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  • Question

    Is there any benefits to using UCF vs CSI for construction projects or vice versa? Also, can a SF1449 be used in lieu of a SF1442 when doing a construction using Far Part 13?


    Answer

    The standard practice is to use the CSI format for construction contracts.  The reason being the commercial construction industry is familiar with this format and therefore know how to find and read the specs in the contract which leads to more competition and better pricing.  While the FAR prescribes the use of the UCF format for most contracting actions, FAR 14.201-1 exempts construction from the use of UCF, and most DoD construction organizations prefer to use the CSI format for construction in lieu of UCF.  However, there are some agencies that prefer using UCF for small projects and CSI for larger ones.  The ACOE uses CSI for all of their contracts.  It is hard to think of any advantages of UCF over CSI, but contract writing systems in some agencies may not be well suited for CSI, in which case those agencies may have very little choice but to use UCF for their construction contracts.  If an agency uses this format, the Guide Specifications should still be utilized for describing the technical requirements, and normally would be incorporated into Part III, Section J.  The drawings would also be incorporated into this section.

    Construction Specification Institute Format:

    (1)         The Pre-Award Documents:

    •            Cover sheet

    •            Table of Contents

    •            Standard Form 1442

    •            Bidding Schedule

    •            Continuation Sheet

    •            Representations and Certifications (https://beta.sam.gov/)

    •            Bid Bond Forms

    •            Instructions & Information to Bidders

    (2)         Post Award Information

    •            Clauses

    •            Labor Standard Clauses

    •            Labor Rates

    (3)         Technical Information

    •            Technical Specification

    •            Drawings, as an attachment

    Uniform Contract Format has four parts and 13 sections as follows:

    •  Part I – The Schedule (Sections A-H)

    •  Part II – Contract Clauses (Section I) •  Part III – List of Documents, Exhibits and Other Attachments (Section J) •  Part IV – Representations and Instructions (Sections K-M)

    According to FAR 36.701(a), the SF 1442 is not required if the construction procurement is at or below the SAT, but the SF 1442 may be used and can be beneficial because it already includes in the form some important details such as notice to proceed.  Also, construction contractors as well as their government counterparts are more familiar with the SF 1442 and where to find important information in the form.  However, I did not see any prohibition in the FAR/DFARS for use of the SF 1449 for construction at or below the SAT.

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