Construction opportunities ahead as buildup beings
BY MEGHAN HICKEY
As 2018 commenced, multiple government contracts were awarded to Guam construction companies, and H2-B visa debates began to level out in the aftermath of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2018 and Chief Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood’s Jan. 24 ruling promising relief with additional workers — at least for the time being. Now, the construction industry can look to the future to prepare for the opportunities ahead.
For almost two decades — since U.S. Pacific Command Lt. General Dan “Fig” Leaf deputy commander flew in-to Guam on Sept. 11, 2006 to share a Guam Integrated Military Development Plan with Guam’s top leaders and a variety of community groups on what at the time was known about the move of the estimated 8,000 marines and estimated 10,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam — Guam has been sitting on pins and needles as it waits and watches the slow progress of the promised Marine Corps military buildup. Now, we sit at the threshold of the apex of that buildup.
“Current projections are for the marines to being relocating to Guam in force by mid-2024,” Timothy L. Patrick, public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Activity Guam told the Journal. “We can’t move in the operating forces until we have stuff built up. And so that kind of tells me that we better have this stuff built by 2024.”
According to usaspending.gov, fiscal 2017 federal spending on Guam was more than $1.27 billion, of which $576 million was awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense. As of Jan. 31, fiscal 2018 federal spending on Guam was more than $21.2 million, of which $9.8 million was awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
“The relocation of Marine Corps facilities to Guam has begun,” said John M. Robertson, president and principal engineer at J.M. Robertson Inc., which does business as AmOrient Engineering. He is also president of the Society for American Military Engineers Guam Post. “More than $300 million in construction and development invest-ments over the past year have triggered several billions of dollars in design, construction and other service invest-ments. The Guam Relocation Project will be one of the largest investments in military facilities and infrastructure in the Western Pacific within the past 50 years.”
One year ago, on Feb. 23, 2016, Capt. Stephanie Jones, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, at a Guam Contractors Association and Society of American Military Engineers joint mem-bership luncheon, presented 11 Marine Corps buildup projects to be awarded in the next two years. Three of those 11 have already been awarded, including a cantonment utilities and site improvements contract, awarded Aug. 17 for $164.89 million to Granite-Obayashi; a live-fire training range complex contract, awarded Aug. 25 for $78 mil-lion to Black Construction Corp.; and an Apra Waterfront Headquarters contract, awarded on Sept. 19 for $17.9 million to Contrack Watts Inc.
From Jones’ original list, the following are still pending, some of which have contracts already out for bid: an Ap-ra Medical Clinic, a water well field, a marine aviation logistics facilities, a corrosion control hangar, a second air-craft maintenance hangar on Andersen Air Force Base, Defense access roads, power infrastructure and an urban combat training facility.
Some local contractors have already jumped on board in preparation for what’s to come.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. was in January seeking sub-bids for the design build P-601, aircraft maintenance hangar #2 at Anderson Air Force Base Guam for solicitation number N62742-17-R-1322. The bid date was Jan. 25.
Three firms, CoreTech Inc., Gilbane and Hensel Phelps-Shimizu JV, issued subcontractor/supplier bid requests for work on the Apra Medical/Dental Clinic at Naval Base Guam, which was released on Dec. 20 with a due date of March 1. Gilbane will be accepting proposals until close of business on Feb. 21. Hensel Phelps-Shimizu JV will be accepting proposals until 2 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, on Feb. 27.
Further information on the potential cost of the contracts can be found in the fiscal 2018 military construction authorization for Guam, detailed in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
To simplify the multitude of projects that continue to be put up for bid, Patrick told the Journal, “I generally think of [the projects] as the big three. The first one being the contracts related to the base, the cantonment, where the campus will be. The second one being the live fire training range project, which consists of two projects … and then the third of the big three being the urban training facility.”
The live fire training complex consists of the complex itself with five ranges, four of those ranges make up one project, which was awarded to Black Construction, and the “big one,” according to Patrick, which is the multipur-pose machine gun range.
“That’s not even slated to be awarded for some time,” he said.
With 12 contracts in the lineup for fiscal 2018 alone, and more to come soon after, work will come swiftly. The buildup construction projects are expected to peak around fiscal 2023, according to Journal files, reaching more than $800 million that year. Non-marine construction, to include Air Force and Navy projects, is expected to be consistent in the next 10 years, at around $200 million a year, which Catherine Cruz-Norton, public affairs officer for NAVFAC Marianas, notes remains true according to current projections.
Norton gave advice to contractors on how to remain on their toes beginning now, as work continues to appear. “Contractors may continue to stay engaged by attending industry meetings and special forums that are held and hosted by organizations such as the Society of American Military Engineers Guam Post, Guam Contractors Associ-ation, Guam Chamber of Commerce and many others,” she said.
Within the next few weeks, two important meetings are taking place that will be key to gaining knowledge of buildup contracts for those in the industry.
The Society of American Military Engineers Guam Post and Guam Contractors Association are holding a joint membership meeting on Feb. 22 at the Hyatt Regency Guam. Capt. Stephanie Jones, commanding officer for NAVFAC Marianas and regional engineer of Joint Region Marianas will present a construction program update for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The Guam Industry Forum, sponsored by the Society of American Military Engineers Guam Post and scheduled to take place March 7 to 9 at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort, will bring together local, mainland and off-island ex-perts to discuss contracts awarded and form relationships for the billions of dollars that those contracts will trigger for design, construction and other service firms. Attendees confirmed as of Feb. 14 are just under 300, Robertson told the Journal, but he estimates that attendance will reach around 500. Going into the forum, it’s vital for at-tendees and their companies to be aware of the opportunities to zero in on speaking with experts and leaders at the event, he said.
“The goal of the forum is to provide information associated with construction and development opportunities for businesses from Guam, the U.S., Japan and throughout Asia,” Robertson said. “One of the sessions will include a panel discussion about the bidding processes and procedures and how businesses can prepare competitive pro-posals. This is definitely the optimal time to get involved.”
General pricing for the forum only is $640, with an additional $50 to include visits to sites of planned facilities planned on three military bases on island. Active duty military and government of Japan employee prices are $175 for the forum only, with the additional $50 for site visits. Interested individuals may visit the website at guamindus-tryforum2018.com to register.
“Stay up to date on the latest business opportunities in support of the military’s mission on Guam,” Norton said, which can be done by searching request for proposals at www.fbo.gov as well as neco.navy.mil.
In addition to contract awards, an estimated more than 140 civilians will need to be hired to support the new base functions, according to Journal files. Roles will include engineers, engineering technicians, acquisition, envi-ronmental, government real estate, information technology and other professions such as business office staff, at-torneys, financial professionals, public affairs officers and safety officers.
“Total, we’re looking at relocating about 5,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam. About one third of those will be permanent personnel — two thirds of those will be rotating,” Patrick told the Journal. He said that about 1,500 of those marines will come with their families and be stationed here for two to three years, while 3,500 marines will be in a deployment status on Guam.
“[In steady state operations], there are expected to be about 1,700 family members extra on the island,” Patrick said. “So that will help local business as far as normal retail shopping, investments, cars, rental places, that kind of thing.” mbj