Text: H.R.3492 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/31/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3492


To assure quality and best value with respect to Federal construction projects by prohibiting the practice known as bid shopping.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 31, 2009

Mr. Kanjorski introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


A BILL

To assure quality and best value with respect to Federal construction projects by prohibiting the practice known as bid shopping.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Construction Quality Assurance Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) In the construction industry, specialty subcontractors now perform the majority of construction work, in certain cases 100 percent of the work, under the management of a prime contractor, making the subcontractors’ price and performance the key determinant in the overall cost of construction projects, including those performed for the Federal Government.

(2) Detrimental practices known as “bid shopping” and “bid peddling” exist in the construction industry, including construction projects for the Federal Government.

(3) “Bid shopping” occurs when a contractor, after award of a contract, contracts with subcontractors at a price less than the quoted price of the subcontractor upon which the contractor’s fixed bid price was based, in order to increase the contractor’s profit on the project without any benefit to the entity for which the contract is being performed.

(4) “Bid peddling” occurs when a subcontractor that is not selected for inclusion in a contractor’s team seeks to induce the contractor, after award of the contract, to substitute the subcontractor for another subcontractor whose bid price was reflected in the successful bid of the contractor by offering to reduce its price for performance of the specified work, suggesting that the previous offer of the subcontractor was padded or incorrect.

(5) Bid shopping and bid peddling—

(A) threaten the integrity of the competitive bid system for construction that benefits the Federal Government, the construction industry, and the economy of the United States as a whole;

(B) compromise national security by promoting uncertainty about which contractors actually perform work on critical infrastructure projects;

(C) deprive taxpayers of the benefits of full and open competition among prospective contractors and subcontractors for the performance of Federal construction projects;

(D) expose Federal construction projects to the dangers of substandard performance, substitution of lower quality materials, and other detrimental cost-cutting practices by an unscrupulous substituted subcontractor; and

(E) can be effectively deterred in Federal construction by modifying the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require bid listing, which is the practice of requiring each offeror for a Federal construction contract to list the subcontractors whose performance is reflected in the bid price, procedures for the substitution of listed subcontractors for good cause, and other deterrents to abuse.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) CONTRACT.—The term “contract” means any contract with the Federal Government, exceeding $1,000,000 in amount, for the construction, alteration, or repair of any public building or public work of the United States.

(2) CONTRACTOR.—The term “contractor” means an individual or entity that has been awarded or is seeking to be awarded a construction contract by the Federal Government.

(3) SUBCONTRACTOR.—The term “subcontractor” means an individual or entity that subcontracts with a contractor in an amount in excess of $100,000 for work on a contract.

SEC. 4. Requirements regarding subcontractors for Federal contractors on construction projects.

(a) Requirement To List Subcontractors.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each solicitation by an executive agency for the procurement of construction in an amount in excess of $1,000,000 shall require each bidder to submit as part of its bid the name, location of the place of business, and nature of the work of each subcontractor with whom the bidder, if awarded the contract, will subcontract for work in an amount in excess of $100,000 on the contract.

(2) REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIFIC CATEGORIES.—

(A) Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C), the bidder shall list only one subcontractor for each category of work as defined by the bidder in its bid or proposal.

(B) A bidder may list multiple subcontractors for a category of work if each such subcontractor is listed to perform a discrete portion of the work within a category.

(C) A bidder may list itself for any portion of work under the contract, which shall be deemed a representation by the bidder that it is fully qualified to perform that portion of the work itself and that the bidder will perform that portion itself.

(3) RESULT OF FAILURE TO LIST SUBCONTRACTORS.—An executive agency shall consider any bidder that fails to list subcontractors in accordance with this Act and the regulations promulgated pursuant to section 7 of this Act to be non-responsive and bids by such bidders shall not be considered.

(b) Procedures for Substitution of a Listed Subcontractor.—

(1) CONSENT AND GOOD CAUSE REQUIRED.—No contractor shall substitute a subcontractor in place of the subcontractor listed in the original bid or proposal, except with the consent of the contracting officer for good cause.

(2) EXAMPLES OF GOOD CAUSE.—Good cause under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A) Failure of the subcontractor to execute a written contract after a reasonable period if such written contract, based upon the terms, conditions, plans, and specifications of the contract and the terms of the subcontractor’s bid or proposal, is presented to the subcontractor by the contractor.

(B) Bankruptcy of the subcontractor.

(C) The death or physical disability of the subcontractor, if the subcontractor is an individual.

(D) Dissolution of the subcontractor, if the subcontractor is a corporation or partnership.

(E) Failure of a subcontractor to meet the surety bond requirements specified by the bidder as a condition of the subcontractor to perform on the contract, if awarded to the bidder.

(F) The subcontractor is ineligible to perform on the subcontract because the subcontractor is suspended, debarred, or otherwise ineligible to perform.

(G) A series of failures by the subcontractor to perform in accordance with the specification, terms, and conditions of its subcontract resulting in the withholding of amounts requested by the subcontractor in accordance with section 3905 of title 31, United States Code, and the regulations implementing such section.

(H) Failure of the subcontractor to comply with a requirement of law applicable to the subcontractor.

(I) Failure or refusal of the subcontractor to perform the subcontract.

(3) REQUESTS FOR SUBSTITUTION.—A request of a contractor for a substitution of a listed subcontractor shall be submitted in writing to the contracting officer and shall include the reasons for the request. The contractor shall provide a copy of its request for substitution to the listed subcontractor by any means that provides written third-party verification of delivery to the last known address of the subcontractor. A subcontractor who has been so notified shall have five working days within which to submit written objections to the substitution to the contracting officer. Failure to file such written objections shall constitute the consent of the listed subcontractor to the substitution.

(c) Limitation on Assignment, Transfer, or Substitution.—

(1) LIMITATION ON ASSIGNMENT OR TRANSFER.—No contractor shall permit any subcontract to be voluntarily assigned or transferred or to be performed by any entity other than the subcontractor listed in the bid or proposal without the consent of the contracting officer. Consent of the contracting officer to a contractor for a substitution shall—

(A) be promptly made in writing; and

(B) be included in the contract file.

(2) LIMITATION ON SUBSTITUTION.—No contractor that listed itself for a portion of the work under the contract shall subcontract any portion of the work for which it listed itself, unless authorized by the contracting officer to substitute one or more subcontractors to perform such work.

SEC. 5. Penalties.

(a) In general.—

(1) A contractor shall be subject to penalties if, without obtaining the approval of the contracting officer, the contractor—

(A) replaces a listed subcontractor for a contract with an executive agency; or

(B) awards a subcontract to a subcontractor to perform work which the contractor had identified as work to be performed directly by the contractor.

(2) A subcontractor shall also be subject to penalties if the subcontractor is determined to have knowingly participated in the failure of the contractor to comply with the regulatory provisions relating to the substitution of a listed subcontractor.

(b) Amount of penalties To be imposed.—The amount of penalties imposed under this section shall be equal to the greater of—

(1) 10 percent of the amount of the bid by the listed subcontractor;

(2) the difference between the amount of the bid by the listed subcontractor and the amount of the bid by the substituted subcontractor; or

(3) the difference between the amount of the bid by a substituted subcontractor and the dollar value specified by the contractor for the work which the contractor had listed for its own performance.

(c) Source of funds for penalties.—Penalties assessed pursuant to this section shall be deducted from the remaining unpaid contract balance and deposited into the fund from which the contract was awarded.

SEC. 6. Grounds for suspension or debarment.

The imposition of penalties on a contractor or subcontractor for failure to comply with the procedures for the substitution of subcontractors on 2 contracts within a 3-year period shall be deemed to be adequate evidence of the commission of an offense indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects the present responsibility of a Government contractor within the meaning of part 9.4 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (Debarment, Suspension, and Eligibility) (48 CFR 9.4).

SEC. 7. Implementation through the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

(a) Proposed Revisions.—Proposed revisions to the Government-wide Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement the provisions in this Act shall be published not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and provide not less than 60 days for public comment.

(b) Final Regulations.—Final regulations shall be published not less than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and shall be effective on the date that is 30 days after the date of publication.


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