Department of Homeland Security Elaborates on its Anticipated Request for Border-Wall “Prototypes”

border-wall DHS prototype

Last week, we reported that the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had published a presolicitation notice announcing its intent to issue a solicitation “for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico.”  On Friday, March 3, CBP amended that notice “to provide additional information to interested bidders” and address “a revision in strategy.”  The revised solicitation includes several significant changes that will be of interest to contractors and other observers.

To begin, the amended notice provides more information about the actual requirements that CBP anticipates including in the solicitation.  According to the notice, CBP expects to request a design for a concrete structure, approximately thirty feet in height, which “will meet requirements for aesthetics, anti-climbing, and resistance to tampering or damage.”

The amended notice now explicitly invokes the “Two Phase Design Build Procedures” under FAR 36.3.  It also provides a revised timeline for the procurement allowing more time, for proposal preparation and evaluation:

  • On or about March 8, 2017: solicitation anticipated to issue

  • March 20, 2017: “vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors”

  • On or about May 3, 2017: “down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP, including pricing”

Consistent with the original notice, the amendment states that CBP will likely issue multiple award Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts and provide options for additional miles of wall.

Indeed, the notice now explains that, although the procurement will “provide some initial construction of some wall segments,” it “is not intended as the vehicle for the procurement of the total wall solution for the border with Mexico,” perhaps in part because funding for the entire project has not yet been appropriated.  This statement signals that another solicitation will likely follow the one announced last week.

A number of questions raised in our previous post remain, and will hopefully be answered in the next few days in the full solicitation.  Observers also should keep watch for a subsequent solicitation at some point in the future that will address the completion of the border wall.

© 2017 Covington & Burling LLP

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