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General – Pre Award
Figure 1 below contains a pre-contract checklist for ensuring nothing is overlooked in the contract preparation stage. Use this checklist in conjunction with the Tender Package Checklist in the Contract Management Manual. EMS checklists for the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program may also be required.
The standard format for contract administration project numbering is as follows:
Normally there are no dashes or spaces between components, except a dash (-) may be used between the district/region letter code and the project number.
Table 1. Project type codes
Electronic documents for the following activities can be accessed through the MoF forms index. Currently all of the documents are on the intranet (only available to MoF staff) at http://wwwinternal.for.gov.bc.ca/iscripts/isb/forms/forms.asp.
Some of the documents are on the internet (available to the public on the web) at https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/pscripts/isb/forms/forms.asp.
The trend is toward more documents being made available on the internet.
2.3.2 Modifying Standard Schedules A, B and C
Table 2 below describes the typical schedules used with silviculture operational contracts and provides guidance on their modification by users. Specific schedules A and B exist for all common silviculture activities and are available for districts to download in Microsoft Word file format (see 2.3.1 Obtaining Forms, above).
2.3.3 Creating a New Schedule A or B
Occasionally, contract requirements are so different from a standard silvicultural activity that the available schedules A and B do not cover them. If confronted with this situation, spending authorities should choose from among the existing schedules those which have the most existing applicable content and adapt them as needed. They should also consult with the appropriate regional silviculture activity specialist or the headquarters silviculture contract specialist.
2.3.4 Schedule D - Camp Standards (FS 776)
Attach Schedule D - Camp Standards (FS 776) to all contracts where a camp situation is a possibility. This schedule is mandatory for all planting contracts, unless the contract specifies a camp will not be permitted on Crown land.
The ministry recognizes that the schedule D camp standards may be inappropriate for some small projects that require only small crews. While the preference in such cases is that crews use off-site accommodation (i.e., motels, hotels, etc.), if this is not practical the general guideline is that the camp standards may be reduced for projects expected to have a crew size less than 7 workers. To do this, amend the camp standards schedule to suit the particular situation using the Final Report of the Silviculture Subcommittee to the Board of Governors of the Workers' Compensation Board as a guide. (Obtain a copy of this report from the regional planting specialist or the silviculture contracts specialist in Forest Practices Branch). If the contract is to be tendered, make the changes to the camp standards before tendering, not after. If done afterwards, unsuccessful contractors could complain that they would have submitted lower bids had they known the ministry was going to require different the standards.
2.3.5 Project Map
At a minimum, a project map should show:
Figure 2 below contains a sample project map. A contract having multiple treatment areas may require several project maps.
2.3.6 Location Map
In addition to the project map, contracts should also have a location map to indicate the whereabouts of the project relative to local towns or other landmarks. It is particularly important that such maps be available at the bidding stage, so that contractors can readily locate the site for self-guided viewing.
At a minimum, a location map should show:
Figure 3 below contains a sample location map.
Figure 4 below is a general guide to matching silviculture contract schedules with the appropriate form of contract and competition methods. It shows common usage. Variation from the matrix is acceptable where permitted under Chapter 7 of the Contract Management Manual.
2.5.1 Other Sources of Information
The Contract Management Manual contains complete instructions for preparing an ITT package (Chapter 11) or an ITQ package (Chapter 13).
2.5.2 Establishing Bidder Eligibility for Silviculture Contracts
Establishing bidder eligibility is one of the most important tasks in contracting. The principle of fair access to government work must be balanced with the government's need to have a quality job done with a minimum of contract supervision. This is partially achieved through specifying bidder eligibility requirements in the conditions of tender or else by pre-qualifying potential bidders.
Chapter 10 of the Contract Management Manual provides detailed instructions on how to establish select lists for select invitation competitions on a rotational basis. It contains a sample pre-qualification notice for tree planting contractors, as well as full details on how to prepare a pre-qualification package and how to evaluate submissions.
Section 11.8.3 of the Contract Management Manual provides general guidance on specifying eligibility requirements as part of the conditions of tender.
2.5.3 The Decision to Hold a Site Viewing
Section 11.5.2 and section 11.15 of the Contract Management Manual provide guidance in making the decision to hold a site viewing and in conducting it. It is recommended that viewing be mandatory for all silviculture contracts other than surveys. Where road access allows viewing may be done by contractors on their own time.
If the ministry is hosting a helicopter accessed viewing, consider pre-qualifying contractors in order to limit the number attending the viewing.
2.5.4 Risk Management
Performance Security Requirements
Section 8.3 of the Contract Management Manual covers performance securities. Table 3 below presents standard requirements for silviculture contracts.
Section 8.10 of the Contract Management Manual covers holdbacks. Table 4 below presents standard requirements for silviculture contracts.
Section 8.7 of the Contract Management Manual covers contract insurance requirements, including an explanation of all of the forms of coverage required below.
Table 5 below presents guidelines for silviculture contracts. Silviculture schedule A's generally contain all the needed insurance requirements. Use Table 5 when there is a perceived need to expand or reduce these insurance coverage requirements, or when preparing a customized schedule A.
Table 6 provides a guide to insurance requirements for contracts involving air or water craft.
For any projects that include activities not listed in these tables, spending authorities should carry out a risk analysis to decide whether comprehensive general liability (CGL) and fire fighting expense coverage should be a contract requirement. Make CGL insurance a contract requirement where there is a medium to high risk of property damage or bodily injury.
All operational silviculture contracts must include Automobile Liability coverage on all vehicles owned, operated or licensed in the name of the contractor in an amount not less than $1,000,000.
1CGL - Comprehensive General Liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000.00 per occurrence.
Penalties and Damages
Section 8.8 of the Contract Management Manual provides guidance on the need for actual or liquidated damages clauses. Spending authorities contemplating including a "penalty" in a contract should review this entire section of the Contract Management Manual. In short, penalties are not permissible in ministry contracts. More acceptable is the use of "liquidated damages", a reasonable pre-estimate of damages agreed to in the contract by the ministry and the contractor.
2.5.5 Preparing the Tender Form
Use a standard Tender Offer Form - FS 629 form to prepare a tender offer for all silviculture operational services contracts. See section 11.11 of the Contract Management Manual for instructions for completing this form. (The Tender Form for Tree Planting Contracts - FS 790 and the Tender Form for Site Preparation Contract - FS 759 are obsolete).
Silviculture tender offers may be specified as revocable (check the "No" box under section 3 (a) of the FS 629) or irrevocable (check the "Yes" box of section 3 (a) of the FS 629). Use irrevocable tenders if there is concern that bid-rigging may occur. Consult section 12.5.5 of the Contract Management Manual for more information regarding bid-rigging and methods to deter it.
Figure 5. Example of a prepared tender offer form (table section) - tree planting
Figure 6. Example of a prepared tender offer form (table section) - site preparation
2.6.1 Multi-year Contracts
A multi-year contract is any contract that spans two or more fiscal years. It is typically for a single activity. Multi-year contracts that are also for a variety of silviculture activities are referred to as multi-year, multi-activity contracts. This latter form of contract is discussed on page 20.
Virtually any silviculture contract can be made into a multi-year contract. Section 6.5.2 of the Contract Management Manual provides guidance on choosing between a standard term contract (i.e., within a single fiscal year), option-to-renew and multi-year contract terms. Ministry "direction" requires that all multi-year contracts be awarded through an open invitation tendering process and that there be a high probability of funding for work in subsequent years.
Making a contract multi-year is simply a matter of specifying the contract term to expire in a later fiscal year. Not so simple is the matter of describing what the work (and payments) will be in future fiscal years. Therefore, it is best to use multi-year contracts when the work units can be precisely specified for each year and the activity is not dependent upon some prior activity having occurred. Multi-year contracts for activities where the future work units cannot be precisely specified or are substantially subject to change are more difficult to design and obtain bids for. Examples are planting contracts where future work units are dependent upon timber harvesting having occurred, or planting rehabilitated areas when funding for site rehabilitation is inconsistent or plans for exactly which areas will be rehabilitated are not well developed.
To ensure clarity, prepare a clearly-labeled tender form (for tender packages) showing work activities in each fiscal year. Following contract award, prepare a separate and clearly-labeled schedule B for each fiscal year.
An option-to-renew contract is preferable when future work cannot be precisely identified. Assuming work is satisfactorily completed in each year, future work is then negotiated between the ministry and the contractor, once the work units can be specified. Unit rates must be comparable to rates bid in the initial year of the contract for similar work. If the work is dramatically different in difficulty and/or cost, it should be tendered. Annual renewal clauses should be part of the agreement. Renewal is subject to meeting the requirements of the annual renewal clause.
Table 7 below provides cross-references for information and clauses in the Contract Management Manual relevant to multi-year contracting.
Table 7 below provides an example of annual renewal clauses.
Table 8. Example of Annual Renewal Clauses suitable for Operational Services Agreement
2.6.2 Multi-activity Contracts
A multi-activity contract combines several silvicultural activities into one contract. When such a contract is also for more than one fiscal year, it is referred to as a multi-year, multi-activity contract. This latter form of contract is discussed in the next section.
Multi-activity/single-year contracts are less common than multi-year contracts for a single activity. This is generally because qualifying contractors across the range of required skill and experience is perceived as more difficult. However, conceptually, multi-activity silviculture contracting is no more complex than awarding a building contract for a house to a general contractor who then uses subtrades to accomplish the work.
The recommended process for multi-activity silviculture contracts is to pre-qualify potential bidders. Chapter 10 of the Contract Management Manual contains pre-qualification procedures. Pre-qualification specifications could stipulate that only companies having specified experience will be eligible.
Following a pre-qualification, the ministry invites bids only from those contractors having demonstrated that they have the capability to undertake and supervise all activities. Until spending authorities gain experience with this contracting model, they may manage risk by specifying a higher performance security (e.g., 15%) requirement in the conditions of tender and in the contract. Alternatively, spending authorities could specify different performance security rates for different activities; for example, 15% for planting and 10% for brushing. While a higher performance security requirement may increase bid prices, the indirect cost savings through less contract administration should offset this. After a few successful multi-activity contracts and all procedures are worked out, spending authorities should lower performance security requirements back to the standard 5-10% level.
2.6.3 Multi-year, Multi-activity Contracts
A multi-year, multi-activity contract is for a variety of silviculture activities spanning two or more fiscal years. Stewardship contracts are the most common usage of this contract form. While permitted under government and ministry policy, for many reasons districts rarely use this form of contract. Reasons include uncertainties of staffing, funding, natural processes, silvicultural planning, etc.
Preparing a multi-year, multi-activity contract is the same as preparing both a multi-year and a multi-activity contract, only all the elements are combined into a single contract. See the preceding two sections for procedures.
2.6.4 Award Considerations
Chapter 17 of the Contract Management Manual contains contract award procedures. The following additional procedures are specific to silviculture contracts.
One of the more critical procedures in the contract award process is that of checking the references regarding the past performance and the current commitments of the planting contractor. In addition to obtaining telephone references, check ISIS for the successful bidder's past performance record.
Refer to the contractor performance spreadsheet to review contractor performance history on previously-held ministry contracts. This spreadsheet is updated annually by Forest Practices Branch from information contained in ISIS records.
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