Step 5. Bid the Job

Send your proposal to the right vendors.

Tags

Procurement

How to do it

There are two commonly used tools to solicit and evaluate potential vendors for your project:

  • Request for Proposals (RFP). An RFP is a document that outlines the requirements for your specific project. Use the RFP process to solicit bids from vendors and identify which vendor might be the best qualified to complete the project. Click here to request our sample RFP template and solicitation documentation checklist.
  • Request for Quotes (RFQ). An RFQ is an abbreviated version of the RFP that is also used to vet potential vendors. RFQs, however, are less detailed with respect to project design and implementation and more focused on organizational experience and background. They are commonly used for smaller projects.

Why do it

  • An RFP clearly states your project priorities and clarifies expectations and outcomes for the project for both your company and the vendors.
  • Receiving at least three bids from contractors helps you accurately compare costs, approach, services, timeline, etc.
  • Answers to an RFP provide information to help you assess contractor experience and qualifications.
  • The process may also reveal different strategies you had not considered previously.
  • You can have higher confidence your chosen contractor is aligned with your goals and is the best fit from available options.

Key decision: project delivery method

To write an RFP or RFQ, you need to define your scope of work and decide what type(s) of services you need. These include:

  • Single-vendor service contract. Solicited through an RFQ, these contracts are usually for small-scale projects that are less complicated or focused on a single improvement measure, such as lighting replacement or roofing repairs.
  • General contractor contract. General contractors, solicited through an RFP, implement larger construction projects and engage the various trades needed to undertake multi-measure projects. These projects require a closer assessment to ensure that subcontractors are reputable and will provide the desired end result.
  • Pay for performance contract. These contracts pay after satisfactory completion of construction outcomes—generally defined as meeting energy consumption and savings targets. This method ensures the work meets the designated performance standard.
  • Energy Service Company (ESCO) contract. ESCOs and other full-service energy companies are often used for larger, complex, or specialized whole-building projects and provide a guaranteed energy savings.

Key decision: managing equal access to information

A fair procurement process attempts to give all bidders an equal playing field. A key part of this is ensuring that whatever one vendor knows, all vendors know. This is usually addressed by inviting all bidders to any live conversations and recording them, and by ensuring all vendors see the responses you have for any question submitted by another vendor. By providing the same information to all vendors, you contribute to a fair and transparent procurement process.

Equity & inclusion

  • Go beyond your immediate circles to look for potential vendors. Note that asking peers for their contractor recommendations is helpful, but may contribute to inequities if your peers have limited diversity in their contractors.
  • Be explicit in your RFP about your requirements and commitment to diversity and inclusion in your procurement process. Examples include:
    • Your RFP should specifically indicate “A Notice of Intent to Award” to diverse firms with recommended wording such as, “All bidder/proposers shall make every reasonable effort to utilize certified-diverse vendors for the work/services of the Solicitations.”
    • Require bidders to submit Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) subcontractor/business utilization plan.
    • Require bidders to show evidence of “good-faith efforts” to solicit diverse firms as part of their bid strategy. This is especially important if they do not have a diverse team.
    • Identify reporting and tracking requirements to measure the results of these efforts.

Where to advertise

  • Publish it on your company website
  • Announce through local, relevant trade and professional associations
  • Distribute via the Building Innovation Hub’s Find-a-Vendor Service

Where to find qualified vendors

Depending on your scope of work, use the following to locate potential qualified vendors.

 

Finding qualified vendors for your project

  • Where to find help

    • Contact the University of the District of Columbia to find graduates from their HVAC-R Certified Technician Program.
    • DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development maintains a database of Certified Business Enterprise Certified contractors by trade. Relevant codes to search include:
      • 924700: HVAC System Testing, Balancing and Troubleshooting Services
      • 9101700: Energy Computerized Control System (HVAC, Lighting, Utilities, etc) Installation, Maintenance and Repair Services
      • 9145000: Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • 9100410: Cleaning Services, Commercial HVAC System and Air Duct
      • 0314582: Filters, HVAC
      • 0315320: Diffusers, HVAC
      • 9103634: Inspection and Maintenance of HVAC Filters
      • 9103644: Maintenance of the Pneumatic and Electric HVAC Temperature Controls System

    Qualifications to look for

    EPA 608 Certification, including:

    • EPA Type I Certification – For Servicing Small Appliances
    • EPA Type II Certification – For Servicing High Pressure Systems
    • EPA Type III Certification – For Servicing Low Pressure Systems
    • Universal EPA Certificate
    • North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
  • Where to find help

    DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development maintains a database of Certified Business Enterprise Certified contractors by trade. Relevant codes to search include:

    • 9315300: Lighting Fixtures Maintenance and Repair
    • 2855400: Lighting Fixtures, Indoor: All Kinds and Parts (Including Lampholders and Recycled Types)
    • 2855600: Lighting Fixtures, Outdoor: Floodlights, Spotlights, Yard Lights, and all other Weatherproof Fixtures (Except Streetlights) (Including Recycled Types)
    • 2855700: Lighting, Solar Powered
    • 2852700: Control Devices, Lighting (Including Photocells, Multiple Relays, Lighting Contactors)
    • 9101700: Energy Computerized Control System (HVAC, Lighting, Utilities, etc) Installation, Maintenance and Repair Services
    • 8554600: Lighting Control Systems: Memory and Computer/Microprocessor Type
    • 9065800: Lighting (Interior, Exterior) – Architectural Services
    • 2201400: Energy Computerized Control Systems for HVAC, Lighting, Utilities, etc. Combination
    • 5595500: Lamps/Lighting, Interior and Exterior
    • 8554410: Dimmers, Lighting
    • 2857347: Relays, Lighting Control
    • 2855063: Lamps, Incandescent, Light Emitting Diode (LED)

    Qualifications to look for

    • Lighting Certified: The National Council for the Qualification of the Lighting Professions (NCQLP). Demonstrates proficiency in lighting design and application.
    • Certified Lighting Efficiency Professional. The Association of Energy Engineers. Demonstrates proficiency in delivering energy-efficient nonresidential lighting system
    • Certified Lighting Controls Professional: The International Association of Lighting Management Companies. Demonstrates proficiency in the fundamentals of lighting-control system design, application and commissioning.
    • Certified Sustainable Lighting Consultant: The International Association of Lighting Management Companies. Demonstrates proficiency in lighting energy management.
  • Where to find help

    DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development maintains a database of Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) certified contractors by trade. Relevant codes to search include:

    • 8200000: Steam and Hot Water Boilers and Steam Heating Equipment
    • 9412500: Boiler Maintenance and Repair, Steam (including Testing Services)
    • 9415600: Hydrostatic Testing Services, Boiler

    Qualifications to look for

  • Where to find help

    DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development maintains a database of Certified Business Enterprise Certified contractors by trade. Relevant codes to search include:

    • 9618900: Weatherization Audit Service
    • 4407700: Window Glass
    • 9093700, 5593100: Doors and Windows
    • 9107900: Window Installation, Maintenance and Repair (Metal)
    • 9108000: Window Installation, Maintenance, and Repair (Wood)
    • 9105400: Painting, Maintenance and Repair Services (Including Caulking)
    • 9145300: Insulation
    • 9145500: Masonry
    • 9147300: Roofing and Siding
    • 9107800: Weather and Waterproofing Maintenance and Repair Services
    • 9189100: Roofing Consultant
    • 9689400: Waterproofing Systems and Repair

    Qualifications to look for:

    • ASTM/NIBS Certified Building Enclosure Professional
    • International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC) certifications include:
      • Registered Roof Consultant (RRC)
      • Registered Roof Observer (RRO)
      • Registered Waterproofing Consultant (RWC)
      • Registered Exterior Wall Consultant (REWC)
      • Registered Exterior Wall Observer (REWO)
      • Registered Building Enclosure Consultant (RBEC)
      • Certified Building Enclosure Commissioning Provider (CBECxP)
  • Who does this?

    • DCSEU provides rebates for specific products and vendors

    What qualifications to look for?

    ENERGY STAR-certified appliances are the industry standard that are often eligible for utility rebates. The appliances with the greatest energy efficiency are washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

  • Where to find help

    Qualifications to look for

    North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) board certifications:

    • PV Installer Specialist (PVIS)
    • PV Design Specialist (PVDS)
    • PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist (PVCMS
    • PV Installation Professional (PVIP)
    • PV System Inspector (PVSI)
    • PV Technical Sales (PVTS)
  • Where to find help?

    What qualifications to look for

    Licenses and other qualifications

    • Certified Commissioning Professional: Building Commissioning Association
    • Certified Commissioning Provider: Associated Air Balancing Council Commissioning Group
    • Accredited Commissioning Process Provider: University of Wisconsin, Madison
    • Systems Commissioning Administrator: National Environmental Balancing Bureau
    • Certified Building Commissioning Professional: Association of Energy Engineers
  • There is no single resource for occupant engagement and education. The Hub has produced a few related guides, What Commercial Tenants Need To Know About BEPS and a Commercial Tenant Playbook, to help building owners and operators communicate with their tenants. The EPA has a list of resources and case studies about how to engage tenants in energy efficiency. Additionally, the Institute for Market Transformation’s The Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership Efficiency Toolkit provides strategies for both landlords and tenants to work together to achieve energy savings.

linkedin facebook twitter

Questions or Feedback?