March 7, 2017: This article was updated to reflect Leo A Daly's response to it's signature on the interested-vendor list.
President Donald Trump is taking the first steps to fulfill his campaign promise of erecting a wall spanning the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. According to a presolicitation notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (DHS' CBP) division will be accepting online submissions of conceptual designs for U.S.–Mexico borderwall plans from about March 6 until March 10 (the dates are left slightly open in the CBP release). A second phase will open on March 24 to a short list of teams and require a response to the entire request for proposal (RFP), including cost estimates. Firms may be awarded the project or segments of the project as early as mid-April.
Former ARCHITECT senior editor Kriston Capps at CityLab reports that nearly 200 firms have already signed an interested-vendors list as of Feb. 27, which "suggests widespread interest in what could be one of the biggest—and most notorious—contracts of any infrastructure project planned by the Trump administration." His CityLab article names global firm Leo A Daly as one of the architecture firms interested, in addition to multiple defense contracting and construction companies.
Estimated costs for the borderwall—which the president has stated could comprise a combination of fences and walls—have varied. Reuters recently reported a price tag of around $21.6 billion, while Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has estimated the cost as between $12 billion and $15 billion.
On March 7, Leo A Daly released a press release stating "It is the firm’s usual practice to respond “with interest” to every federal pre-solicitation that fits our areas of expertise. By checking that box, it was not the firm’s objective to communicate an intent to bid. It was simply to request more information." Leo A Daly does not intend to bid on the borderwall project.
DHS' full notice reads:
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.