Public Works streamlines real property project management services procurement

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Aug. 8, 2011 (Aug. 15 on

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TSPS refresh to expedite proposal review process, observers say

Greg Ashley of MHPM.
Greg Ashley of MHPM Project Managers.
Photo by LOIS SIEGEL for the
Ottawa Business Journal.

An update to the way Public Works procures services from the private sector through its task and solutions professional services, or TSPS, methods of supply will likely save real estate developers the hassle of writing complicated proposals only to be rejected for not having the required technical merit, according to industry watchers.

As part of the refresh, announced in late July, Public Works is adding a fourth class of services that separates real property project management services from the management of IT projects and so on.

The new class will deal with most aspects of the real estate development life cycle, from portfolio planning to project inception, approvals and project delivery, according to an e-mail from Public Works spokesperson Sébastien Bois.

Specifically, interested companies will be required to provide information about the total value of the real property project – meaning the actual or anticipated amount to be spent on land and buildings upon completion of the work – as well as the value of just the professional services component of the project.

The change will include a new standing offer and a supply arrangement, for which firms will have to make two separate submissions, both due at the end of August.

While the regular procurement methods such as other standing offers and Merx postings continue to exist, the update is expected to make it easier to track real estate project opportunities, says Greg Ashley, vice-president and eastern Ontario regional manager for MHPM Project Managers Inc.

“Previously, there were many different project management (service opportunities) for IT and things that had nothing to do with real property,” says Mr. Ashley. “It’s now a more focused place to look.”

It likely won’t change MHPM’s response, but he notes he expects the update will indirectly benefit his company by expediting the proposal review process.

“Firms that are not prequalified will not be submitting proposals, so (the federal government) will be looking at fewer technically unsatisfactory submissions,” says Mr. Ashley.

As well, it’s a positive development for the firms that are hoping to be considered for government contracts, since it will help them to narrow their focus.

“It’s a good first step for companies to be told if they’re qualified or not, and if they haven’t been qualified, they haven’t spent the time writing a detailed proposal, which can be very demanding,” Mr. Ashley adds.

Keith Parker of The Proposal Centre, which specializes in helping companies qualify for government contracts, notes the change will allow the federal government to move from managing multiple standing offers across various divisions, with specific, narrow ranges of required services, to just one standing offer for real property project management services.

Mr. Parker speculates that the update may have something to do with the many upcoming renewal and fit-up projects the government is undertaking within the next five to 10 years, requiring a focused and efficient mechanism for procuring related services. It also makes allowances to recognize the differences between the management of real property contracts and other types of projects.

In any case, it’s a development to which those involved in real estate projects should pay attention, says Mr. Parker, since TSPS will likely be the main or only procurement vehicle for their services in the future.

“I’ve seen it with IT services for the TBIPS (task-based informatics professional services categories), where a good number of companies ignored or said they were happy with the projects they were currently running and didn’t see the need to get onto TBIPS. When the projects were up for renewal they couldn’t get in because they weren’t on TBIPS,” he says.

“If the pattern holds, we can expect that the same effect will happen with real property management firms.”

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