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  • John Fox & Clemon Williams vs. Kern High School District, Whistleblowing to the FBI Re: Garland Purchase Orders, Bakersfield, California, 2013
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  • Los Angeles vs. Garland, Re: Bid Collusion, Racketeering, etc., Los Angeles, California, About 1997
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

All San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) Waterproofing Lock-Spec'd to a Foreign Manufacturer - at Four Times the Price of US Manufacturers

If you think that the closed specs, "Lock Specs" are just going on in roofing, try again.

This time, it's waterproofing.  And on a huge transit system in the San Francisco Bay Area - BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit System).

BART has Lock-Spec'd all their Waterproofing to one system, made in Seoul, South Korea, at four times the price of US-manufactured waterproofing systems.

That's right.

With all the great systems made in the US, why use the taxpayer dollar in this manner?

Those trying to compete say that this product - Turbo Seal - did not meet the specification criteria for proven use over 5 years in the USA (all references are in Asia), and the cost is 4 times over "or equal" products.

And they also tell me that the distributor in the San Francisco Bay Area paid a million dollars to rep the product.  To the manufacturer.

Wow!  So the taxpayers get to pay for that, too?
They also tell me that the general contractor for the first phase (Warm Springs Extension) said they have spent millions due to various causes, and the GC had "more change orders than any other sub contractors" on this project.

For the spec below, BART's sole-sourced system was actually allowed to be substituted with an American- made system, at four times less the cost than the foreign system specified.  The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) engineers saw to it they allowed an American-made product at far less cost be installed.

But BART on the rest of their system won't let competition happen, and uses this foreign-made system exclusively.

BART's typical spec is below, along with a Note Legend that describes what is happening inside their typical  specification to cause Turbo Seal to be sole-sourced on BART below-grade, blind-side wall waterproofing applications.

Here is an overall summary of what is happening in these oh-so-familiar Restrictive Proprietary Performance Specs, designed to run off competition:
  • Sole-sourcing by naming the product and Manufacturer
  • Unusual sole-sourcing by naming the Distributor
  • Sole-sourcing by listing extensive lists of properties of products to be met
  • Unusual immediate and repeated references to named product in the specification, to warn off competition
  • Unusual statement that this is the only system BART approves for blind-side of wall applications
  • Means and Methods of Construction are listed in the spec, specific to the sole-sourced system.  Means and Methods of Construction should never be listed in a specification, that is the responsibility of the Contractor, not the Owner nor their Design Professionals.
  • The Spec is written to allow the Manufacturer control of the approvals of the installation.  They do it, but not for the Owner.  They do it to ensure the Warranty.  The Owner should have their own separate Registered Roof/Waterproofing Observer (RRO) submitting reports to the Owner, or the Owner's Rep (a licensed architect or engineer).  The specification does not address what the Owner's Rep and RRO will be doing, and should.  Actions between the Manufacturer and Sub are between them and not to be addressed in the bid spec.  The Warranty has to be achieved, how they do it is up to them.
  • Restrictive Qualifications
  • The "Warranty" appears not to be - limited by age as to amount that would be paid in case of failure.  The initial amount may not reflect actual value.
Here are the specifications marked up with restrictive aspects, keyed to the Notes Legend at the top.