Playground Pavilion

How to Buy Better

Hannah Duncan Leave a Comment

The public bidding process for park & recreation buildings has historically included two steps, going out to bid for an architect & engineer and then going out to bid for a contractor. Both steps have often taken a lot of time, money, and resources away from a public project.

Over time, cooperative purchasing agreements and state contracts have provided solutions to work around the need for an architect and putting a project out to bid while still fulfilling the public bidding laws.

Save time, and money, and ultimately provide better value and better quality for a public project with a one of the following options.

White Bear Township

A Better Way to Purchase

Purchasing cooperatives, state purchasing contracts, and the design-build method are alternatives to the classic “design, bid, build” approach. Romtec is a member of many purchasing cooperatives which allow public agencies to purchase structures directly at a competitive price.

Some examples of purchasing contracts include national cooperatives such as Sourcewell, BuyBoard, Keystone Purchasing Network (KPN), and Purchasing Cooperative of America (PCA) that streamline the buying process for schools, municipalities, and other public entities. Vendors, like Romtec, who are members of these national cooperatives are required to go through a competitive procurement process and offer competitive prices.

In addition to national cooperatives there are also state-specific purchasing cooperatives that work the same way as national co-ops, but they are only available to public agencies, schools, and other non-profit organizations in their state. AEA is a purchasing cooperative in Iowa that helps the purchasing power for schools. CMAS is a California purchasing contract that streamlines the procurement process. Another example is COSTARS which serves Pennsylvania public procurement units and state-affiliated entities that help members get the best value. TexBuy is a statewide purchasing cooperative in Texas, and this is just to name a few.

Playground Pavilion

State Purchasing Contracts

Another, similar method to national and state cooperative agreements are “state purchasing contracts” where a state sets up its own contracts with vendors. State contracts are different than state cooperatives as cooperatives are designed and operated by an entity unrelated to any specific government. State contracts are a contract set up specifically by the state with a vendor.

One example is the Ohio State Term Schedules which competitively selects and negotiates contracts for state agencies (local governments, schools, and universities) to procure supplies and services. Another is the New Mexico State Contract. At Romtec we’re proud to be a part of these and many more certified state cooperatives and contracts.

Rose Park

Design-Build Method

Another option to conventional bid build contracting is the design-build method where public entities are putting building projects out to bid with a design-build specification. This means that owners only accept bids from companies that can both design and build the project, putting the entirety of the project in the hands of a single entity. This helps them justify the bid award based on price and qualifications instead of just the lowest bid which doesn’t always best serve the public or the project.

The design-build process saves time and money as there is less time spent on bidding for an architect or engineer and then bidding again for a contractor to do the construction. Instead, the owner drafts an initial project design and asks for proposals from design-builders. These proposals represent their best price for the project along with notes on the project design. This process results in one company who is in charge of design and construction of the project. This removes the need for most change orders and allows a lot of collaboration between the design-build company and the owner.


Romtec does all the design, supply, and construction, for the public park and recreation structures we specialize in. We have decades of experience working on public projects all over the country and we have the expertise to perform under state contracts as well as cooperative pricing agreements.

Romtec is also a design-build firm with the ability to provide every aspect of design, supply, and construction nationwide.

Whether it’s purchasing cooperatives, state purchasing contracts, or a design-build solution, there are many options to proceed with your public project to help your city, state, or county get the best value.

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