Rep Cmte Small Business


Hanna Subcommittee Examines Federal Contracting Challenges for Small Construction Firms

Washington, May 23, 2013 -

The House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, under the chairmanship of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), today held a hearing exposing problems faced by small construction, architecture and engineering firms who wish to do business with the federal government, and exploring potential solutions.

The hearing specifically addressed ongoing challenges with four key issues: surety bonds, the use of reverse auctions for construction services, subcontracting credit allowances, and the procurement process for design-build contracts. 

“Small construction contractors often do good work at a more affordable price than larger competitors, but first, they must get through a bureaucratic obstacle course. We need a clearer path for small construction businesses to compete for these federal government contracts,” said Subcommittee Chairman Hanna. “I’ve been a construction contractor, so I know these challenges well. The construction industry has taken hard hits in this economy, but making more work available to small contractors will help create the middle-class jobs we desperately need. Small firms are vital to our federal procurement system and save money for taxpayers, so this Subcommittee will continue working to enable them to compete and thrive.”

Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Mark McCallum, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Surety Bond Producers, Washington, DC, said that NASBP views“H.R. 776 as a critical means to protect taxpayers, federal contracting entities, and construction businesses of all sizes by assuring the integrity of surety bonds on federal contracts when issued by individuals using a pledge of assets.”

Thomas J. Kelleher, Jr. Senior Partner, Smith, Currie and Hancock, Atlanta, GA, testifying on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America, said, “AGC strongly recommends that Congress reform the federal procurement process to ( l) count lower tier small business subcontractors towards small business subcontracting goals; and (2) prohibit reverse auction procurement for construction services.”

Helene Combs Dreiling, First Vice President, The American Institute of Architects, Roanoke, VA, testifying on behalf of the American Institute of Architects, said, “we respectfully ask that the Committee consider limiting the use of single-step design-build to projects that are less than $750,000 . . . [to] allow for more small businesses to participate in the process. This limit allows smaller firms to gain valuable experience and exposure to the federal construction process, while also limiting federal agencies’ burdens in reviewing a large number of proposals.”