Design-Build - A Better RFP Process?

Author: Ben Wood, Published on Aug 28, 2013

Almost everybody in the security industry has a horror story of a "low bid" system installation that has gone terribly wrong. Many city, county and state government entities are avoiding those pitfalls with a "design-build RFP" approach to procuring video surveillance and access control systems. In this note, we examine the reasons why, take a look inside the design-build process, its potential and pitfalls.

Why Design-Build?

* ****** ** *** ******* *****:

  • *** ***********: ******* ***** ************ *** ****** ******* ******* ****** *********** **** ********** *********** ****** *** **** ************ ** paper *****. *********, *** **** **** ** *** ******* ******* *** ********* *** those **** **** ** ***, ******, *** ******** ****. **** design-build, ***** ** *** *** **** *********** ****** *** *****.
  • **'* ****: ** *********** **** ** ******** **** **** **-***** ******** *******, many ***** ********** *** ******* ************** ** **** ** ******** the *** ** *** ******* ******* ** *** ******. **** want ** ****** *** ******* *** ****** *** ******** **********, **** sure **** **** *** ******* ** ******* ****, *** ******** any ********* ******* ************ *** ******** ****** ****** **** *** happen.
  • ******** ******** **** * **** ****** **** *** **** **** can ********* ***** ********** *** ***** **** * ******* ****** of ***** **** (** *******) ** ******** ** **********.
  • *** *********** *** ******* *** ** * ******* ******. **** times * ****** ************ ****** **** *** ** ** ******** system ***** ****, * ****** ***** **** **** *** ****, an ******** ******* *****, ** ******/***** ***** **** **** ** encumbered ******* ****** **** *** ****.
  • ********* ** **************** *** ******** ******* ******** ****** ** * ********** ******** to ******** ******** ****** ******** *** ************** *** *** ******, ***** can ** * ************ ******* ** **** *** *****, ********** if *** ******* ** ******* ** ***.  ** *** ******** is *** ****-****** ** ***** *******, *** ********** **** *** up ****** ** ******** ****. **** ******-***** *** ******** *** a ********* ****, ********* ** ****** **** *********, ******* ******* ******* ******** as ******, ******* * ****** *********** *** * ***** ************* of *** ****** *** **********.

Developing *** ******-***** ***

*** ******* ****** ** ********** * **** **** ****** *** ************ that ******** * ************** **** **** ********** **** **** ** involved **** *********, *****, ******** *** *********** *** ******. * city **** ******* ******** ******* **********,  ********'* ******, **********, **, security/police, ********** *** ***********. ** ****** ********, **** **** ******* ******** a ********** ******** ** * ********* **** **** * *** project **** **************** ** ******* * ******* ******, ******* ******* project ******** ** ******, ****** **** ********** ****** ********** *** produce ***********-***** **************. *** ********** ******** **** ***** ** ********* **** in *** ******** ****** *******, *** ********* **** *** **** a **** ** *** ********* *******.  

*** **** ******* *** ********** ** *** ***, ******* ********, the **********'* ****************, *** **************** **** ********** *** ** *** project's **************, *** ******** ******* ******** *** **********. *** ********** ********** ******** this **** * ******** *********** ******-***** *** ********. *** *** is ******* ****** **** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ********. Usually, *** ******* *** ********* ******** ** *** ******** *** weighted *********** (**. **/**), *** *** **** *** ********* *** they **** ** **********, ****** *** ***** *** ********* *** the criteria *** ******** ** *** ***.**** ** * **** ******* ** * ******-***** *** **** *** City ** *****, **.

The **** ******* ** * ******-***** ***

*** ********* ******* ********* ** * ******-***** *** *** **** but ****** **** *********** **** ** *** ********* *** ****:

  • ****** **** ****** * ********** ******** ***** * **** ****** ****** as **** * ******* ***, * ******-***** *** **** ******* the ****** **********, *********** ***************, *** ******* ******** *** ***** the **** ** *** ****** ************** ** ** *** *********.
  • ********, ** ********, *** *** ****** ** ************ ***** ********, usually ********** ** ***** ***** ** **** *** ******* ****** and ********* **** ********* ** ** ******** ***** ***** *** to ******* ****** ******* *** ***** ******* ****** ****** ** located.
  • **************, ** ********, *** ********* ****-******** **** ** *********** *** documents, ******** **** ** *********** *************** *** ******* ****** ******* ***** numbers ** * **** ** ********** *************.

Responding ** * ******-***** ***

********** ** ******-***** **** ** **** **** ******** **** * standard *** ******* ***** ** ******* * ***** ***** *** a ****** ** ***** *****. **** ** *** ****, **** constitutes * ******* *** ******** ***** ** **** **** ** the ******* ******* ** * ******-***** ********. * ******* ******-***** RFP ******** *** * ***** ******* ** * ***** ***********, ********* submitting multiple ****** ** * ****** **** ** *********** ** ****** sections ** ******** ** *** ***. 

*** *** ******* ** *** *** ******** ** *** ********* *********, this ** ***** *** ********** *********** ********* ***** ******** ** *** project, ****** ***** *************** *** ******** *** ********, *** ******** ** detail *** *** ****** ** **** ******** *** *******.  **** is ***** *** ********* ********* **** ***** ***** *********.  *** technical ****** *** *** ****-*******, ****** **** **** **** ******* approval, *** **** ******* ****'* *** ***** ******** ******. 

RFP ******** ***********

**** *** **** *********** *** *********** ** ******** **** ********* a ******-***** *** ********.

  • *** ********** ********* ** *** ****** ** ******* ******** ** the ********. ********* ******** **** ********** *** ***** ** **** as *** ***** ** ********* ********. ****'* ** ******* **** the ***** ***:

       

  • ******* ** "********* *******" ** **** **** *** **** ** the ***** ** *** ********* ********* ******* *** *** ***-********* ********* members ** *** ** ********. *** ********* ***** **** *** to **** **** *.
  • ** **** ******** ******* ** *** ********* *********. *** ** and ********* ****** **** *******, ********** **** ** ***** ** *** network, *** **'* ********. ****'* ** ******* ** **** *** bad ********* **** **** ******** ** *** ***** *** ******* the ***** ** ****** **** ******:

         

Proposal ****** *** *****

**** ****** *** ****** *** *** ***** ** *** **** are ****** *** *** *** ********* *** *********. **** *** vary *******, *** **** ** ** ******* ** *** **** of **** ****. **** ***** *** ******** ********, * ***** public ******* ***** ***** ***** *** ********* *** ******* *** * list of ********** ** *********, ** ******* ** ***** ******* *** revealed ** *********. ***** **** ****** *******, *** ********** ********** *** city ******** **** ****** **** ******** ** ****** **** ** contains *** ** *** ******** *********** *** ***** ************** *** met ** ****** ** *** ***. ** * ******** **** not ******* *** ******** ***********, ** *** ** ******* ** unresponsive *** ** ********.

*** ******** ******* *** **** **** ** *** ********* **********, a ********* ********* *** * ********* *********. **** *****, *** pricing **** ** ******* **** *** ******* ***** ** ************ to *** ********* ********* ** ** **** *** ********* *** review. *** ********* *********, ******* ********** ** *** ********** ******** *** IT *****, **** ****** *** ********* ****** ** **** ******** as ******** ** *** *** ************ *** ***** **** ** "Does *** ****", "**********" ** "*******".  *** ********* ********* **** present ***** ******** ** *** ********* *********, ** * ****** meeting ** ******** ** ***.  

*** ********* ********* ********* ******* ** *** ***-********* ***** ** the ******** **** ** *** *********'* **********, **********, *********/*******,*&********, ******* ********** *** ****** ****. ********* *** ********** ******* can ** *** ******* ** ***** ********, ** ****** **** a ******* *** ******** *** *******. *** ********* ********* ***** ** score *** ******* ***** ** *** ******** ** *** ***, tabulate *** ****** *** ***** *** *********.  **** ******* ***** ***** place ***** ***** *** *** ******** *** ****.**** ** ** ******* ** * ******* *** ******** *** a ******* ** *** **** ** **********, **.

**** ***** *** ********* **** *** ******* * ****** ** **** review *** ******* *******. ***** *****, **** **** "*****-****" *** three *******-****** ********* *** ******** * ************ *** ********* ******* where *** ********* *** * ****** ** ******** ******* ***** proposal *** ******* * ******* ************* ** ********* *** *** committee *** * ****** ** ********* *** ********* *** *** questions. **** ******-********'******** **** *****-**** ******. ***** *** ********* *******, *** ********* will **** ***** ********* **** *** *****-****** **********.

Why ********* *********** ****** ******-*****

**** ********* *********** ****** *** ******-***** ******** ** ** ****** them ** ******* **** * **** ******* ******** ******** *** *** just ** *****. **** *** ********* *** *** ******* *** shy **** **** **** *** ********. ******-***** **** ****** **** to ****** ********* **** **** *** ******** ** ********* ** as **** ** ***** ****** ********** **** **** ********** **. The ******-***** ****** ****** **** ** *** ********* *** ********, technical *** ******* * *********** ****** ** ***-***** ** ********, which ** * ****** **** ******* ********* ** *** ****.

Risks ** ******-*****

**** **** ********, *** ***** ** ******-***** *** ***** **** with **** *********** *** ********. *******, ***** *** *** ***'* that *** ******** ********** **** **** ******** **** **:

  • *** ******** ******** *** *** ************:** **'* * ******* ****** *******, *** ***** ****** *** requirements ** *** *** ** **** **** ********* **** **** experience ***** *** **********. ** *** ************* ** ******* (*** a *** *** ** *******), **** ***** *** *** ********* with ****-***** ********* *** ******* **** ** ******* ** ************ from ********* *** *** **** ** *** ******** ******. 
  • **** ********* ******:** *** ********** ******** *** ********* ****** ********* *** *** familiar ** ********* **** **********, ** ***** ************ ** ****** control *******, *** ********* ****** ** ******** ******** ***** *** lead ** * **** ****** ************ ** ********** *****.
  • **** ******* ******:** **********, ******* ********** ** ******* ********** *** *** ********** vetted *** ****** ******** ** *** ****** *******, ** *** lead ** * ********** ************ ********* ************ ** ********** ** the ************.
  • ******* * ******:** **** *** ******* *******, *** ******* *** ** **********. A **** ******-***** *** **** ***** ****** **** * ***** or **** *********. **** ***-********* *********, * **** ***** *** come **** ** ********** *** ****** ****** **** *** *******. A ******** *** ** *********** *********, *** * ********** ************ ** other ***** *** **** ** ***** ******.
  • ************: ******** *** *** ******* ********* * *** ** ************, if *****-**** ********** *** ********, ** *** **** **** ** who **** *** ******** ************ *** ********* **** ** *** Q&A.

Comments (5)

From my past experience Deisgn Build bids are code word for "we already have a design with someone we like and they will be awarded." We didn't see a lot of these but found out after the fact that there was already strong ties between the company bidding and the awardee. I agree in a perfect world it would be best but honesty is not prevalent in our society anymore and there are too many closed door deals.

Jason, Good feedback. One question: If they already had a design they wanted, why wouldn't they hard spec that design in such a way that favored / set up the bid to make their preferred person win?

I've seen that too as I'm sure we all have. I don't have a good answer for you though. Maybe they thought the Design Build process would be more resilient to anyone questioning the award? And it was not all of them, just a majority of them seemed to be like that. It was a difficult choice as well for any Integrator. Do you take the many hours it takes to put a good design build together knowing that one integrator has a good foot in the door or do you fold and move onto the next opportunity?

Jason - Any system can be manipulated by politics. In my integrator days there were a few design-build RFP's that I passed on (or should have passed on) for just such a reason. Usually if it's "grooved" for someone you can tell pretty easy by looking at any specification requirements in the RFP.

The representative form the company at the initial walkthrough that does not take notes is my suspect. He is usually a shadow to the future customer or is in the shadows at the back of the room not listening and not asking questions.

In the case of fire systems we have too often found the RFP is not code and would not pass firemarshal's inspection. We now have a dilemma. Do we bid according to specs as all other companies are expected to do and kill them with change orders? Do we notify the possible future customer about the deficiencies and request a correction to be put forth to all bidders? Do we expend hundreds of hours correcting the RFP and not get the bid? Do we pass on the bid? What would you do?

Our policy is to not spend the time repairing someone's specifications if it hits a percentage we have established, was not an accidental omission but intentionally specified to "go the cheap route" and or the customer is not immediately responsive.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Ex-Integrator Now Growth Strategist Interviewed on Apr 24, 2019
For more than a decade, Scot MacTaggart was a security integrator (at PA-based PSX). In late 2018, he left the industry. He is now a Growth...
19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled on Apr 23, 2019
IPVM interviewed 19 facial recognition providers at ISC West to understand their claimed accuracy, success and positioning. 9 from China, where...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
 Register for the Spring 2019 Access Control Course----Closed IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Securadyne CEO: IPVM 'Entertaining For An Ignorant Few' on Apr 16, 2019
Securadyne's CEO Carey Boethel is unhappy with IPVM's report - Failed Integrator Rollup, Securadyne Sells to Guard Giant Allied. Indeed, he...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada Salesman: IPVM "Stuck In A The Stone Age" on Apr 25, 2019
Verkada is 'tackling dinosaurs' and battling those, like IPVM, who are 'stuck in a the stone age'. Verkada's recent sales recruiting promotion...
The HIVIDEO $31 Face Detection DVR Tested on Apr 25, 2019
Face detection in a $31 DVR? That is what "HIVIDEO" (not to be confused with Hikvision, even if the company intends to do that) was promoting at...
Amazon Marketing Pro Installs of Amazon Security Systems on Apr 25, 2019
Is Amazon a threat to conventional providers like ADT, Vivint and Brinks Home Security? Many say no. Now, Amazon is advertising free in-home...
Ex-Integrator Now Growth Strategist Interviewed on Apr 24, 2019
For more than a decade, Scot MacTaggart was a security integrator (at PA-based PSX). In late 2018, he left the industry. He is now a Growth...
19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled on Apr 23, 2019
IPVM interviewed 19 facial recognition providers at ISC West to understand their claimed accuracy, success and positioning. 9 from China, where...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact