USACE’s stated goal is to complete the first facility by mid-April to support the projected demand for COVID-19 medical services.
During a press conference on March 20, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) discussed plans to assist state-level COVID-19 relief efforts. USACE support will include the conversion of existing, underutilized buildings such as hotels, college dormitories and potentially large spaces into ICU-like treatment facilities. Specifically, state governments will nominate and lease facilities, USACE will award construction contracts for building modifications, FEMA and/or HHS will provide necessary supplies, and then state governments will provide staffing.
Imminent USACE contracts will likely include flexible design specifications for modifying hotel rooms or other spaces to support patient care, convert rooms to negative pressure and build nursing stations in the hallways with wireless connectivity. USACE’s stated goal is to complete the first facility by mid-April to support the projected demand for COVID-19 medical services. New York will be used as a model for other states as they request federal support.
Although the briefing did not discuss contracting methods, USACE may use sole source authority to award contracts to existing government contractors, who will likely have a tight window for contract negotiation and performance. Interested contractors can also register their unique capabilities in the System for Award Management (SAM) Disaster Response Registry by logging in and editing the assertions tab in their registration.
Potential federal contractors will likely encounter a multitude of performance risks in fulfilling these construction requirements to quickly create temporary hospital spaces to treat COVID-19. In addition, potential state contractors leasing hotels and other facilities to governments face a number of risks, including an unknown period of performance, holdover tenancies, cost and timing of restoration and uncertain termination rights.
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