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NIST Seeks Diverse Team for Constructing State-of-the-Art Laboratory

For Immediate Release: May 31, 2000

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Contact: Michael Newman

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, is soliciting proposals for the services of a contractor to construct one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world, the Advanced Measurement Laboratory, on its campus in Gaithersburg, Md.

The solicitation notice can be found on the World Wide Web at http://aml.nist.gov/solicitation/solicitation.html. Closing date for proposals is June 19, 2000, with an award to be made no later than September 2000. Construction is expected to take some 38 months at a cost of $140 million to $170 million. 

The 47,480-square-meter (511,070-square-foot) AML will allow NIST to provide U.S. industry and science with higher quality reference materials, improved measurements and standards, and more rapidly developed research advances. It will feature stringent controls on particulate matter, temperature, vibration and humidity that are unattainable in current NIST buildings. Such conditions are vital for housing the institute's most advanced metrology, physics, chemistry, electronics, engineering and materials science research, and will enable NIST to keep pace with rapid developments in semiconductors, industrial robots, computers, pharmaceuticals and emerging technologies requiring molecular and atomic-level precision. 

A significant evaluation factor for selection of the prime contractor will be its ability to help NIST ensure that small businesses share in the economic benefits from building the AML, the largest single construction project in NIST history. 

NIST is aggressively committed to providing subcontracts to small businesses, especially those that are disadvantaged, women-owned or HUBZone (which provides federal contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas) small businesses. NIST has published goals in the request for proposals of 50 percent of all subcontracts to go to small businesses, with 20 percent of these for disadvantaged firms, 10 percent for women-owned companies and increasing percentages each year for HUBZone operations (1.5 percent in fiscal year 2000, 2 percent in FY 2001, 2.5 percent in FY 2002, and 3 percent in FY 2003 and subsequent years). 

Offerers also will be evaluated on their past performance in implementing small business subcontracting plans in prior contracts and on their ability to forge mentor-protegee relationships with small business subcontractors. The firm selected will be monitored monthly to check its performance toward meeting the proposed subcontracting plan and the performance will be tied to payment of invoices. 

Additionally, NIST has proposed an incentive award program for the chosen prime contractor if it exceeds certain goals of the contract, including the small business goals in the subcontracting plan. 

A pre-proposal conference and site visit for contractor candidates will be held on June 5, 2000, at 1 p.m. in the Green Auditorium at NIST Gaithersburg. For more information, contact Paul Cataldo, (301) 975-6332, paul.cataldo@nist.gov; or Pauline Mallgrave, (301) 975-6330, pauline.mallgrave@nist.gov. 

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.