The values of inclusion, equity and justice are central to the UW’s mission as a public university, and the fulfillment of those values is what the University’s Race & Equity Initiative seeks to achieve. Business Diversity in Capital Planning and Development (CPD) is administered through our Business Equity and Inclusion policies (BEI). As a subset of the campus-wide Business Diversity Program (BDP), BEI is specific to capital construction and those services that which support our projects. In 2017, this program started a progression process from outreach based to inclusion centric.
Inclusion of diverse businesses on construction projects is intended to be focused and intentional.
Business Equity Enterprises (BEE) are businesses that are registered, certified, or self-identified as small, women, minority, or veteran owned. CPD counts inclusion of any business, or firm, which participates in any other recognized diversity program or can self-designate as a diverse business. Women or minority firms do not also have to be small to identify as a BEE. Please contact the CPD Business Equity staff if you identify as a diverse business and are not sure you are being counted as such.
CPD recognizes and supports the efforts of the Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE). As a state agency ourselves, we follow the policies set forth in Chapter 39.19 Revised Code of Washington and encourage (and track) the participation of BEE certified by OWMBE.
Realizing the intent of Board of Regents Policy No. 16, BEI has 4 main program components:
Aspirational goals for inclusion of BEE are agreed to on each project. In qualification’s based selections, contractor teams are required to submit an aspirational goal for BEE utilization and provide justification for that goal. The goal is a dollar spend percentage calculated against direct cost of services or construction. Contractor teams are expected to use their past experience on similar work to think about how the work on a current project would be subcontracted, or sub-consulted, and identify opportunities that are practicable in those anticipated scopes. For 2018, CPD has determined that 20% of direct costs is a practicable goal for BEE utilization, with 15% of the 20 specifically being appropriate for women and minority identified BEE. This goal may change and is stated in our bidding documents.
Along with goals on projects, contractor teams are to submit an Inclusion Plan with their responses to our solicitations. An Inclusion Plan will include the aspirational goals and justifications and also talk specifically to the strategies that contractor teams will use to ensure BEEs are utilized on projects. The expectation is to be intentional and focused. Inclusion strategies may break work scopes into packages that are receptive to BEE capabilities, not just “smaller. Teams should have a number of BEE firms in mind for a variety of scopes that they can rotate. Inclusion plans should then put more focus on scopes fitting for BEE growth and capacity building opportunities, along with bringing in BEEs new to the university at all tiers.
Moving away from general outreach and notification energies, CPD expects to see more effective business practices being used to fulfill inclusion goals on projects. Contractor teams are expected to relook at their engagement and on-boarding processes and simplify. A good example would be to re-term “subcontractor qualifications process” to “registration,” ensure this process is streamlined on the internet, asked minimal questions, and have openings for BEE to identify specific barriers to business they might have to work on projects. Another example of an appropriate affirmative efforts is “right-sizing” insurance and bonding requirements to be commensurate with the size and risk associated with subcontracted/sub-consulted contracts.
Monitoring and reporting
Monthly reporting on BEE utilization is required. Tracking to the overall commitments made on the project but also the actual payments to BEE will determine the utilization success. CPD will track utilization at every tier of our construction projects. We expect all subcontractors, sub-consultants, goods and services providers to be tracked as part of BEE reporting. In 2019, CPD will be moving to an on-line electronic reporting system which will verify spend to each firm working on capital projects. BEI is a “flow-down” provision and is a requirement to be in all subcontracts at every tier.
Please feel free to contact CPD Business Equity Staff with comments and questions.