OGCA to Take Stand Against Third Party Safety Verification Companies (TPSVC)
The OGCA has released its Guide to Dealing with TPSVC (see linked resources on right). It focused on the Safety area, but it has become increasingly evident that this practice has spread to Prequalification.
In some cases where OGCA had been successful in having CORTM replace a TPSVC, the firm became the Prequalification agent which required firms to sign up, even if they had CORTM to meet other requirements. Adding insult to injury, firms who had dropped out of the TPSVC because they had CORTM, were then being charged a penalty to reapply and rejoin the TPVC!
Members have complained for several years now on the encroachment of these mostly foreign firms into our business, costing thousands of dollars, tying up staff with endless paperwork and red tape. The result has been increased costs to the Generals and to owners for what we view as a totally worthless product.
Members are quoting costs from five to ten thousand a year. Now multiply that by the dozen or so firms offering this service, as owners will hire different firms and the costs quickly escalate – the internal costs in staff time and effort, then the double “gotcha” when firms, purporting to be advisors, offer you their services to assist you in getting certified within 48 hours. In one case, the firm was staffed by former employees of a TPVC.
Forty eight hours! As a taxpayer, I would ask my elected officials if that is what they consider proper due diligence in assessing the risk of the firms hired to build our infrastructure?
And what about all those in-house procurement and legal staff? Is that not part of their responsibilities, or are there going to be some massive layoffs?
Some owners have defended their hiring of these firms claiming that they aren’t able to handle the process. What utter nonsense: they aren’t able to collect paperwork that is readily available electronically? They can’t run a proper Prequalification process? If this is true, why are the contractors being asked to foot the bill because the owner needs help?
It is clear from the calls being received by the OGCA and in talks with other industry Associations that this is no longer tolerable.
The OGCA intends to move forward, first through a process of collaboration by reaching out to owners asking them to simply think twice before swallowing the slick sales presentations and talk to the industry first.
Let’s see if we can’t help each other without adding in these interlopers. OGCA has had a long and successful record of working with owners. Let’s build on that.
We plan on more educational articles and in fact, Prequalification will be one of two major topics dealt with at this year’s Procurement Day on October 26, a great opportunity for owners to learn more about this process.
We have a seven point action plan and hope that we will not have to escalate it to the final stage, but rather make it known to all owners that the industry, not just OGCA, has grave concerns, and we believe that owners should be talking to us when they have concerns because we can help.
Step 2 is underway with a clear message from our Chair John Aquino to our Board, asking them to stand with him, his firm Bondfield and the OGCA, in saying no to these firms.
We are awaiting 4 more responses but all responses so far are an unequivocal yes without reservations.
Next, we reach out to our membership and other industry Associations to support these efforts.
Stay tuned. More to come.