The stature of the surveying and geospatial profession in Washington, DC was recently enhanced by the launch of a bipartisan Construction Procurement Caucus in the U.S. Congress. 

On April 22, Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Peter Stauber (R-MN) launched the new caucus in a virtual news conference.   

The launch was moderated by John “JB” Byrd, of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, the lobbyist for the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), and managers of the United States Geospatial Executives Organization (U.S. GEO) and the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services (COFPAES). 

Unlike a political party or standing committee in Congress, a caucus is an informal group of House and Senate members who share a common interest on an issue or policy area. The CPC serves as a forum for lawmakers to discuss ways to improve efficiency in the federal government procurement process with the goal of promoting commonsense design and construction related services and procurement reforms to benefit the government, taxpayers and businesses of all sizes. 

“The federal government is the largest customer in the world and relies heavily on private business of all sizes when procuring goods and services. Doing so ensures a competitive marketplace, supports small businesses as engines of economic growth and enhances the use of innovative ideas, products, and services. However, navigating the process to begin identifying, bidding, and winning federal opportunities is complex. From knowing where to look for assistance to ensuring the proper bonding and compliance with the primary regulations governing federal acquisitions, our federal contractors need members of Congress to promote sensible reforms,” Peters and Stauber said in a press release announcing the caucus’s formation. 

The Federal government spends more than $20 billion per year on construction and about $600 million for surveying and mapping contracts. 

The caucus comes about a month after President Biden proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which has several proposals involving procurement. “Whatever you think of President Biden from a political standpoint, it’s so welcomed to have an ambitious list of things to work on,” Peters said. 

The goals and objectives of the caucus are to simplify the federal construction services procurement process, promote a competitive marketplace for federal construction services contract awards, support greater opportunities for businesses of all sizes in the federal marketplace and elevate procurement-related legislative opportunities.  

“I was an honor to be the moderator of the caucus’s kick-off event and to introduce Congressmen Peters and Stauber,” said Byrd.  “On behalf of NSPS, COFPAES and U.S. GEO, we’re pleased to give these organizations a seat at the table and an important role in advocacy for common sense procurement reform.  

The caucus will work closely with the Construction Industry Procurement Coalition, a group of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) and related services trade associations and professional societies. In addition to NSPS, COFPAES and U.S. GEO, CIPC members include the American Council of Engineering Companies, American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Subcontractors Association, Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Management Association of America, Design-Build Institute of America, Independent Electrical Contractors, International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants, National Association of Surety Bond Producers, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Surety & Fidelity Association of America, and Women Construction Owners & Executives. 

One of the goals of the CIPC will be to promote legislation that preserves, protects, and expands the qualifications based selection (QBS) process for architecture and engineering services, including surveying and mapping, Byrd noted. QBS, codified in the “Brooks Act”, has long been a priority for the design and geospatial community. 

“We hope to advance a construction procurement reform proposal in the near future,” Byrd said.