Architect firm owner Thomas Jacobs, testifying before a U.S. House of Representatives committee, called on Congress to reduce design-build fees and large final-list teams as ways to aid small architect firms as they compete for government contracts.
Jacobs, principal of Krueck+Sexton Architects (Chicago) and a member of the American Institute of Architects, on June 7 testified before the Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce.
AIA’s summary of Jacobs’ comments follow.
• Design-build fees. The average firm spends more than $260,000 to prepare a design-build bid. This cost is becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive for small firms. At a time when the construction industry lost 28,000 jobs last month, small architectural firms should not have to spend an average of $260,000 just to prepare a bid where there is a slim chance to win the job.
• Large final list teams. In the past, there were typically no more than three teams competing for a project. Now, government agencies are requiring as many as eight teams on a final list. As a result, the odds of small firms winning projects are becoming slim, as larger firms can absorb the cost of bidding while smaller firms must “bet it all” on a contract.
Jacobs also said expanding the federal government’s use of Design Excellence programs would enable more small businesses to compete for government business and ensure that the government buys design services with cost and quality given equal considerations as criteria.
“At a time when the federal government is facing unprecedented deficits, we need to ensure that every dollar spent on federal facilities is spent wisely,” Jacobs said. “Ensuring the most qualified designers are selected at the outset of the project reaps financial benefits for years to come.”
He said the Design Excellence program “streamlines the architect/engineering selection process while stressing creativity in designing the buildings.”
Earlier this year, Jacobs was one of the 13 architects selected to receive the 2012 AIA Young Architects Award; see: Rising Stars: AIA Honors 13 Recipients of Institute’s 2012 Young Architects Award.
The AIA said Jacobs has contributed to the built environment during his 16-year career in ways that “define leadership for the next generation of architects,” adding that he has been an integral part in the creation of some of the best buildings in Chicago.
More information: www.aia.org.