Rehabilitation of l'Esplanade Laurier

Projet: L'Esplanade Laurier Rehabilitation Initiative

Fairness monitor final report, January 7, 2016

Submitted to Director, Fairness Monitoring Program

Submitted by PPI Consulting Limited

Centrepointe Chambers
86 Centrepointe Dr
Ottawa ON  K2G 6B1
Ottawa | Toronto | Atlantic Canada

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1. Introduction

PPI Consulting Limited (PPI) was engaged on July 8, 2015 as a Fairness Monitor (FM) to observe the procurement process to select a developer to rehabilitate the property municipally known as 171 – 181 Bank Street, 140 O'Connor Street and 300 Laurier Avenue West in the City of Ottawa, commonly referred to as "L'Esplanade Laurier".

This report relates to the Invitation to Respond to be Pre-qualified (for the purposes of this report, hereafter referred to as the "Invitation" process), which was step one of an anticipated three step competitive process. The Invitation was issued by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), now Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), on behalf of its Real Property Division on August 19, 2015.  

PPI Consulting Limited is an independent third party with respect to this activity. We reviewed all of the information provided and observed all relevant activities.

During the evaluation of the responses to the Invitation, Canada decided to cancel the competitive process as a result of a change in the Real Property Branch's Long Term Portfolio Plan strategy.

We hereby submit our report covering the activities of the Fairness Monitor from engagement up to and including the cancellation and respondent notification process.

This report includes our attestation of assurance, a summary of the scope and objectives of our assignment, and relevant observations from the activities undertaken.

2. Attestation of assurance

It is our professional opinion that the Invitational process for the PSPC Real Property Branch proposed rehabilitation of the property commonly known as L'Esplanade Laurier, that we observed, was carried out in a fair, open and transparent manner.

Original signed by
John Davis, CEO, PPI Consulting Limited

Original signed by
Ian Brennan, CSCMP, FM Team Leader

Original signed by
Mairi Curran, FM Specialist

3. Project requirement

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada is the owner in fee simple of the property (the "Property") municipally known as 171 - 181 Bank Street, 140 O'Connor Street and 300 Laurier Avenue West, in the City of Ottawa, and commonly referred to as "L'Esplanade Laurier". The Property includes two office towers, a podium building that connects the towers and three parking levels and was originally constructed during the 1970s. PSPC initiated a competitive process to select a developer to rehabilitate the property (the "Rehabilitation").

It was envisioned that the Rehabilitation would include renovating the Property, a complete redevelopment of the Property or some other form of partial redevelopment and renovation of the Property (which would include, in each case, meeting or exceeding the relevant LEED Gold standards, or such equivalent standard acceptable to PSPC) and, at PSPC's option, completion of PSPC's required leasehold improvements.  

The Invitation was the first stage of an anticipated three stage competitive process with the second stage planned to be a Request for Qualification (RFQ) and the third stage, a Request for Proposal (RFP).

4. Fairness monitor engagement and observations

PPI Consulting Limited was engaged as a Fairness Monitor (FM) to observe the three stage competitive process for PSPC Real Property Branch's selection of a developer to rehabilitate the Esplanade Laurier property.

The FM was engaged to monitor the activities from the development of the Invitation to Respond to Qualify documents and evaluation of responses, through the RFQ process and the final RFP and selection process of a successful developer. The procurement process was originally planned to be completed by Fall of 2016.

In accordance with the terms of our engagement, we familiarized ourselves with the relevant draft documents, observed activities up to the cancellation of the procurement process during the Invitation phase, identifying fairness-related matters to the Contracting Authority and to the PSPC Technical Authority and ensuring that responses and actions were reasonable and appropriate.

The following is a summary of the FM's activities over the course of the engagement and related observations.

4.1 Invitation to respond to pre-qualify process

4.1.1 Activity monitored

During the Invitation process, the FM Specialist was provided with the following documents for review:

  • Draft and final Invitation documents
  • Draft and final Evaluation Plan
  • Clarification questions and answers during bid open period
  • Correspondence with industry including cancellation notification letters

During the Invitation process, the FM Specialist attended the following meetings:

  • Evaluator kick-off meeting held October 21, 2015
  • Evaluator consensus meetings held November 6 and 17, 2015
  • Meeting with project leads regarding termination of the process held December 14, 2015

The documents and activities completed in this phase complied with the fairness principles below:

  • Each evaluator conducted their own independent review and evaluation of the responses in their evaluator workbook
  • Once the independent reviews were completed, the evaluators participated in meetings to agree the consensus assessment of the mandatory requirements Mandatory requirements were reviewed for compliance with the information provided in the response
  • A record of compliance or non-compliance was recorded in the master record along with the rationale. The Invitation required respondents to demonstrate compliance with similar size and scope criteria only (i.e. there was no rated evaluation criteria at the Invitation to prequalify stage)
  • Evaluators recorded and initialled any changes agreed to during consensus in their individual workbooks

The FM's review of documents and monitoring of activities in this phase considered the principles of fairness, openness and transparency.  This included the following:

  • Evaluation Plan should be consistent with the published procurement documents
  • Evaluation team members should be chosen and confirmed prior to the receipt of responses
  • Evaluation training should be provided to all evaluators and observers. This should include informing evaluators of the following as a minimum:
    • identity of the responses received and requesting evaluators to declare any conflict of interest
    • confidentiality protocols
    • document control
    • clarification process
    • overview of scoring workbooks and method for individual assessment
    • explanation of fairness and the need for objectivity, consistency and equitable treatment of all proposals
  • The evaluation criteria and assessment tools should be established prior to the receipt of responses and should be consistent with the Invitation
  • The submissions should be logged and recorded upon receipt, clearly identifying that these were submitted on time
  • The responses complied with the mandatory submission requirements
  • The same team of evaluators should evaluate all responses (or parts thereof)
  • The assessment should be applied consistently and equitably by the evaluation team with no evidence of bias
  • A secure location for the evaluation exercise should be established for the period of the evaluation
  • Response documents should be physically secured within a secure location

4.1.2 Fairness monitor specialist observations

The FM Specialist reviewed the draft Invitation documents and advertisement of the Invitation which was published in the Ottawa Citizen and le Droit newspapers on August 19 and 20, 2015.

Any requests for clarification by prospective respondents during the solicitation open period were addressed by addendum/amendment.  Fifteen amendments were posted on between September 18, 2015 and October 8, 2015. On September 24, 2015 amendment 010 extended the closing date from September 29, 2015 to October 13, 2015.

Seven proposals were received by the submission closing date and time.

Any observations or requests for clarification made by the FM Specialist during the Invitation process were addressed by the PSPC team and by the Contracting Authority.  The PSPC team and the Contracting Authority were responsive in providing clarification when requested by the FM Specialist.

During the evaluator kick-off meeting when the names of respondents were advised to the evaluation team, one of the evaluators withdrew from the evaluation due to a potential conflict of interest as the evaluator had a previous relationship with one of the respondents.

The FM witnessed the response evaluation sessions and confirms that the process was conducted appropriately, in accordance with the process established in the Invitation, and in a fair, open and transparent manner.  

The three evaluation team members were knowledgeable and diligent in their evaluation of responses.

During the consensus evaluation process a change in direction was determined by the Real Property Branch with respect to the rehabilitation of L'Esplanade Laurier which resulted in the cancellation of the Invitation process. The consensus evaluations were terminated prior to its completion.

Letters were sent to each of the seven respondents notifying them of the cancellation.

5. Reference documents

Documents related to this initiative can be found on the Buy and sell website.

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