Competitive Construction Procurement
It is the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) policy to encourage competition among contractors and equipment suppliers during construction procurement. Competition should result in lower costs to funding recipients and, over the long term, improved products. It is also equitable and discourages waste, fraud, and abuse.
Publicly-owned funding recipients typically advertise for prime contractors in accordance with state law. The purchase of equipment by construction contractors (or directly by funding recipients) must also be competitive. This is accomplished through the use of plans and specifications that promote competition. Consulting engineers must prepare plans and specifications that avoid restrictive content, unless specific conditions are needed for performance. Brand names may be used in specifications as long as two or more manufacturers or suppliers are listed as well as the words or-equal. There are three exceptions: (1) the “or equal” requirement is categorically waived for supplies and equipment being purchased under the Commonwealth’s Cooperative Purchasing Program (COSTARS); (2) the project being constructed is under the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA); (3) the equipment or service being purchased is approvable as a sole-sourced item.
As an example, a drinking water system might be awarded funding to procure 100 flow meters. If the system uses a particular brand name meter for the remaining 2,000 service connections, it may make sense to purchase the new meters from that same manufacturer. A funding applicant that feels such is the case should discuss it with their DEP Project Manager before purchasing the item. The use of a sole-source equipment supplier or service provider must be approved by PENNVEST prior to procuring the equipment or service.
The consulting engineer for all PENNVEST projects is required to complete the Specification Certification Form, 3850-FM-BCW0034, certifying that the project is in accord with PENNVEST competitive procurement policy. The form is provided to the DEP Project Manager prior to the application cut-off date. Further information on the competitive procurement process and a link to the Specification Certification Form can be found above.
Further information can also be obtained at the Planning Consultation Meetings. These meetings are held to help potential recipients of PENNVEST funding understand program requirements.
For further information concerning the PENNVEST competitive bidding process, contact:
DEP Regional Office where the project is located or
Municipal Finance Section
Division of Municipal Facilities
P.O. Box 8774
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8774