CMAR firms to network with subcontractors at ‘Meet the Generals’ event

Fourteen firms that HISD selected to provide construction manager at risk (CMAR) services on school building projects will discuss the facilities they plan to build with more than 150 potential subcontractors and minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBES) at a networking event Monday.

The “Meet the Generals” event, organized by the district’s business assistance department, will give subcontractors the opportunity to form relationships with prime contractors for construction projects funded by the district’s 2012 bond program.

The event is scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

“Many of our potential subcontractors have difficulty in cultivating the kind of relationships that lead to subcontracting agreements,” said Bernard Willingham, HISDs team lead for Supplier Diversity. “It is our desire that this event and others like it this year will assist the subcontractors in their efforts to dialogue with and obtain contracts from our awarded prime contractors.”

Under the 2012 bond program, the district is planning to build or renovate 40 schools across the district, as well as invest in technology, athletic upgrades and safety and security improvements. By using the CMAR contracting method, HISD is hoping to ensure a quality program.

CMAR allows for increased coordination with the design team and establishes a guaranteed maximum price for construction that minimizes the potential for problems, such as cost overruns. CMAR also allows greater potential for subcontracting specialized work, increasing the number of potential business opportunities within the bond program.

With planning and design underway for schools in the early phases of the bond program, prime contractors are preparing to establish and solidify their construction teams.

“This is the perfect time for subcontractors to introduce themselves and make primes aware of their abilities and capabilities,” Willingham said.

Willingham says he would like to see more M/WBEs not currently working on HISD projects obtain subcontracting opportunities and for existing M/WBE subcontractors to take on larger roles in district building projects. The district’s business assistance department will also use the program to encourage mentor-protégé relationships between larger companies and M/WBEs that help smaller companies build capacity.

To date, the M/WBE participation rate in the 2012 bond program for professional services, including design, is about 51 percent. Those firms awarded CMAR contracts have committed to contracting between 20 and 40 percent of their work with M/WBEs.

 Click here to register for the event.