Stimulus Projects See Year-End Bump

Dec. 18, 2009
Not to be outdone by the many Americans shopping for the holidays, U.S. government agencies are on a bit of a spending binge with federal funds

Not to be outdone by the many Americans shopping for the holidays, U.S. government agencies are on a bit of a spending binge with federal funds from the American Resource and Recovery Act (ARRA) that they want to spend by the end of the year. For instance, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article the General Services Administration (GSA) has only allocated 75 percent of the $2 billion in funding it’s supposed to spend by year-end on retrofits for many of the estimated 1,500 buildings it operates and manages for the federal government and is processing awards as quickly as possible.

But millions of dollars in ARRA funding are trickling into the construction market, and some lucky electrical contractors involved in energy retrofits or building upgrades received some early Christmas gifts this past week in the form of contract awards. According to data available at, federal agencies awarded at least $3.1 million in contracts during the last week to electrical contractors for work at government facilities such as court houses, military bases, and a federal prison. This work includes replacement of transformers and switchgear, upgrading building automation, lighting and fire-alarm systems and installing occupancy sensors.

In addition to the contracts now being awarded, federal agencies are posting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) of interest to electrical distributors, contractors, reps and manufacturers. For instance, on Dec. 7, the GSA posted a RFP for qualified small businesses in NAICS code 2382120 (“Electrical Contractors and Other Wiring Installation Contractors”) with up to $14 million in sales to bid on a design/build project at the J.C. Cleveland Federal Building and W.B. Rudman federal courthouse in Concord, N.H., worth between $1 million and $5 million. The job involves the “design and installation of high-efficiency lighting primarily at the J.C. Cleveland building, and design and installation of various energy conservation measures to include an upgrade of EMS systems in both facilities.”

EMCOR Inc., Norwalk, Conn., the largest electrical contractor in the U.S., is active with federal contracts through its Government Services division, which provides electrical, mechanical, structural, HVAC, plumbing and other engineering services. According to information at, EMCOR Government Services was awarded a contract on June 10 for $288,186 with the State Department for unspecified work.

While there will be plenty of government contract work available through the foreseeable future, it does come with its own unique challenges. Not surprisingly, the amount of paperwork sometimes required for a government bid can be baffling. For instance, to access a RFP for incandescent lamps (Solicitation Number: SPM4A6-10-R-0118),from the Defense Logistic Agency’s Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Va., users had to download a 25-page PDF loaded with incomprehensible military/government jargon.

The table below offers examples of several recent contract awards funded by ARRA.

—Jim Lucy