SOUTHWEST ASIA – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District recently awarded a nearly $40 million contract to construct the Maritime Traffic Coordination Center in Kuwait to TOA Corporation.
The MTCC, which is being built for the Kuwaiti Navy, will serve as an aid to navigation associated with the future Mubarak al-Kabir Port at Bubiyan Island. According to news reports, the port is slated for completion in 2016.
The MTCC will be a permanent fixed-platform structure supporting a lighthouse. It will be located approximately 15 miles offshore of Bubiyan Island in the northwestern part of Kuwait on the Fasht Al Ayk Sandbar.
The structure will have columns or legs that are fixed to the seafloor and allow the light to be 45-meters above the high sea level at all times.
“The lighthouse is designed to be occupied and manned 24 hours a day,” said David Rackmales, P.E., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kuwait Resident Engineer. “It also will have self contained utilities, meaning it won’t be attached to any land-based utilities such as electricity, sewer or water.”
It is a unique project and one that the Middle East District has not done before, but is more than capable of accomplishing, Rackmales said.
“Though the District has not constructed a lighthouse before, we have completed many coastal and offshore projects in the past,” he said. “The Middle East District has the expertise for these types of projects; it’s just that they are not typical for us.”
This is not a new project and planning has been ongoing since roughly 2008, Rackmales said.
“Due to changes in requirements over this time, we’ve had to go through a few iterations to get to this point,” he said.
Once the requirements were finalized with the customer, the Middle East District technical Project Delivery Team developed a design-build Request for Proposal. A Request for Proposal is the document comprising the contract requirements on which interested firms would bid.
“We used the two-step design-build acquisition strategy for this project,” Rackmales said.
During a two-step strategy, there are two phases a successful offeror must go through. During phase one, a simple form of the Request for Proposal, sometimes called a Request for Qualifications is issued with the intent of identifying companies or joint ventures that meet the minimum requirements of a qualified firm.
“Interested firms or joint ventures submit proposals that present their credentials and other qualifying factors and the government evaluates these and then determines which firms are the most suitable for the next step,” Rackmales said.
Those that were selected are provided with the detailed, highly technical Request for Proposal.
“That is what the selected offerors use to develop their technical proposal packages, which the Middle East District then evaluates. Ultimately, an award is made based upon the best proposal.” Rackmales said.
Before work can begin and a Notice to Proceed is issued, there are a few steps that need to happen, he said.
“We are going to have a series of meetings with the contractor, our Project Manager, and our technical project delivery team,” Rackmales said. “In addition, after you award a contract there are the standard requirements, largely contractual and financial, that need to be met before you can issue a Notice to Proceed.”
The Notice to Proceed is expected to be issued before the summer, Rackmales said. Once that is issued, the contractor will have 550 days to complete the project.