In Part 3 of our articles on the 2015 changes to the Virginia Public Procurement Act, we provide a brief explanation of Job Order Contracting (JOC) now possible on Virginia public projects. Public bodies in Virginia may now procure services for multiple jobs through a single indefinite quantity indefinite duration contact provided that the jobs require similar experience and expertise, the nature of the jobs are clearly identified in the solicitation, and the contract term is limited to one year or the maximum authorized fees. Payment is made according to an agreed “book of unit prices.” The maximum amount of all jobs performed in a one-year JOC contract term cannot exceed $5 million and individual job orders cannot exceed $500,000. Splitting orders to fit within these caps is not permitted, but maybe difficult to determine by anyone outside the public body. While JOC contracts are only one year contracts, they can be renewed for two additional one-year terms. JOC contracting is not available for highway, bridge, tunnel or overpass construction or maintenance. Multiple public bodies can conduct joint procurement agreements with the goal of reducing administrative expenses in the acquisition of goods, services or construction.
While Job Order Contracting creates a new vehicles for public bodies to streamline procurement for relatively small and repetitive services, it also reduces competition for small businesses to participate in public contracting, makes government procurement less visible to public scrutiny and increases the potential for abuse by contracting officials and contractors. This is a new experiment in Virginia and warrants continuing scrutiny and evaluation to determine if it truly an effective contract vehicle.