Third of three parts: how to write municipal mobile equipment specifications in the new decade

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

When faced with the responsibility of preparing mobile equipment specifications for your city, county, agency or municipality, do not stress, take a deep breath and remember what we covered in these series of articles. Although you may have had little or no formal training in writing these specifications or performing mobile equipment market research, I hope these guidelines have helped you on the road towards completing a project.

In the July 2010 issue of Waste Advantage Magazine, I discussed how to get started when assigned the task of writing specification, including defining what you need, organizing a quote and a bid, the types of specifications and what to avoid. The second part (August 2010) covered research and putting it on paper. In the final part of this series, we will discuss wrapping up the process and double checking any points that need to be addressed before completion.

I’m Almost Done but I’m Not Sure, What If … ?
After your specifications have been completed and reviewed with your user agency and maintenance authority, they may require submission to an additional administrative authority for review and approval. In Miami-Dade County, the Fleet Management Division of the General Services Administration has been charged with the responsibility for review and approval of all mobile equipment specifications prior to solicitation by the Department of Procurement Management. Specifications are reviewed for completeness, applicability to the job’s work requirements, open and competitive nature, conformance with industry standards, attention to safety standards and proper specification writing methodology. A good eye is kept on need versus want as described in earlier articles.

When your solicitation package is being prepared for bidding by the appropriate agency in your municipality, you may consider the applicability of including a Pre-bid Conference, a Pre-construction Conference and/or a Prototype Inspection with your user agency and procurement authorities.

A Pre-Bid Conference
A Pre-bid Conference is recommended when specifications are complex, quantities are large, contractual terms are long and the resulting competition is expected to be fierce. This conference provides an opportunity for prospective bidders to ask questions, clarify issues, provide additional input and raise items or issues about the specifications that may require correction prior to bid submission. The value of the Pre-bid Conference for complex solicitations cannot be overstated. A Pre-bid Conference should never be considered as a substitute for doing all appropriate product research during the development of the specifications.

A Pre-Construction Conference
A Pre-construction Conference is recommended when the specifications are complex, the equipment is expensive and specialized, or any of the agencies involved feel it will be beneficial to review the build of the vehicle in great detail with the awarded vendor prior to construction. In this type of conference, the unit’s specifications and construction are reviewed on a line-by-line basis. It is valuable to have representatives ranging from the equipment’s operators to maintenance division supervisors in attendance. Areas that may become of particular interest in this type of conference include equipment controls or placements of lines, hoses and filters and other items that may not be fully described in the specifications or awarded vendor’s bid proposal.

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