Air Force: New roof repair program will drive out local contractors

A new multi-million-dollar roof replacement and repair program at 70 Air Force bases across the country will not drive away local contractors, Air Force officials said.

On Wednesday, officials at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base described how the new program will work. The announcement generated criticism by John Morris, president of the Ohio Valley Associated Contractors Association.

The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, will oversee the program and award contracts next June out of a pool of about 30 small business contractors as a way to deal with decreasing budgets and aging infrastructure, the service branch said.

Instead of awarding a contract for a single project at a base, the new approach will allow companies to compete for roofing work in consolidated contracts valued up to $325 million, the Air Force said. The contracts will be awarded in one of five geographic regions around the nation and cover about 250 million total square feet of construction space.

Morris said the regional approach will drive out local labor and encourage contractors to add travel and per diem costs into projects. He added the changes “will eliminate the vast majority of small, minority and veteran-owned businesses for competing for this government work.”

That’s not true, the Air Force said via email in response to questions from this newspaper.

“The fact that the Air Force will make more work available to fewer contractors should not be construed as an attempt by the Air Force to limit competition but rather an opportunity for responsible, responsive contractors to compete,” the Air Force said.

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