DBIA Behind-the-Scenes: Training the Federal Government

by Geoff Corey  |  September 1, 2014

In this series, staff at the national headquarters of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) discuss the details of their efforts to define, teach and promote best practices in design-build. In this post, DBIA’s Manager of Legislative and Public Affairs, Geoff Corey, discusses the recent news that DBIA has been added to the GSA Schedule allowing federal agencies, along with some state and local entities, to conveniently purchase DBIA’s Design-Build Done Right education and training services.

The Federal Government does a lot of construction. So far there is an anticipated $10 billion allocated to the General Services Administration’s fiscal year 2015 capital projects budget, and that doesn’t even include federal transportation spending, which is even greater. So DBIA has always worked to train and educate federal officials in Design-Build Done Right, but in order to do so more efficiently, DBIA needed to have a GSA Schedule Contract.

The GSA Federal Supply Schedule, in its most basic sense, is a list of vendors the Federal Government can use to purchase goods and services; everything from pens and computers to classes and trainings. A vendor must hold a GSA Schedule Contract to be considered part of that list. There’s no law forbidding the Government from purchasing from companies or groups without Schedule Contracts, but as one of the largest buyers in the nation, the Federal Government gets solicited from many companies in the world. The list of vendors holding Schedule Contracts helps procurement officials narrow down their choices to those approved by the GSA, and it gives them a discount.

Despite not being on the GSA Schedule in the past, DBIA’s unique and valuable trainings have still been procured by Federal clients. This is mostly because the use of design-build has been growing so quickly that the Department of Justice, NASA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast guard (just to name a few) felt they needed training in Design-Build Done Right from the premier organization offering it. However, since DBIA did not have a Schedule Contract, agencies often had to solicit bids when they wanted training and then were required to choose the low-bidder, which is rarely the best value (as DBIA Best Practices emphasize). DBIA wanted to change that, and provide easier access to training from an organization whose mission is focused on design-build.

Our Director of Education Logistics, Mihisha Henderson, took on the challenging task.

“We were happy to work with GSA and others to negotiate the best value we could offer,” Henderson said. “There’s a very long application, so that GSA can do their due diligence to verify financial records and ensure that our past clients have been satisfied with our training.”

Henderson and our Education team worked with DBIA’s CEO, Lisa Washington, and representatives of the GSA to negotiate the discounted prices, services and terms covering DBIA’s training and professional development services under the program. This way when we submitted, we met all of their requirements. Just a month ago, we officially announced the award of the U.S. General Services Administration contract # GS-02F-105BA on SIN 874-4 for the seamless delivery of design-build training services to the U.S. government. GSA Schedule_Number_244x123

“We could not be more proud to become an authorized vendor on the GSA’s Federal Supply Schedule,” said DBIA’s CEO, Lisa Washington, CAE. “This contract award supports DBIA’s long-standing commitment to help public agencies better understand project delivery options and, when choosing design-build, achieve best value while meeting cost, schedule and quality goals.”

DBIA’s established excellence in training means we can immediately begin offering courses through the GSA Federal Supply Schedule that are focused, professional and the recognized industry standard. Purchases can be made directly from the GSA Schedule Contract, eliminating time-consuming responses to complex RFPs and lengthy negotiations.

“This was a lot of hard work, and our success is owed to so many people involved with DBIA,” Henderson said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the new clients this contract will allow us to educate.” For more information on DBIA’s offerings, visit DBIA’s website here.