MDEM Request for Qualifications: Questions and Answers


Q.

There are explicit outline evaluation factors spelled out in paragraph 3 of page 78 of the RFQ. However, there is a Submission Format and Content with sections listed on pages 7-9 that do not match the outline on page 78. Since these seem to contradict each other, which submittal outline is preferred?

A.

Section 2 (see pages 7-9) is intended only as guidance for development of the information to be supplied as per Attachment 2 (beginning on page 78). The outline described in Attachment 2 should be followed.


Q.

There is discussion of detailed methodologies, but neither outline specifically shows a section for that. Should methodologies be submitted in their own section independent of the sections outlined on pages 7-9 and 78?

A.

Methodologies should be included in the proposal as a part of the sections outlined in Attachment 2 (beginning on page 78).


Q.

In Section 3 (see page 9), it is stated that documentation is required “that the person in responsible charge of the work is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Mississippi in good standing with the Mississippi Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors.” Is it allowed that the person in responsible charge of the work be a Professional Licensed Surveyor in the State of Mississippi instead of an engineer?

A.

The “person in responsible charge of the work” must be a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Mississippi in good standing with the Mississippi Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. Land surveying certification and/or licensure will not substitute.


Q.

The Key Personnel Section on page 34 shows “Chief Engineer” as one of four key personnel. Can the Chief Engineer on a team be an employee of a subcontractor, or must he/she work for the prime contractor? Also, can the Chief Engineer be a surveyor?

A.

The Chief Engineer may be an employee of the prime contractor or an employee of a subcontractor. The Chief Engineer must be a Professional Engineer registered in the state of Mississippi.


Q.

Part III, Section 3, Supporting Information, Item E, requires that the “person in responsible charge of the work” be a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Mississippi. Does this requirement apply to both the orthoimagery and to the DFIRM portion of the RFQ?

A

It applies to both the statewide orthoimagery portion of the RFQ as well as to the DFIRM development portion of the RFQ.


Q.

Part III, Section 3, Supporting Information, Item E, (see page 9) requires that the “person in responsible charge of the work” be a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Mississippi. May this person be a member of a subcontractor to a prime contractor or subcontractor to a Joint Venture?

A.

The “person in responsible charge of the work” may be an employee of the prime contractor or an employee of a subcontractor of the prime. The Chief Engineer must be a Professional Engineer registered in the state of Mississippi.


Q.

On page 7, under Section 1, what project number should we use?

A.

Include the Project Name only since no project number has been assigned yet. The Project Name will be: "RFQ for Technical Support For Development of Phase I of Mississippi's Digital Earth Model (MDEM): State-Wide Digital Oprthoimagery and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps.”


Q.

On page 60 - "submit a list of all or 5 contracts and subcontracts completed in the last 5 years" - all up to a maximum of 5? Are we limited to listing 5 current contracts?

A.

List only those contracts germane to determining your qualifications to perform the work covered by this RFQ. You must submit the following: (1) a list all contracts or subcontracts germane to determining your qualifications to perform the work covered by this RFQ completed in the last five years with a maximum of five to be listed – if your company has completed less than five contracts then list only those contracts; and (2) all current contracts and subcontracts germane to determining your qualifications to perform the work covered by this RFQ in progress.


Q.

Can a font size smaller than 10 (Part III – Submission Requirements, Submission Format and Content, page 7) be used on org charts and other exhibits?

A.

Font size smaller than 10 may be used on organizational charts and similar exhibits, as long as they are legible.


Q.

The RFQ says nothing about development of the 7 framework data layers as part of the “Phase I” contract, other than the orthoimagery and associated DEM. Will this element be added as a later task order, or contracted separately?

A.

This RFQ is only for development of digital orthoimagery and development of DFIRMs. Separate RFQs will be issued for any additional state-wide work on the seven framework data layers.


Q.

Attachment 2, Factor C, (see page 79) – Is the detailed information (items a. through k.) to be provided only for the 4 Key Personnel identified on p. 34, or for all individuals named in the submittal

A.

At a minimum, detailed information must be provided on the key personnel identified in Part VII. Special Contract Requirements – Key Personnel (see page 34). You may elect to provide information on other personnel that you deem pertinent to the success of the project.


Q.

Part IV, Phase 1 scope of work. Item a. Page 10 – When and by whom will the film type be determined?

A.

By MDEQ (on behalf of the Mississippi Coordinating Council on Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems) before work orders are issued.


Q.

When will the specific areas of collection be provided by the State? Will the areas be provided in a geospatial format with an indication of the various resolutions in each area required for the project?

A.

The areas to be provided in a geospatial format with an indication of the various resolutions in each area required for the project will be provided by MDEQ (on behalf of the Mississippi Coordinating Council on Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems) before work orders are issued.


Q.

The Phase II SOW does not specify .5 ft resolution orthoimagery as a deliverable, although this resolution is mentioned in Part IV A (see page 10), among other areas. Will .5-ft resolution orthos be required for some areas?

A.

Although 1 foot and 2 foot resolution orthoimagery will be the standard for most areas to be flown, there may be occasions where cities provide additional funding to develop 0.5 foot resolution imagery.


Q.

Is tonal balancing required for the digital orthophoto imagery?

A.

Yes.


Q.

Is correction of above ground features required for this project?

A.

Possibly, on 0.5-foot resolution orthophotography.


Q.

Will the final orthophotography products be required in a compressed format such as MrSID or ECW?

A.

Final product formats will be determined by MDEQ (on behalf of the Mississippi Coordinating Council on Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems) before work orders are issued (see page 11).


Q.

Has the independent QA/QC Agent (see page 10) already been selected by the State? If not, will this be a separate solicitation?

A.

The QA/QC contractor has not been selected by the State. There will be no separate solicitation for the QA/QC contractor.


Q.

Attachment 2, Factor D, par.3 (p. 79) – How does “a plan for the quality assurance, quality control (QA/QC) procedures” differ or relate to Factor E?

A.

They are the same.


Q.

On page 62, if the QA/QC Plan is to be a separate and identifiable document, is it included in the 50 pages? It is not listed specifically as part of Section 2 or 3 on pages 7-9 (other than it is part of the Technical Evaluation Factors in Appendix 1) which is where the 50 page limit is defined

A.

The QA/QC Plan is not counted in the 50 page maximum and may be included as an appendix to the LOQ submittal.


Q.

The RFQ states that an independent QA/QC agent will be selected and compensated by the Council. Will this independent agent be responsible for all QA/QC, such as digital orthos, LiDAR data, Planimetric/Topo Data & maps, Hydrology & Hydraulics data, DFIRM Maps, etc., or will some of these services reside with the successful firm proposing on this RFQ?

A.

The successful firm should have an internal QA/QC program in place. However, the Council’s independent QA/QC agent will be responsible for providing QA/QC on all aspects of the project before various deliverables are accepted by the Council.


Q.

Will separate QA/QC contractors be used for the Orthophotography and for the DFIRM portions of this RFQ?

A.

Possibly, but not necessarily.


Q.

Are their opportunities (as with similar projects) for firms to firewall off or compartmentize the production/delivery of products from the QA/QC services and offer both?

A.

Separate firms will be selected as prime contractor(s) and as QA/QC contractor(s).


Q.

Are federal forms 254 and 255 required for the prime and all subcontractors or just for the prime contractor?

A.

Federal Form 254 and 255 are required for the prime and all subcontractors.


Q.

Does Mississippi DEQ want 15 copies of Federal Forms 254/255 as well as the Letter of Qualifications?

A.

MDEQ will require one executed original of each of the forms from the prime and all subcontractors. In addition, MDEQ will need 14 photocopies of the executed originals. The executed originals will remain in the contracting office and become part of the original contract; the photocopies will be used for the independent evaluation team.


Q.

Much of the information in the Letter of Qualifications is also part of a Federal Form 255 (past projects, résumés, approach, etc.). Do you want duplicative information? Is there any page limitation on Block 10 of Form 255? Is the information typically contained in Block 10 expected to be included in the Letter of Qualifications?

A.

The intent of the SF 254 and 255 is to evaluate the qualifications of each contractor, both prime and subs. The contractor may annotate in their LOQ the portions of Attachment 1 that are included on the 254 and 255 and not duplicate that information. The federal form 254 and 255 doesn't count against the 50 pages.


Q.

On page 6 of the RFQ, under submission requirements, it is stated that Federal Forms 254 and 255 should also be submitted with the LOQ. The SF 255 includes duplicate information that is required in other parts of the LOQ such as subcontractors, resumes, project descriptions, etc. Does the MDEQ want us to submit this duplicate information for its review?

A.

Federal Forms 254 and 255 must be completed in total. Federal Forms 254 and 255 do not count against the 50 page limit.


Q.

In terms of the bonding requirement (p. 49), is it possible that a single contract will be executed for the entire amount of Parts 1 and 2 of potentially $13.5 million (rf. Part II – Project Description, pp. 5-6); or will the contract amount be limited to $10 million (rf. Part VI – Contract Administration Data, Terms of Payment, I Contractual Limit, p. 29)?

A.

Bonding will be incremental, as a part of individual work orders issued under the contract. Bonding will not be required for the entire project(s) at the beginning of the contract. Bonding will be required for incomplete work orders or and at the beginning of new work orders.


Q.

Is the bond required as a part of the submittal, or will it be required at the time of contract execution?

A.

Bonding will be required at the time of contract execution.


Q.

If there are no known Conflicts of Interest, is a Conflict of Interest Plan required?

A.

A Conflict of Interest Plan will be required for an LOQ submittal to be accepted.


Q.

Also, please note that the failure to produce a COI plan which will be approved by the Contracting Officer invalidates the entire submittal (Page 73, Part XII). In that conflicts of interest are traditionally evaluated and determined based on a published Code of Professional Conduct (i.e. – lawyers, etc.), certification as to adherence to the applicable Code of Conduct as prescribed above would seem to be more than adequate to protect the State and to avoid what appears to be an overly burdensome requirement for proposers.

A.

For the purposes of this RFQ, the COI plan can be a simple declarative statement that warrants that no actual conflict of interest currently exists and that the company will agree to report any potential conflict of interest to the agency should one arise. The agency will then determine if an actual conflict of interest exists.


Q.

Is the Conflict of Interest Plan to be part of the 50-page Letter of Qualifications?

A.

The COI plan will not count against the 50-page LOQ portion of the submittal.


Q.

The contract limit is noted as $10 million. The amounts shown in the Project Description exceed this amount. Will DEQ be able to increase the upset limit to provide a mechanism for completing the entire statewide effort?

A.

The Mississippi Coordinating Council for Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (for which MDEQ is serving as contracting agent) will handle development of other elements of the MDEM statewide effort through one or more future procurements. Any contract signed between MDEQ (on behalf of the Council) under the current RFQ will only include those work elements for which funding is available at the time the contract is signed. The Council will not extend and increase such a contract if additional funds become available while the contract is still in effect. Instead, the Council will undertake a separate procurement.


Q.

Can sub-consultants be added following award of the contract?

A.

The Council will evaluate letters of qualifications based on the teams that are actually in place on the December 19, 2003, deadline for submittals. Prospective sub-consultants or sub-contractors will not be considered in the selection process. Moreover, after a contractor is selected and a contract is signed, the contractor will not be allowed to drop any sub-consultants, sub-contractors, or team members that were included in the letter of qualifications. However, after a contract has been signed, the contractor will be allowed to strengthen the team by adding sub-consultants.


Q.

How and when will these independent QA/QC services be procured?

A.

The independent QA/QC services will be procured in time for the QA/QC contractor to review all aspects of the work performed by the contractor selected under the current RFQ. The Council has not decided how these services will be procured.


Q.

Will requirements for Liquidated Damages and Performance and Payment Bonds be eliminated?

A.

No.


Q.

Once the QA/QC contractor accepts the deliverable is the contractor completed with that portion of the work? (MDEQ and FEMA QA/QC are separate?)

A.

Only after the Council’s QA/QC contractor, MDEQ staff, and, for the work performed under the FEMA DFIRM grant, the FEMA QA/QC staff, have accepted the deliverables will the contractor be determined to have completed that portion of the work. However, to the extent practicable, MDEQ will try to cause these QA/QC reviews by various agents to be conducted in parallel, rather than sequentially. Yes, MDEQ staff and FEMA will conduct separate QA/QC reviews. In addition, MDEQ’s QA/QC contractor will conduct its own review


Q.

We have some confusion on what is included in the 50 page limit. On page 6, the RFQ states that federal forms, resumes, financial statements, and Certifications and Reps are excluded. On page 9, the RFQ states that Section 3 is included in the 50 page limit and resumes are part of Section 3. Page 9 also states that letters of commitment are not included. Since Section 3 is a required section, and some parts of Section 3 are included in the 50 page limit and others excluded, it appears it will be difficult to police the 50 page limit. A suggestion would be to specifically state what should be in appendices and exclude that information from Section 3.

A.

The following items should be provided as appendices and will not count towards the 50-page LOQ limit:

ˇ All federal forms, including 254 and 255
ˇ All staff resumes
ˇ All financial statements
ˇ All certifications and reps

The review committee may use the LOQ to evaluate the Contractor’s qualifications and use the appendix/supplement as support to the LOQ.


Q.

On page 9, do we need to provide 3 references per project or 3 general references?

A.

The LOQ needs to provide three references for each project listed.


Q.

Can personnel data in C.1 & 2 reference or be referenced in Section 3.B & C?

A.

Section 3 provides a listing of required information for the RFQ. It lists the information needed for the Review Team to evaluate the Contractor’s qualifications for the work identified in the RFQ. Personnel data can be provided in the main text of the RFQ or it can be added as an appendix or supplement. The pages in appendix or supplement will not be counted against the 50 page limit for the RFQ.


Q.

What is the role of the Chief Engineer? Is that position to be between the Project Manager and area specialists, or is the Chief Engineer the specialist over the H&H/DFIRM area (see page 34)?

A.

MDEQ issued this RFQ with intent for the work to be conducted under an engineering contract. The role of the Chief Engineer would be oversight of all technical portions of the contract and subsequent work orders that require engineering skills and/or the signature of a Professional Engineer. The overall Project Manager can be a senior member of the Contractor’s staff that would serve as the overall coordinator of the task order contract and subsequent work orders. The Project Manager may or may not be an engineer. Identification of personnel for these positions in the LOQ is important and will better enable the Review Team to understand the Contractor’s qualifications for managing and performing the work required under the contract resulting from this RFQ.


Q.

Part IV, Phase 1 scope of work. Item f. (see page 10) – Does the RFQ intend to require IMU-GPS Solution for collection of all orthoimagery, whether digital or film-based?

A.

Yes, as described in the RFQ, we will require IMU-GPS solution for collection of all orthoimagery – either digital or optical.


Q.

Part VI, Contractual Administration Data – Insurance to Third Persons, indicates that the offeror will provide “such other insurance as the Contracting Officer may require”, what types and limits of insurance will be required?

A.

The types and limits of insurance are provided in Part VII.


Q.

Does the schedule noted in the Period of Performance take into account the fact that many of the activities listed in Activities 1 through 14 (see pages 13 – 14) are to be performed by FEMA, including a minimum of nine-months of due process required in Activity 14?

A.

The schedule is provided as a best estimate of time for the purposes of advertising this solicitation and selecting a contractor(s) for the work. A firm schedule will be developed during the awarding of the contract(s).


Q.

The contract limit is noted as $10 million. The amounts shown in the Project Description exceeds this amount. Will DEQ be able to increase the upset limit to provide a mechanism for completing the entire statewide effort?

A.

The $10 Million was listed in the RFQ to provide a best estimate of cost for the work and to provide a best estimate of level of effort for the RFQ solicitation. Fixed price costs will be developed for each work order let under the contract(s) awarded under this solicitation.


Q.

The uncertainty regarding the issues identified in question number 1 has resulted in a delay in the formation of teams for this project. Therefore, will Mississippi DEQ consider extending the due date for the submittal of the Letter of Qualifications?

A.

The due date for the submittal of the LOQ remains at 5:00 P.M. CST, December 19, 2003.


Q.

With reference to Part XI – Instructions, Conditions and Notices to Offerors, Past Performance Information, (see page 60) — does the statement, “The information may be submitted prior to other parts of the proposal . . .” mean that this material is submitted separately and does not count against the 50-page limit? Or, is it simply to be pulled out and submitted ahead of the 12/19/03 date for submittal of the entire document? If so, how should it be transmitted to MDEQ?

A.

This simply states that MDEQ will accept this information in advance of the full RFQ Proposal. However, this information will count against the 50 page limit. The information should be provided in hard copy as required for the RFQ proposal.


Q.

Page 61 of the RFQ, Part XI, Past Performance Information, item e specifies that offerors must send Client Authorization Letters to each reference listed in their proposal and that we must also send copies of these letters to the Contracting Officer. Please clarify the nature and content of these letters.

A.

The client authorization letters should contain a request to the referenced party asking their permission to be used a reference for the specified project.


Q.

Page 62 of the RFQ, Part XI, Past Performance Information, item g specifies that the Past Performance Questionnaire identified in Section J will be used to collect information that demonstrates quality of performance relative to the size and complexity of the procurement under consideration. We are unable to find this questionnaire or Section J in the RFQ. Please clarify if this is something that we need to include or address.

A.

Please refer to Section VI “Past Performance Information” for guidance on this question.


Q.

Do we need to include the five project references for each of the subcontractors?

A.

The five project reference is required for the prime contractor. However, you may wish to provide such information to enhance your RFQ Proposal.


Q.

Would we need to require subcontractor bonding separately from prime contracting?

A.

The prime contractor will be responsible for all bonding requirements.


Q.

Are we requiring a bond to be submitted at the time of the proposal, or at the time of contract issuance of the contract?

A.

Bonding will be required at the issuance of the contract, not at the time of the proposal.


Q.

Does there need to be a separate 255 for each separate member of a team, or may they be combined into a single 255?

A.

This is a requirement for the prime contractor. Subcontractors may be combined into a single 255 filed by the prime contractor.


Q.

Will the QA/QC contractor have some specific time frames to complete their work? If so, are the deliverable dates mentioned in the RFQ “hard” (negotiable)?

A.

The RFQ deliverable dates are best estimates for purpose of the RFQ Solicitation. “Hard” deliverable dates will be finalized in the contract negotiation phase of the process.


Q.

What additional counties might be chosen for DFIRM development under FY2004 FEMA funding?

A.

Additional counties have not currently been finalized, but will be identified in collaboration between MDEQ, MEMA, and FEMA.


Q.

Is the liquidated damages amount consistent regardless of the size and duration of the work order and regardless of the work involved and the value of the work involved?

A.

The liquidated damages amount will be negotiated during development of the contract. The RFQ will be amended to reflect this change.


Q.

If the delay is caused by the State of Mississippi, and it is not a force majeure condition, and there is a cost impact on the contractor, will the contractor be able to recover this cost through a claim or through the changes provision?

A.

This will be determined on a case by case basis. However, it is unlikely that the State of Mississippi could cause such a delay that would result in a cost impact on the contractor.