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What you should know about bidding federal construction projects

The financial meltdown of 2008-09 decimated the construction industry, and though Congress poured billions of dollars into the economy via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for "off-the-shelf, ready-to-go" construction projects, the commercial construction industry remains greatly depressed. However, the federal government has money and is spending it.

Because there are fewer commercial projects under way than in the past, the federal government is virtually the only game in town. As a result, many construction companies are trying to enter the federal government construction contracting market. However, federal government laws and processes differ from those typically encountered in the state and local government construction sectors, and you must have an understanding of these laws and processes for your bids to be successful.

More companies are bidding federal projects without a well-thought-out strategy or clear understanding of what performing federal work requires, and many are encountering serious financial difficulties that may lead to bankruptcy.

There are many federal requirements that only prime contractors need to be concerned about, but some flow down to subcontractors, as well. Understanding prevailing wages, LEED® requirements, strict safety policies and Federal Acquisition Regulations is necessary to ensure success. You may need to change your management systems to incorporate the required federal processes, and you must develop an effective, winning strategy.