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RCI, Inc. Works With U.S. Congress to Pass Responsible Construction Procurement Language

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August 1, 2018

Congratulates U.S. Rep. David Price for supporting best practices in the procurement of publicly funded construction renovation projects

three guys in front of gsa building
Michael Williams, Lionel van der Walt, and Brian Gardiner in front of the General Services Administration Building in Washington, D.C.
As our members are likely aware, RCI, Inc. has been working to improve the current laws regarding cooperative purchasing in construction, especially as they pertain to large government entities. RCI’s Director of Industry Affairs Brian Gardiner, Chair of the Advocacy Committee Tom Gernetzke, Second Vice President Scott Hinesley, CEO Lionel van der Walt, and Past President Mike Williams have made trips to Washington DC to meet with legislators to that end. And now it is paying off.

RCI, Inc., today announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislative language that addresses the ill-advised proliferation of cooperative purchasing and the misuse of multiple award schedules for procuring construction renovation projects that involve Federal funds.

The language is within the report that accompanies the U.S. House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government bill. (Page 51:

Cooperative Purchasing and Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Agreements. —The Committee is aware that federal agencies and state and local governments are increasingly utilizing cooperative purchasing and MAS agreements to procure goods and services, including services rendered for construction and renovation projects that involve federal funds. The Committee supports efforts to ensure proper transparency and oversight of such construction projects, which are often complex and site-specific. The Committee directs GSA to enforce any existing federal regulations that require independent design professionals be consulted on new construction and renovation projects. The Committee encourages GSA to work with state and local governments so that cooperative purchasing and MAS agreements that involve federal funding is [sic] in the best interest of the government.

“Cooperative procurement often results in local companies and small businesses not being given the opportunity to bid on publicly funded construction renovation projects. Cooperative vendors frequently control the entire construction process, including design. This practice commonly excludes local suppliers, manufacturers and independent design professionals that would normally be given an opportunity to provide materials and services. The lack of an independent design professional can result in a questionable quality of work. Furthermore, cooperative purchasing of construction often results in abuse of taxpayer dollars, as reported by numerous government auditors across the United States,” remarked RCI, Inc. CEO Lionel van der Walt.

RCI, Inc. wants to especially thank U.S. Rep. David Price (D-NC), who serves on the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, for taking the lead on passing this critical language through Congress.

four guys in front of capitol building
RCI on Capitol Hill from L to R: Past President Michael Williams, CEO Lionel van der Walt, Jeff Taylor of USGRI, and Director of Industry Affairs Brian Gardiner.
“RCI, Inc. met with Congressman Price’s office early in 2018 to discuss the increasing drawbacks of using cooperatives in publicly funded construction renovation projects. His staff was highly professional, asked the key questions to get a full understanding of the problem, and created report language that brings increased scrutiny to the problem. Using his leadership, Congressman Price worked with the House Appropriations Committee to move forward effective language. The congressman and his staff performed at the high level we expect and appreciate of all elected officials,” remarked van der Walt.

“RCI has fought against unfair and costly cooperative purchasing arrangements for years,” said RCI Director of Industry Affairs Brian Gardiner. “This is an exciting victory for fair bidding practices for building envelope consultants.”