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Reference Guide To Fiber Optics


Topic: Project Paperwork Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics


Fiber Optic and Premises Cabling Project Paperwork

    The key to any successful project is an understanding of the project, the requirements of the customer and the expectations of the contractor. These are spelled out in a number of documents that are created by and often negotiated amont the parties involved. The paperwork begins before the project starts so the scope of work is known to everyone and end only when the final copies of the documentation are presented to the customer. Here are descriptions of the most common documents, the Scope of Work (SOW), Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quote (RFQ) and contract, that are used to define a project.

Note: There is a whole category of paperwork we have not addressed here, the actual technical design documentation which includes drawings of the project, lists of components, installation instructions, etc. which will be covered in separate web pages.

Scope of Work (SOW)
    A "Scope of Work" document is created by the initiator of a project to describe the work to be performed or the services to be provided by a contractor. It describes tasks to be performed, directs methods to be used, and defines the period of performance. It should contain design and performance requirements. A scope of work for communications cabling or fiber optics may be part of a larger building project document that is based on a standardized format called "MasterFormat" in the US and Canada.
    A well written scope of work can do more for the success of a contract than any other part of the contracting process. A good scope of work is clear, complete, and logical enough to be understood by the respondent and the university personnel who will administer it. Because it describes the details of performance, it is the yardstick against which the respondent's performance is measured. That is why the user's requester, contract administrator and/orsubject matter expert should be the focal point for developing the scope of work.
    A SOW should be clear, precise and complete. It should describe the project in an unambiguous fashion, covering what needs to be done, who will do it, what is the time scale of the project, where the work is to be performed and how successful completion of the project will be determined. A scope of work can be detailed and specific if the work can be completely defined or more open when the project has options and latitiude in reaching the goal of the customer.
    The scope of work is only part of the procurement process. It will generally not include provisions dealing with legal, financial, or contract administration related issues (cost estimates, designation of key personnel, methods of payment, degree of confidentiality, types of contracts). These will be covered in other contractual documents.
   
Outlining the Scope of Work Process
    The following may be considered for inclusion in a comprehensive working outline:
1. Objectives - Precisely identify desired end objectives of the project and associated technical requirements.
2. Context of Project - List background information that will aid a contractor in understanding the nature and origin of the requirements. Include a brief summary of appropriate objectives, statutory program authority, major programs, and goals set by policy and/or procedure if relevant. Describe the relationship of the effort to major programs and goals.
3. Scope - Clearly describe the scope of required contractor efforts in support of project objectives.
a. Technical considerations - Set forth technical considerations that may influence a contractor's approach or efforts. Any known specific phenomena, techniques, methodologies, or results of previous related work that may influence a contractor's efforts or direction of approach should be specified.
b. Tasks - List specific tasks and subtasks to be accomplished by a contractor to satisfy the objectives, together with the required sequence of tasks in mi express order of accomplishment.
4. Acceptance - Establish milestones or management control points in the sequence of tasks where the customer requires review, approval, acceptance, or rejection.
Establish relevant and well-defined baselines for contractor performance measurement. These baselines will serve at least four purposes. They will: (a) prevent a contractor from drifting into areas not pertinent to the effort; (b) measure the results of completed work; (c) assist in defining whether or not subsequent changes or redirection of effort falls within the original scope of work; and (d) assist the project manager and the contracting officer in monitoring the progress of work. This monitoring is particularly important for phase-type contracts where it is necessary to detect unsatisfactory performance at an early stage. It will allow a project manager to inform procurement personnel of unpromising contractor actions that should be dealt with promptly before their effect compromises the entire contract effort.
5. Responsibilities - Identify all combined customer and contractor participation needed for the project, as well as the nature and extent of all task responsibilities. All tasks requiring customer support (customer-furnished equipment, facilities, materials, ect.) should be stated specifically. The nature and requirements of customer support to be provided should also be stated specifically.
6. Schedule - Generate a schedule for the sequence of tasks to be performed by a contractor and a similar schedule for related responsibilities of the customer.
7. Deliverables identify contractor delivery requirements precisely and schedule a delivery date for each. Include details about the type and quantity of all deliverables. For instance, such details must be provided for theoretical models, computer software, drawings, documentation, reports, or other data. State precisely what a contractor is to deliver at specified times as the work progresses and on completion of contract performance. Delivery schedules may be stated in calendar or work days of elapsed time (e.g., X calendar days after award of contract) or in terms of a specific calendar date.
8. Data/Documentation Requirements - Identify all technical data/documentation requirements, including the intended use for these data by the project manager.
9. Information Requirements - Identify management information requirements that a contractor must satisfy.
10. Time - Estimate professional and technical person-hours, -weeks, -months, or -years required of a contractor to perform the contract effort as appropriate. Developing the outline will: (a) allow full attention to be directed to technical content; (b) help guard against significant omissions; (c) aid in achieving smoothness and continuity; and (d) help eliminate unnecessary and redundant material.

Scope of Work Format
    Although the elements of a scope of work can vary with the objective, complexity, size and nature of the work to be performed, a flexible, seven-part format provides a practical approach to document drafting. The suggested seven parts are:
I. Background-general description of the project and any relevant comments of the development of the project
II. Scope - a summary of the SOWdescribing the purpose of the project and the end result desired
III. References - all applicable documents or other types of records/standards, etc.
IV. Requirements including schedules - the exact project description
V. Progress/Compliance - how the customer will judge the progress/completion of the project and the compliance to requirements of the SOW
VI. Transmittal/Delivery/Accessibility - defines the requirements for documenting project completion including work completion, data from work/testing and final documentation
VII. Notes - elaboration of other sections or topics not appropriate for the sections above
    The seven-part format is recommended as a guide. This does not mean that the SOW must be broken down into paragraphs with headings and subheadings. The SOW can simply reflect an orderly progression of ideas based on the seven- part structure.
    An excellent example of directions on writing a SOW from the standpoint of a university is at http://purchasing.ucsc.edu/howto/SOWGuide.pdf.

Requrest for Proposal (RFP)
    A request for proposal (RFP) is an early stage in a procurement process, issuing an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront.
    A RFP typically involves more than a request for the price and in fact may not request pricing at all, waiting for a final Request for Quote (RFQ) to follow. Other requested information may include basic corporate information and history, financial information, technical capability (used on major procurements of services, where the item has not previously been made or where the requirement could be met by varying technical means), product information such as stock availability and estimated completion period, and customer references that can be checked to determine a company's suitability.
    In the military, an RFP is often raised to fulfill an Operational Requirement (OR), after which the military procurement authority will normally issue a detailed Technical Specification against which tenders (i.e., RFQs or bids) will be made by potential contractors. In the civilian use, an RFP can be part of a complex sales process which includes subsequent negotiation.
    RFPs often include specifications of the item, project or service for which a proposal is requested. The more detailed the specifications, the better the chances that the proposal provided will be accurate. Generally RFPs are sent to an approved supplier or vendor list.
    The bidders return a proposal by a set date and time. Late proposals may or may not be considered, depending on the terms of the initial RFP. The proposals are used to evaluate the suitability as a supplier, vendor, or institutional partner. Discussions may be held on the proposals (often to clarify technical capabilities or to note errors in a proposal). In some instances, all or only selected bidders may be invited to participate in subsequent bids, or may be asked to submit their best technical and financial proposal, commonly referred to as a Best and Final Offer (BAFO).


Request for Quote (RFQ)
    A request for quotation (RFQ) is a standard business process whose purpose is to invite suppliers into a bidding process to bid on specific products or services. RFQ generally means the same thing as IFB (Invitation For Bid). An RFQ typically involves more than the price per item. Information like payment terms, quality level per item or contract length are possible to be requested during the bidding process.
    To receive correct quotes, RFQs often include the specifications of the items/services to make sure all the suppliers are bidding on the same item/service. Logically, the more detailed the specifications, the more accurate the quote will be and comparable to the other suppliers. Another reason for being detailed in sending out an RFQ is that the specifications could be used as legal binding documentation for the suppliers.
    The suppliers have to return the bidding by a set date and time to be considered for an award. Discussions may be held on the bids (often to clarify technical capabilities or to note errors in a proposal). The bid does not have to mean the end of the bidding. Multiple rounds can follow or even a Reverse auction can follow to generate the best market price.
    RFQ's are best suited to products and services that are as standardised and as commoditised as possible, as this makes each suppliers’ quotes comparable. In practice, many businesses use a RFQ where an RFT or RFI would be more appropriate.
    An RFQ allows different contractors to provide a quotation, among which the best will be selected. It also makes the potential for competitive bidding a lot higher, since the suppliers could be quite certain that they are not the only ones bidding for the products.

Contract
    The contract for a project must include detailed requirements for the project, spelling out exactly what is to be installed, acceptable test results, and documentation to be provided. All this should be discussed and negotiated between the customer and the contractor and agreed to in writing. They are not irrelevant details, as they are important to ensure the customer gets what they expect and the contractor knows what is expected of them when designing the network, estimating costs, doing the actual installation and providing proof of performance in order to show the work is completed and payment should be made.



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Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics


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