Barely over a month since his inauguration, President Trump has repeatedly shocked the world with his rapid changes in government policy. What’s the one thing that those of us in architecture didn’t expect to come to fruition so soon? The proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. After all, we know how hard it is to get anything built, let alone something so huge and politically controversial.
But the Trump administration shows no sign of slowing down. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a presolicitation confirming their intention to start receiving bids for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall as early as March 6.
Image via the CRTV
The announcement coincides with a speech the president made today to the Conservative Political Action Congress’s (CPAC) annual forum in Maryland, where he said wall construction will begin very soon. “It’s way, way, way ahead of schedule,” he told the crowd.
As it turns out, he seems to have been telling the truth, though it is unclear what — if any — official schedule there was for the wall up until this moment. According to the Federal Business Opportunities website, phase one of the procurement process asks for the submission of a prototype concept paper by March 10. By mid-April, multiple awards could be given out for the official border wall design.
The announcement will pose a moral dilemma for many architecture and construction firms that may feel torn between a potential lucrative contract and their personal political standpoints. Several organizations have already spoken out against Trump’s policies, including the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, which published an open letter earlier this month urging its members to hold fast to the industry’s commitment to “providing shelter and protecting the health, safety and welfare of all people.” Last week, the national branch of the AIA released a set of values and principles related to immigration.
An official RFP is expected to come out within the next two weeks.
See the full synopsis from DHS below:
“The Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico. The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors by March 20, 2017.
The second phase will require the down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award.”
Border images via Wikipedia