be based on a number of factors including past performance, general experience, safety and other factors. Pre-qualifying contractors helps owners get good, consistent work from contractors who understand the agency’s needs. MACC contracts are overseen by the Air Force Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFFARS).

Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC)

Typically used for larger projects, the MATOC project delivery method is used by the Army and regulated by the Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS). Multiple contractors are housed under this one master contract, creating a pool of pre-selected contractors that bid on projects, similar to a MACC. This second layer of competition is a favorite of Contracting Officers (KOs), who believe it drives down costs. When a winner is selected for a project, a smaller, specific contract is written between the owner and the contractor who will complete the project.

One criticism of MATOC and MACC contracts is that small businesses often cannot participate in them. That is because these contracts are used for larger, complex construction projects with higher bonding requirements. Other IDIQ programs are friendlier to small businesses.

Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineer Requirements (SABER)

Also used by the Air Force, SABER contracts are meant to start minor construction projects, repairs and maintenance work faster by reducing Civil Engineer design work and lead time. With SABER, project owners expedite engineering requirements by ordering tasks from a Unit Price Book with preset prices. These tasks have minimum design considerations and are typically applied to straightforward construction projects valued at less than $1,000,000.

 

Job Order Contracting (JOC)

There is plenty of overlap between SABER and Job Order Contracting. Like SABER, JOC is predicated on a catalog of construction Tasks with preset prices; at Gordian, we call our Unit Price Book a Construction Task Catalog® (CTC). Because the Construction Task Catalog is designed to complete a succession of pre-defined construction tasks, the JOC method is ideal for a variety of small to medium construction projects including repairs, renovations and maintenance work, or emergency construction. JOC is a popular IDIQ program for Army construction projects.

Learn how project owners in government, education and healthcare use JOC to complete renovations, repairs, upgrades and more in this free eBook, “Building Excellence – Completing a Variety of Projects with Job Order Contracting.”

Single Award Task Order Contract (SATOC)

This type of contract functions like a JOC contract, but with a higher budget threshold and more design work. When agencies use a SATOC for procuring construction projects, they solicit RFPs from contractors and award the contract to one vendor for multiple years. The agency then issues task orders to that sole provider to complete projects. SATOCs are often used by military branches.

Performance Oriented Construction Activities (POCA)

These contracts are progressive, meaning they begin with an initial, lower-dollar-value task. Federal agencies can then incrementally add tasks that rise in value or duration based on the quality of work the contractor does on the initial task.

Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA)

Unlike the other IDIQ programs listed here, a BOA is not an actual contract for construction. In fact, it is typically used for maintenance and small projects like paint jobs. However; like IDIQ contracts, BOAs are used to expedite contracts for services and supplies for an unknown quantity of future work. BOAs benefit contractors because they can properly invest in and maintain an equipment inventory and BOAs benefit project owners because they get to reduce lead time and procure work for facilities with no on-site maintenance staff. Reviewed annually, a BOA specifies the point at which each order becomes a binding contract and the procedures for accepting or rejecting that contract.

Gordian

About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Sightlines Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.