Negotiations on the federal budget and a possible government shutdown weren’t the only issues taking place on Capitol Hill last week. Ramtech and a contingent of modular building company representatives organized by the Modular Building Institute went to the U.S. House of Representatives to lobby members of Congress on the use of modular construction as a viable alternative to conventional site construction. As part of a planned follow-up to last year’s testimony on contracting and procurement practices to the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, the delegation met with the staffs of current Committee Members; Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Bill Flores (R-TX) to seek relief from the Veterans Administrations’ restrictive practice of using design-bid-build (D-B-B) as its primary project delivery system.
Ramtech and the other MBI members spoke to the economic and practical benefits of using the more flexible and favorable design-build project delivery system commonly used by many states and municipalities for infrastructure and building requirements. Because the D-B-B process is normally so prescriptive toward conventional site construction, more cost effective building methods like modular construction and pre-engineered steel or tilt-wall are not allowed an opportunity to bid. In a period of ballooning budget deficits, design-build procurement would offer the federal government a way to ensure more choice and value in project offerings, with the added benefit of compressing construction timelines.
The MBI delegation was also able to discuss a wide variety of topics impacting the modular industry with the staffs of Representatives Frank Guinta (R-NH), Robert Hurt (R-VA) and Todd Rokita (R-IN) who serve on committees covering Appropriations, Financial Services, Military Construction (MILCON), Natural Resources, Transportation & Infrastructure, Education, and Workforce.