Seattle Tunnel Partners - DBE contracting opportunities
Construction projects that receive federal funding must hire certified disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) to complete a portion of the work within their contract. Because the work they are performing is partially funded by federal dollars, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), the contracting team responsible for building the SR 99 tunnel, is required to award a minimum of eight percent – or $91 million – to certified disadvantaged businesses. This contract requirement can be achieved by awarding enough work to DBE firms to meet the goal – which is WSDOT’s priority – or through documented good faith efforts.
Why design-build matters
WSDOT signed a design-build contract with STP in January 2011 for $1.35 billion. Unlike more traditional design-bid-build contracts, which ask contractors to build a design completed in advance by the owner, design-build projects combine design and construction in a single contract. WSDOT is increasingly using this contracting method as a way to minimize risk and build projects more efficiently.
Design-build projects differ from design-bid-build projects in the way they award work to DBE firms. Rather than requiring contractors to identify the DBE firms that will be utilized to meet the goal prior to signing the contract, design-builders can make contracting opportunities available throughout design and construction of the project. As a result, STP has until the end of their design-build contract in 2016 to achieve the DBE contract goal.
Because roughly half of Seattle Tunnel Partners’ construction has yet to be done, there remain significant opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to join the project. To learn about upcoming opportunities, receive information about STP’s procurement process, obtain a list of subcontractors, or request any other information or assistance, please contact the following coordinators:
- Dawn McIntosh, AWV Program DBE Manager – 206-805-2854 or McIntoD@wsdot.wa.gov
- Erin Lopez Nielsen, STP’s DBE Compliance Manager – 206-971-8214 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Small and large businesses that are not woman- or minority-owned should contact STP at 206-971-8701 or email@example.com.
- For information about how to become certified or to view the directory of certified DBE firms, visit the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises website.
- Information about WSDOT’s DBE support services program.
Progress to date
Through January 2014, Seattle Tunnel Partners reported $75 million in contracts to 82 certified DBE firms. Of this amount, $25 million is being counted toward the DBE contract requirement.
- Current list of DBE firms (pdf 198 kb)
Taking action to improve DBE utilization
DBE participation under the STP contract has long been an issue of concern for WSDOT. We recently took a number of additional steps to address STP’s lack of success in meeting the project’s DBE goal, including:
- Hiring a consultant to assess STP’s efforts to date and develop recommendations for maximizing DBE utilization through project completion.
- Assigning a dedicated staff member, Dawn McIntosh, to support and monitor STP’s efforts to increase DBE participation.
WSDOT will continue to work with STP to maximize the utilization of disadvantaged business enterprises throughout the remainder of this project.