New Bridge for the St. Lawrence Corridor (NBSLC) Project Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Fairness Monitor Contractor's Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Report
July 17, 2014
Submitted to: Director General, Operational Integrity Sector
Submitted by: Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture
As Fairness Monitor, Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture (hereafter referred to as the Fairness Monitor) hereby submits its Fairness Monitor Contractor's Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Report (FM RFQ Report) pertaining to the competitive procurement process for the New Bridge for the St. Lawrence Corridor (NBSLC) Project. This competitive process was initiated by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) for Infrastructure Canada (INFC) and Public Private Partnerships Canada (PPP Canada) through Letter of Interest Solicitation Number T8006140001/A. The RFQ was issued through Solicitation Number T8006140002/A.
An FM Pre-Request for Qualifications Report dated March 28, 2014 was submitted covering a review of the Letter of Interest (LOI).
This FM RFQ Report covers the issuance of the RFQ through to the conclusion of the RFQ Evaluation Phase including the selection of the Respondents to be invited to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) Phase. An addendum covering debriefings of Respondents to the RFQ will be issued following the debriefings. Two additional reports are planned, i.e. an RFP Report at the closing of the RFP and a Final Report after the evaluation and conclusion of the evaluation activity and commercial and financial closing.
Fairness Monitor Summary of Findings on the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Phase
It is the opinion of the Fairness Monitor that the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Phase for the New Bridge for the St. Lawrence Corridor (NBSLC) Project was fair, open and transparent.
"Fair" is defined as decisions made objectively, free from bias, favouritism or influence and conform to established rules.
"Open" is defined as an activity that is accessible to all potential participants, without unjustified restrictions as to who may participate.
"Transparent" is defined as providing information to the public and interested parties in a timely manner that facilitates public scrutiny.
Note: For all references in this report concerning fairness related comments being provided to project officials, it is confirmed that, as necessary, project officials provided clarification to the FM or took appropriate action to address the comments, and as a result no fairness deficiencies were recorded.
Fairness Monitor Activities and Findings related to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
The RFQ was released to Buy&Sell on March 17, 2014.
During the period March 18, 2014 to March 23, 2014, we reviewed the French and English versions of the RFQ (Document 4), and submitted fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority. During the period from March 21, 2014 to the closing of the RFQ, we reviewed draft and final versions of Amendments 1 to 8 (Documents 5-12) in both French and English. These amendments included Addenda 1 to 8 and Questions and Answers (Qs & As) 1 to 150. Based on our reviews we provided fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority. Appropriate action was taken by the project team to address these comments.
On March 29, 2014 we reviewed the English and French scripts prepared for the Site Visit. On March 30, 2014 we observed the Information Session during which attendees were provided a background briefing on the project and an overview of the RFQ process and submission requirements. On April 1, 2014 we observed the Site Visit and monitored the commentary in both languages. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
The RFQ closed on May 7, 2014.
Fairness Monitor Activities and Findings related to the Evaluation of Responses to the RFQ
During the period March 20, 2014 to March 26, 2014, we reviewed the Evaluation Framework document and provided fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority. Appropriate action was taken to address these comments.
On April 18, 2014 we reviewed the Evaluation Training Presentation Deck to be used during the training sessions for evaluators and provided fairness related comments. During the period April 19, 2014 to April 23, 2014, we reviewed a draft of the Evaluation Plan and on May 2, 2014 we reviewed an updated draft. Fairness related comments were provided to the Contracting Authority. Appropriate action was taken to address these comments on both the Presentation Deck and the Evaluation Plan.
On May 5, 2014, May 6, 2014 and May 9, 2014, we observed the training sessions provided for evaluators. Three sessions were provided in order to ensure that all evaluators could attend a session. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
During the period April 30, 2014 to June 6, 2014, we reviewed planning for reference checks for projects submitted in Responses to the RFQ and the need for specific checks arising from the evaluation of Responses. During the same period we also reviewed clarification suggestions with the Contracting Authority. Fairness related comments were provided to the Contracting Authority concerning reference checks and clarification suggestions and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
During the period May 13, 2014 to May 15, 2014, we reviewed recommendations of the Relationship Review and Conflict of Interest (RRCOI) Committee related to potential conflict of interest of the evaluators scheduled to participate in the evaluation. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
During the period May 22, 2014 to June 20, 2014, we observed evaluation meetings of the six Evaluation Teams for the six Packages of Rated Evaluation Criteria at which consensus ratings and rationales for the consensus ratings based on the RFQ were agreed. Each of the six Evaluation Teams was independent of the others. Fairness related comments were provided during the evaluation process and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
During the period June 6, 2014 to June 20, 2014, we observed meetings of the Evaluation Review Committee (ERC) at which the ratings and written rationales of each Evaluation Team for each Rated Evaluation Criterion were reviewed and challenged to ensure consistency with the RFQ, and that the written rationale for each rating could withstand scrutiny. Each Response was identified to the ERC only by an anonymous name. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
On June 20, 2014 we also observed the ERC review of the spreadsheet tabulated results including the application of weights to all ratings to obtain scores for each Rated Evaluation Criterion for each Response and the compilation of final scores for each Response. Each Response was identified only by its anonymous name. The weights used were in accordance with the weights specified in the RFQ. Subsequently we were informed that the spreadsheet had been independently checked several times. The ERC agreed to recommend to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Review Committee that the three Responses with the highest total scores be invited to proceed to the RFP Phase subject to being determined to be in compliance with the PWGSC Integrity Provisions specified in the RFQ. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
On June 23, 2014 we observed a meeting of the ADM Committee at which the results of the evaluation were presented. Each Response was identified only by its anonymous name. Written rationales for each rating for each Rated Criterion for each Response were also provided. The results and the rationales were the same as previously presented to and endorsed by the ERC. The ADM Committee agreed to recommend the evaluation results and the selection of the three highest scoring Responses using the anonymous names to the Deputy Minister Committee. The three recommended Respondents would be subject to being determined to be in compliance with the PWGSC Integrity Provisions. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
On June 29, 2014 we reviewed a PowerPoint Presentation and the Final Evaluation Report forwarded to members of the Deputy Minister Governance Committee that provided the results of the evaluation using the anonymous names and requested approval of the results. The results and report were identical to those agreed to by the ERC and endorsed by the ADM Committee. On June 30, 2014 the results were approved by the Deputy Minister's Committee. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
On June 30, 2014 we observed the limited release of the names of the Respondents and the three highest scoring Responses to the Integrity Provisions Review Team so that their review could be prioritized. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
On July 8, 2014 we observed a meeting of the Integrated Project Management Team (IPMT) at which the initial results of the Integrity Review were tabled. The interim results covered four of the Respondents including the three highest. Each of the four was determined to be in compliance. Results of the remaining two Respondents were not yet finalized and were not required at this stage because the three highest scoring Respondents were in compliance.
On July 9, 2014 we observed the notification by telephone of the three Respondents with the highest scores and verbal invitations to participate in the RFP Phase. An outline of the next steps was also provided to each. On the same day we reviewed the emails that were sent to the three Respondents confirming the invitation and detailed next steps. The same information was provided to each of the three. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
Knowles Consultancy Services Inc.
FM Contractor's Representative
Bruce Maynard, Professional Engineer (P. Eng.)
FM Team Leader
The following documents are referenced by number in this report. These documents are available through the New Bridge for the St. Lawrence (NBSL) Corridor project office. Reference Documents 1 to 3 are the LOI and LOI amendments which are referred to and listed in the Pre-Request for Qualification Report. The FM Final Report will include a listing of all Reference Documents.
The following table includes a list of documents referred to in the report such as the Request for Proposal (RFP), amendments, clarification letters, debriefing letters, etc. Each row is numbered, followed by the document title, then a document identifier such as a date or document number.
|4||Request for Qualification (RFQ)||Released to Buy&Sell March 17, 2014|
|5||Amendment 1 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell March 25, 2014|
|6||Amendment 2 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell April 1, 2014|
|7||Amendment 3 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell April 10, 2014|
|8||Amendment 4 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell April 15, 2014|
|9||Amendment 5 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell April 23, 2014|
|10||Amendment 6 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell April 30, 2014|
|11||Amendment 7 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell May 5, 2014|
|12||Amendment 8 to RFQ||Released to Buy&Sell May 6, 2014|
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