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The Mercury Modernization Building 1 at NNSA’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is the first building complete of the site’s Mercury Modernization program and serves as a pilot infrastructure initiative of standardization and efficiency.
The Mercury Modernization Building 1 at NNSA’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is the first building complete of the site’s Mercury Modernization program and serves as a pilot infrastructure initiative of standardization and efficiency.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) hosted a 2020 Construction Industry Day virtually on November 18 with the support of the Supply Chain Management Center at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KSCNSC). The goal for Industry Day was to develop solutions to construction and contract challenges by exploring innovative ideas and best practices to increase supplier participation in future DOE and NNSA infrastructure-related projects.

Event attendees included large and small construction firms, who provided insights into pursuing and working with DOE and NNSA. They also discussed best practices to attract a new and larger class of contractors to perform work at sites like KCNSC and throughout the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Our future infrastructure investment plan is a tremendous opportunity for national and local businesses to join us in a mutually beneficial partnership.

Jim McConnell
NNSA Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations

The event featured virtual presentations from leadership within DOE’s Office of Science and NNSA’s Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations Program. The one-day meeting also included roundtable discussions with officers from more than a half-dozen construction companies, who met with teams of NNSA and DOE Federal and contractor representatives to learn more about each other and the common challenges they face when competing for a construction contract on Federal sites.

Topics addressed in the breakout sessions included discussions on the pros and cons of competing for—and executing—DOE and NNSA projects, how DOE and NNSA can partner with the construction industry to improve the talent pipeline, and techniques to identify the right people, timing, and industry events to effectively gain interest in project opportunities.

“Our goal for this Industry Day event was to identify ways to overcome barriers and explore innovative ideas that will deliver solutions to increase supplier participation in future NNSA infrastructure-related construction projects,” said Jim McConnell, Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations. “Our future infrastructure investment plan is a tremendous opportunity for national and local businesses to join us in a mutually beneficial partnership.”

NNSA has invested an average of $1.6 billion annually in new large capital acquisition construction over the past three years and expects to continue investing approximately $1 billion per year for the next five years. Current NNSA inventory includes more than 36 million square feet of active facility space and nearly 2,100 square miles of land.

The majority of NNSA facilities, however, are beyond their estimated 40-year life expectancy. In addition, nearly half are in need of improvements, meaning they may experience challenges in supporting the national nuclear security mission's production, safety, and support system operation.

These sobering statistics highlight NNSA’s daunting task for acquiring new facilities and constructing new infrastructure. To meet its future mission for enabling infrastructure, for example, NNSA is looking at new construction in Kansas City and nationwide, including office space, laboratory space, warehouse space, utilities, and even parking lots. The suggested vision for broad infrastructure modernization will require significant resources, partnership, rigorous planning, and execution.

The 2020 event is part of a multi-part strategy to build better relationships between the Nuclear Security Enterprise, its contractors, and the construction industry. It is an important effort to make DOE and NNSA easier to conduct business with, while trying to identify new venues for communicating NNSA infrastructure opportunities.

“Industry Day is one of multiple initiatives that will lay the groundwork for what we hope will result in successful contracting practices and vehicles for construction services,” McConnell said. “We are committed to doing what we can to provide clarity, consistency, and relief from restrictions and requirements where possible to attract a broader bidding audience and develop successful and collaborative contracting partner relationships.”