APPENDIX F
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS' EXPERIENCE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) is the federal government's major contractor of hydrographic surveying services. Contracts directly awarded by the Corps range between $15 million and $20 million annually for hydrographic surveying services. Another $10-15 million is indirectly contracted in the form of dredging construction contracts that require hydrographic surveys to determine daily progress. The Corps' extensive experience with contracting these services would be beneficial to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should it embark on a program to more fully utilize the private sector in obtaining basic field survey data.

Prior to the 1960s, hydrographic surveying was almost exclusively a government-performed function—mainly because most of the work supported dredging performed by Corps-owned dredges. After World War II, more dredging work was performed by contracts to the private sector, as were hydrographic surveys in support of these contracts (by congressional directive in some cases). Dredging companies became fully responsible for performing daily dredging progress surveys. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Corps gradually increased further its contracted services for annual project condition surveys and surveys for contract plans and specifications. As of 1993, the Corps contracted about 35-40 percent of its hydrographic surveying workload, and over half of its surveying requirements. The percentage of contracted hydrographic survey effort varies widely from district to district; some contract nearly 100 percent while others contract virtually none.

The gradual increase in contract effort over the past 20 years has resulted in numerous private surveying firms obtaining full proficiency in hydrographic surveying. It is now estimated that 20 to 30 professional service firms possess hydrographic surveying capabilities. Approximately five of these firms are capable of fielding up to ten hydrographic survey crews. Much of this capability derives from the firms' extensive experience in geophysical exploration for the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico and overseas. The demand for offshore services declined dramatically during the 1980s. Thus, most firms transitioned from oil exploration surveys to hydrographic surveying and mapping of federal river and harbor projects. An abundance of skilled personnel and resources still exists to this date. Most of these firms have one or more professional people who possess local land surveying or professional engineering registration—a Corps contracting requirement. Final drawings (i.e., hydrographic charts) require local state licensing certification by a professional land surveyor or engineer responsible for supervision of the work.



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Charting a Course into the Digital Era: Guidance for NOAA's Nautical Charting Mission APPENDIX F U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS' EXPERIENCE The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) is the federal government's major contractor of hydrographic surveying services. Contracts directly awarded by the Corps range between $15 million and $20 million annually for hydrographic surveying services. Another $10-15 million is indirectly contracted in the form of dredging construction contracts that require hydrographic surveys to determine daily progress. The Corps' extensive experience with contracting these services would be beneficial to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should it embark on a program to more fully utilize the private sector in obtaining basic field survey data. Prior to the 1960s, hydrographic surveying was almost exclusively a government-performed function—mainly because most of the work supported dredging performed by Corps-owned dredges. After World War II, more dredging work was performed by contracts to the private sector, as were hydrographic surveys in support of these contracts (by congressional directive in some cases). Dredging companies became fully responsible for performing daily dredging progress surveys. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Corps gradually increased further its contracted services for annual project condition surveys and surveys for contract plans and specifications. As of 1993, the Corps contracted about 35-40 percent of its hydrographic surveying workload, and over half of its surveying requirements. The percentage of contracted hydrographic survey effort varies widely from district to district; some contract nearly 100 percent while others contract virtually none. The gradual increase in contract effort over the past 20 years has resulted in numerous private surveying firms obtaining full proficiency in hydrographic surveying. It is now estimated that 20 to 30 professional service firms possess hydrographic surveying capabilities. Approximately five of these firms are capable of fielding up to ten hydrographic survey crews. Much of this capability derives from the firms' extensive experience in geophysical exploration for the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico and overseas. The demand for offshore services declined dramatically during the 1980s. Thus, most firms transitioned from oil exploration surveys to hydrographic surveying and mapping of federal river and harbor projects. An abundance of skilled personnel and resources still exists to this date. Most of these firms have one or more professional people who possess local land surveying or professional engineering registration—a Corps contracting requirement. Final drawings (i.e., hydrographic charts) require local state licensing certification by a professional land surveyor or engineer responsible for supervision of the work.

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Charting a Course into the Digital Era: Guidance for NOAA's Nautical Charting Mission The firms that have performed hydrographic surveys for the Corps for the last 20 years are available to NOAA. Since all Corps work is performed at scales significantly larger than those used for NOAA charting, meeting International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) positional standards is not a problem for these contractors. Corps calibration specifications parallel those of NOAA and are far more stringent for measurement and payment surveys and final acceptance surveys, especially in rock cut areas where under-keel clearance certification is critical. Brooks Act (P.L. 92-582) Contracting Corps hydrographic survey services are procured by using P.L. 92-582 qualification-based selection methods, usually referred to as architect-engineer (A-E) contracting. This contract form has been used for all Corps surveying service contracts since its enactment. A number of Corps publications and internal regulations on P.L. 92-582 contracting are available to NOAA. The Corps also conducts one-week training courses in A-E contracting that NOAA personnel could take. These training sessions are held throughout the country and are conducted 10 to 15 times each year. The course covers all phases of A-E contracting, although the emphasis is on design services rather than surveying services. The Corps also publishes a guide specification (USACE, 1990) for hydrographic surveying services. A basic A-E contract with the hydrographic surveying firm is established for a 2-year period or longer. These services can be procured effectively through Indefinite Delivery Type (IDT) contracts. This method provides maximum flexibility in cases where the scope of work varies, or where priorities may unpredictably change. Delivery orders are then written against that contract for projects as they arise. This contract technique would allows rapid response to emergency survey requests such as reported channel obstructions, since orders to contractors can be initiated and executed within 24 hours. Having four to six geographically distributed IDT contracts would enable NOAA to effectively cover all areas of the country, and provide maximum flexibility for immediate survey deployment needs. Standards for Data Collection in Contract Surveys NOAA hydrographic survey standards are designed to comply with the IHO standards (IHO, 1987). The standards address the positional accuracy of a charted feature or sounding, accuracies of depth measurements (soundings), internal quality control checks (e.g., cross-line checks), and corrections to soundings. NOAA Coast and Geodetic Survey standards and specifications are described in the NOAA Hydrographic Manual (NOAA, 1976). Other internal documents and field instructions supplement this manual. All NOAA survey standards and specifications are designed to equal or exceed IHO requirements. NOAA's use of contracted or external survey forces implies a rigid requirement that those surveys be performed to NOAA (i.e., IHO) standards and specifications. These

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Charting a Course into the Digital Era: Guidance for NOAA's Nautical Charting Mission external hydrographic survey sources may include (1) directly contracted commercial surveyors; (2) Department of Defense or other federal agency survey forces; (3) survey vessels/ships of convenience; (4) state, local, or regional port authority surveyors; or (5) indirect third-party contracted forces of other federal agencies or organizations, including construction dredging and geophysical exploration firms. As a contracting agency, NOAA would be responsible for the quality control oversight of field hydrographic surveys performed by private contractors or other federal agencies. In general, the degree of quality control will be a function of the experience and competence of the contractor. The recommended role is to require the contractor to perform the critical quality control functions and certify results. Such efforts are normally contained in a quality control plan that is submitted by the contractor after contract award. NOAA's role would then simply be that of performing quality assurance inspection of the contractor's quality control activities. This would take the form of intermittent visits to the job site to review and monitor survey techniques and procedures. Cost Comparison Between Government and Commercial Hydrographic Surveys Cost comparison data between in-house and contracted surveys are readily available from Corps records. However, a formal study comparing these costs has not been performed. Some informal cost data for both in-house and contracted work are contained in Chapter 15 (''Estimating Costs for Hydrographic Surveys'') of EM 1110-2-1003, Hydrographic Surveying (USACE, 1991). Generally, costs for contracted surveys are competitive with government-performed surveys. Although commercial contractors' daily rates are lower and efficiencies are usually superior to those of government crews, these advantages are somewhat offset by the regulatory and administrative costs associated with government procurement and contract administration. Attempts to compare costs are usually subjective, given the intangibles that are difficult to quantify (e.g., costs associated with emergency mobilization training required of government forces). Recent improvements in survey automation and positioning have caused the size of a typical hydrographic survey crew to drop from four or five persons to two or three, with corresponding labor cost savings. These savings are offset to some degree by higher equipment costs. REFERENCES International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). 1987. IHO Standards for Hydrographic Surveys. Special Publication No. 44. Third edition. Copenhagen. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 1976. Hydrographic Manual. Fourth edition. U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

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Charting a Course into the Digital Era: Guidance for NOAA's Nautical Charting Mission U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 1990. Hydrographic Surveying Services. Civil Works Construction Guide Specification CW-01333. December 30. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 1991. Hydrographic Surveying. EM 1110-2-1003. February 28. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.