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Project Management

2.1 Components of Contracts

2.2 Contract Planning

2.3 Contract Types

2.4 Funding

2.5 Staff Training

2.6 Standards of Performance

2.7 Scheduling Requirements

2.8 Other Key Planning Considerations

2.9 Determining Competition and Solicitation Requirements for Planting Projects

2.10 Risk Management

2 Contract Administration

Planting projects are funded through two main funding sources. The procedures for planting project administration for industry outstanding funded projects can be found in the chapter entitled "Contracts." The procedures for the rest of ministry funded projects are detailed in this section as well as in the Contract Administration Manual and the "Contracts" chapter of the Silviculture Manual.

2.1 Components of Contracts

Planting projects are a standard service that the Ministry of Forests contracts for services. In this respect, the contract administration process can be described as a series of five main phases. These are common to all contracts and are described in the MoF Contract Administration Course, 1993. The five phases are: planning, pre-award, award, implementation, and evaluation. These phases constitute the `life cycle' of the contract.

2.2 Contract Planning

In the planning phase, a review of the components of the SP and other factors occurs prior to preparing the contract. Also, the decision is made on the type of contract required, whether funding is available (business plan), the terms of reference or contract standards are set, and the selection criteria for deciding who is eligible to do the work is determined.

Pre-contract Preparation Planning

At this stage the planting prescription has or needs to be finalized so that the standards can be set in the contract. The logistics of the program must be checked. One person should have been assigned the overall responsibility for the planting program. This person is responsible for co-ordinating a number of activities critical to project success, including carrying out or considering the following points:

  • Trees that have been ordered must be checked to see if they are still suitable for the present site conditions.
  • Nursery or cold-storage inventories must be checked to ensure that the proper species, number, and stock type that were ordered are available.
  • Has any site preparation been done or is it needed?
  • Are the number of plantable spots available that will ensure that your prescription can be followed and your legal obligations for the site can be met?
  • Are the planting project units broken down into easily administered payment units?
  • Is one person over-committed with other work?
  • Are the contracts set up to best conform to solicitation requirements (e.g., open bidding versus direct award)?

2.3 Contract Types

In planting, two types of contracts are used based on the method of payment for the work provided. The most common contract is the per-tree type where bids or a price is determined for successfully planting each of the assigned seedlings. The other option, which is area-based, is to determine a price to plant to a certain density and quality, a unit of ground, usually on a per hectare basis. In some special circumstances and in some industry outstanding work, hourly paid crews have been used.

Per-tree Contracts

Currently this is the most popular type of contract for planting. Projects are bid on a price per tree for each planting unit. The work is then evaluated on the basis of the number of trees issued to the contractor times the bid price per tree, this may be reduced by applicable deductions such as poor planting quality or unaccounted trees.

Area-based Contracts

An alternative to the per-tree payment system is to pay contractors for each unit that is satisfactorily planted or `area-based planting.' In area-based contracts, payment is based on the number of `units,' either a clearly defined geographic area (i.e., a cutblock) or a hectare, that are acceptably planted. There are a number of benefits to this method. The incentive to the planters is to maximize their income by planting the largest area with a given number of seedlings. Areas are now planted with respect to achieving the density of trees that is specified as the minimum acceptable in the contract. To do this the planter has to take into account all the naturals, buffers, unplantable ground, and poor microsites that would not constitute plantable microsites. There is no incentive to plant extra trees or to tighten up spacing on easier ground and avoid the tougher areas as in a per-tree based contract. Existing naturals will be searched out as they are a bonus to the planter.

Area-based planting has been used since 1982. It is best suited to situations where plantable microsites are limited or unevenly distributed, or when fill-in planting around existing seedlings is required. For more information on area-based planting refer to the publication `Tips for Successful Area-based Planting Contracts,' found in Appendix 2.

Also available is an instructional course on area-based planting entitled Successful area-based planting contracts, advertized and administered through the B.C. Forestry Continuing Studies Network. For more details contact the Network directly.

2.4 Funding

Cost Estimates

To ensure that business plan goals can be met, part of the planning process is to develop detailed cost estimates for the planting project. This estimate must take into account not just the contract cost but other costs associated with the project. Ministry staff time, cost of shipping and handling of the seedlings, road improvements/snow removal, and implementation costs can add significantly to the total cost.

For industry outstanding funded planting projects, if standard tendering practices have been used by the licensee and the documentation for contract award is included in the proposal, completion of detailed cost estimates by ministry staff is generally not warranted. Detailed cost estimates should however be completed for non-standard tendered projects, direct award, request for proposal type projects, or proposals submitted with incomplete documentation.

2.5 Staff Training

A review of ministry staff training needs should be undertaken to ensure that all planting administrators are adequately trained. Region and Silviculture Practices Branch staff are available to assist in contract training such as FS 704 procedures. Various contract administration courses are also sponsored by the Ministry of Forests. This training is essential for all staff and especially for new personnel. It can have a large impact on the success of a project.

2.6 Standards of Performance

The contract standards of performance should have been determined as part of the planting prescription. It is important that the contract specifications as detailed in the prescription are reviewed and finalized prior to completing the tender documents. Site conditions change, seedling inventories can also change and the most current inventory should be checked as well.

The general standards for all silviculture contracts are found on the FS 700 and Schedule D. Specific clauses for tree planting are contained on the Schedule A, FS 767, Schedule B, FS 777 as well with provisions for district specific clauses being used on the standard Schedule C, FS 787. Copies of these schedules, and instructions for form completion, are located in Appendix 1, Forms Management, of this chapter and in the chapter on "Contracts." For more general information on this refer to the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning."

2.7 Scheduling Requirements

Develop the planting schedule based on the site information contained on the FS 739, local access conditions, planting stock availability, logical planting contract and unit sequences, and the availability of both the contractor and the ministry personnel. For more general information on this refer to the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning."

2.8 Other Key Planning Considerations

Additional factors that may require consideration:

  • Have all the necessary pre-treatment surveys/assessments/prescriptions been completed?
  • Has the number of plantable spots been confirmed. A survey more than one year old may contain inaccurate estimates of plantable spots.
  • Is the planting unit currently in a plantable condition or will other site treatments be required? If so, is it advisable to proceed through the pre-award and award phases before the additional work has been satisfactorily completed?
  • Is the planting unit confirmed as vacant Crown land and is it unencumbered by reserves for rights-of-way, recreation, grazing, or gravel pits?
  • Is it likely that contractors will wish to use any Ministry of Forests recreation sites that are located near the work site? If so, it will be necessary to consult the Resource Officer Recreation to ascertain if such use is compatible with Recreation Program objectives.
  • What alternatives are available in the event that circumstances beyond the control of the ministry or contractor render unavailable any or all of the originally scheduled planting units or seedlings? What overflow/substitute units are available? One or more overflow units should be available for the different species or seed zones in the contract. (It is advisable to have bids prepared for several overflow units at the time of tendering.)

See the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning" for other information on the planning portions of contract administration.

2.9 Determining Competition and Solicitation Requirements for Planting Projects

Method of Competition

It is ministry policy that, except as otherwise specifically exempted (see "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning - Direct Award"), all ministry contracts must be awarded on a fair, competitive basis.

In contracting out tree planting services the following methods of competition are used by the Ministry of Forests:

  • Invitation to Tender (ITT), and
  • Request for Proposal (RFP).

More details on the use of these different competition methods is covered in the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning" and under section 2.0 of the Interim Directive-Contract Administration Solicitation Policy dated July, 1992.

Method of Solicitation

The minimum solicitation requirements for all silviculture contracts including those tree planting projects that are `cost shareable' with the Government of Canada are covered in the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning" and Chapter 2 of the Contract Administration Manual.

2.10 Risk Management

When the ministry contracts out the planting of trees there is, as with any contract, an element of risk to the Crown for the assumption of financial liability for losses or damages arising from the contractor's work, or the contractor's failure to perform satisfactory.

The ministry uses several methods to transfer its risk and provide to the contractor an incentive to perform to the conditions of the contract and operate in a responsible, safe and businesslike manner.

Such methods include:

  • bid deposits,
  • security deposits or performance bonds,
  • clauses requiring contractors to obtain and show proof of Workers' Compensation Board coverage and/or liability (or other) insurance,
  • "holdbacks" retained from contract payments, and
  • other contractual clauses (e.g., liability waivers, clauses establishing charges for damages, fire fighting charges).

Such methods are outlined and the procedures for their use are found in the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning," subsection 6.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are normally required for planting contracts and are specified in the Contract Particulars that form part of the tender package. The amount of security deposit must be set prior to tendering the project. The normal amount for a planting project is 10 per cent of the total contract price. Under certain circumstances, generally where the project represents a higher risk, this amount can be raised. For more information on the amount and the form of acceptable bid deposits see Chapter 2 of the Contract Administration Manual and the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning," subsection 6.1.

Holdback Requirements

The holdback requirements for planting contracts are the same as for most work completed on Crown land. The standard amount is 10 per cent of the total payment withheld for 40 days following contract completion/termination. For more information on holdback requirements see the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning," subsection 6.2.

Insurance Requirements

The insurance requirements for planting projects are the same as the standard requirements for all contracts. They are outlined in Chapter 2 of the Contract Administration Manual and the chapter on "Contracts," Section 2, "Planning," subsection 6.3.

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Copyright 1999 Province of British Columbia
Forest Practices Branch
BC Ministry of Forests
This page was last updated December 2000

Comments to: Tim Ebata <Tim.Ebata@gems8.gov.bc.ca>