UW Contracting Policies

The University is committed to extending opportunities to participate in contracts for public works, architect and engineering services, and purchased goods and services in a fair, open competitive manner for all interested parties. As a federal contractor and in compliance with State law, it is the policy of the University that small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and that firms certified as minority and/or women-owned business enterprises be given the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in any and all contracts made by the University of Washington. The University shall comply with all laws governing its contracting activities.

  1. Issues applying to all contracting categories

    1. Consistent with the Governor's Directive 98-01 and the Governor's Advisory Committee memoranda, the University's contracting policies are subject to change as the State of Washington considers permanent revisions to its regulations and contract language, as well as other possible changes to the State minority and women's business enterprises program. The U.S. Small Business Administration revises its programs for small business concerns controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals from time to time, and the University updates its small business programs to comply with the federal requirements.
      The list of federally designated business concerns as of July 2003 includes the following categories:

      1. small businesses, as defined by SBA size standards for each industry;
      2. small disadvantaged businesses, which must be federally certified;
      3. women-owned small businesses, meeting the SBA standards and which " self-certify" as to ownership;
      4. HUBzone businesses, located in census tracts of low income/high unemployment, and which must be federally certified;
      5. Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions;
      6. veteran-owned small businesses, which self-certify as to ownership; and
      7. service disabled veteran small businesses, which self-certify as to ownership.

      The above categories of business concerns shall be identified collectively throughout this Policy statement as "small business concerns" or as "SBCs."

    2. In accordance with the legislative findings and policies set forth in Chapter 39.19 RCW the University of Washington encourages participation in all of its contracts by minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) certified by the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE). Participation may be either on a direct basis in response to solicitations/invitations to bid, or as a subcontractor to a bidder/proposer. Any affirmative action requirements set forth in federal regulations or statutes or referenced in the contract documents will apply. However, unless required by federal statutes, regulations, grants, or contract terms referenced in the contract documents, no preference will be included in the evaluation of bids/proposals, no minimum level of MWBE participation shall be required as a condition of receiving an award, and bids/proposals will not be rejected or considered non-responsive on that basis.
    3. The University supports and relies on certification of MWBE firms by OMWBE. The OMWBE directory of certified firms is a primary source for identifying businesses in the categories of goods and services for which the University contracts. Small Business Concern businesses are identified through various sources, including the U.S. Small Business Administration. Federal programs require that certain categories of SBCs be certified by SBA to count in federal subcontract programs.
    4. University staff involved with contracting opportunities will increase their outreach efforts to SBCs and to MWBEs. Special efforts will be targeted for underrepresented businesses, including, for example:

      1. Advertising opportunities for suppliers in a manner reasonably designed to provide MWBEs and other small businesses capable of performing the work with timely notice of such opportunities, and all advertisements will include a provision encouraging participation by certified firms. Bids/proposals will be solicited directly from MWBEs and other small businesses whenever such firms can be identified.
      2. Providing MWBEs and other small businesses that express an interest in participating with adequate and timely information about plans, specifications, and requirements of the solicitation.
      3. Establishing delivery schedules, where the requirements of the contract permit, that encourage participation by MWBEs and other small businesses.
      4. Utilizing the services of available minority community organizations, minority contractor groups, local minority assistance offices and organizations that provide assistance in the recruitment of MWBEs and other small businesses.
    5. Goal setting for participation by certified MWBE firms is based on regulations from OMWBE. Goal setting may be on a contract by contract basis or classes of contracts. Any MWBE goals established for a competitive solicitation/invitation to bid will be voluntary, but achievement of the goals is encouraged. The University will review its goal setting methodology in light of the State of Washington's disparity study for the utilization of MWBE firms in state contracting, once the results of that study are final and OMWBE has issued new goal setting regulations.
    6. The University will track the utilization of under-represented firms in its competitive solicitations and contract expenditures. Reports of University-wide contracting with MWBEs will be reported to OMWBE; reports of small business concern vendors contracting will be reported as required by the federal government. Reporting will be used to identify contracting areas for which additional special outreach efforts to underrepresented firms may be needed.
    7. The University will include the following clause in its competitive solicitations:
      Non-Discrimination: Contractors, Bidders and Proposers shall not create barriers to open and fair opportunities for all businesses including MWBEs to participate in all University contracts and to obtain or compete for contracts and subcontracts as sources of supplies, equipment, construction and services. In considering offers from and doing business with subcontractors and suppliers, the Contractor shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, nationality, marital status, or the presence of any mental or physical disability in an otherwise qualified disabled person.


  2. Capital Construction Contracts

    1. Voluntary goals are established for each capital construction project, and are typically 10% minority business (MBE) and 6% women's business (WBE), based on OMWBE goal setting policy.
    2. Contractors on public works projects will be encouraged to include outreach and affirmative efforts to include MWBEs as subcontractors or suppliers. Such efforts will be comparable to those of the University in I.D. above. In addition, contractors will be asked to:

      1. Break down total requirements into smaller tasks or quantities, where economically feasible, in order to permit maximum participation by MWBEs and other small businesses.
      2. Reduce bond requirements where practicable.
    3. Each contractor awarded a public works contract must submit a list of all MWBE subcontractors and suppliers it intends to use. Prior to final acceptance of a project, the contractor must submit a report of the total dollar amounts paid to MWBEs.


  3. Architect and Engineer Contracts

    1. Voluntary goals for architectural and engineering agreements are typically set at 10% MBE and 6% WBE, based on OMWBE goal setting policy. The University will make efforts to include MWBE firms as prime consultants in solicitations for architectural and engineering agreements.
    2. Architect and engineer consultants will agree that they will undertake affirmative efforts to utilize MWBEs in the performance of the contract. Such efforts include but are not limited to: advertising opportunities for subconsultants, or direct solicitation of MWBEs; providing MWBE firms that express interest with adequate and timely information about the project, its scope, and the requirements of the contract.
    3. Consultants must provide the names of certified MWBEs utilized in the contract. Prior to final payment, the consultant must report the total dollar amounts paid to MWBEs.


  4. Purchased Goods and Services Contracts

    1. Purchased goods and services do not generally lend themselves to subcontract opportunities, in that the University buys direct from the source of supply. In dynamic markets, firms may frequently choose to offer new products and services, and directories of certified businesses may not accurately identify the capabilities of those firms. Therefore, to encourage direct MWBE participation whenever practicable, and to invite participation by subcontractors when possible, a combined voluntary goal of 15% MBE or WBE participation will be included in solicitations for purchased goods and services, based on OMWBE policy of 10% MBE and 4% WBE goals.
    2. The University will make efforts to include MWBE firms as bidders/proposers. Solicitations will encourage all bidders to make outreach and affirmative efforts to include MWBEs, comparable to those of the University in I.D. above. Bidders will also be requested to:

      1. Break down total requirements into smaller tasks or quantities, where economically feasible, in order to permit maximum participation by MWBEs and other small businesses.
      2. Reduce bond requirements where practicable.
    3. University departments are authorized to make their own purchase decisions for most purchases up to $3,500 per order. MWBE firms are available to provide goods and services for some of these purchases, and departments are encouraged to identify MWBE and SDB firms for consideration for small dollar orders.
    4. The University will track MWBE firms included in solicitations, their response, and award of contracts to MWBEs. Other contractors who include MWBEs as subcontractors will identify certified firms in their bids/proposals, and report the total dollar amounts paid to MWBEs prior to final payment of the contract.
    5. As a recipient of federal funds for sponsored research, the University is required to prepare subcontracting plans for utilizing Small Business Concerns in the acquisition of goods and services for each contract in excess of $650,000; and to prepare semi-annual reports of purchases from Small Business Concerns for each contract. The University will make outreach and affirmative efforts to identify Small Business Concerns and include them in the performance of these subcontract plans.