Water Resources:

Competition for Corps of Engineers Civil Construction Contracts

RCED-88-193: Published: Sep 29, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1988.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Army Corps of Engineers' contracting procedures for civil works projects to determine whether: (1) bidders competed fairly for Corps construction contracts; (2) Corps field offices uniformly applied contracting procedures; and (3) the Corps needed to improve its contracting procedures.

GAO found that: (1) the seven Corps districts it visited achieved full and open competition for 500 civil construction contracts awarded in 1986 and 1987; (2) the Corps awarded contracts totalling $255 million to small businesses under mandated small business set-aside programs, and $561 million in unrestricted contracts to both large and small businesses; and (3) there were no sustained protests of restrictive specifications in 54 civil construction contract protests filed in fiscal years 1986 and 1987. GAO also found that: (1) none of the 130 contractor representatives it contacted who did not compete for construction contracts indicated that they felt that the Corps' solicitations were restrictive; (2) although none of the representatives indicated that the Corps' recordkeeping requirements kept them from competing, 15 indicated that the requirements were either voluminous, costly, unnecessary, or redundant; and (3) the Corps contracted out almost all general construction under its civil works programs and about 40 percent of its civil engineering work.

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