China Lake Recovery Event

Published: December 20, 2019

Architecture Engineering and ConstructionArchitecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)NAVFAC

The Department of the Navy, Naval Engineering Command, Southwest San Diego, California, held a second Industry Forum, on December 18, 2019 in San Diego, CA. The purpose of this forum was to discuss the current earthquake recovery efforts at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake (NAWSCL), California. 

Panel of Presenters:

  • John Coon, NAVFAC Southwest Chief Engineer
  • Renae Kvendru, NAVFAC Southwest Chief of Contracts
  • Captain Roy Scott, NAVFAC Southwest
  • Gary Bernier, Program Manager China Lake Earthquake Recovery

The initial industry day for the China Lake Recovery Program was held in August 2019, only a few short weeks after the earthquakes.  At that time, the damage was still being assessed, but it was clear that the rebuilding efforts at China Lake would be a massive undertaking.  Industry, at that time, was provided a sense of the scale of construction needed and were asked for help in how they would approach the problem of labor and cost factors for the reconstruction efforts. The panelists were excited to announce that the $2.2B has been secured with the help of Congressman Kevin McCarthy.  Roughly $800M was been approved for FY’2020, with the authority to spend that money.  FY’2021 funds have been secured, but are not yet authorized to spend.  

The Contracting Office anticipates using existing/current MACCs/IDIQs in an effort to get the work completed as fast as they can to get the base back up and running.  No new MACCs will be established for this recovery program. Industry will see some stand-alone projects, as well as some 8A sole source contracts, depending on the type of work.  Both LPTA and Best Value Contracts will be awarded, as FFP contracts types.  Liquidated damages are still being discussed. 

During the event, the panelists urged Contractors to provide feedback as well as suggestions on how to make this recovery program as efficient as possible.  Many of the suggestions by contractors dealt with the logistics of this project, where one attendee called it a logistics nightmare.  Hurdles include the following:

  • Lack of personnel/workers to do the work
  • Getting the workers out to China Lake (undesirable area)
  • Infrastructure – can China Lake support the influx of so many workers coming out to work: Roadways, Housing etc.
  • Labor Rates – Companies will have to increase their rates as an incentive to get the personnel needed. 
  • Materials – Getting all of the rebuilding materials out to China Lake.  One Concrete plant in the vicinity, where the owner doubles his prices when there is an increasing need for concrete. 

Other Feedback Included the following:

  • Coming up with a more efficient way to vet the workers prior to winning a contract.  Current process will only delay getting qualified workers up and running at China Lake
  • Badges, obtaining the badges is also burdensome, is there a way for a more efficient process?
  • Tariff increases – cost of goods are rising with tariffs, which contractors should be including as a risk factor in proposals.
  • Lack of visibility into the work that needs to be done – SB contractors need to know which projects are being done under which MACCs to team accordingly. 

Collaboration between industry and Government is essential in getting China Lake back up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Contractors are encouraged to reach out to the Contracting Office with feedback on best practices.  Small businesses are encouraged to contact NAVFAC Southwest Deputy for Small Business Robert “Zack” Zaccaria via email at: or phone at 619-532-2375.