Home Politics Obama Foundation Pretends to Answer Questions About How They’ll Build New Chicago...

Good news! The Obama Foundation is busy getting ready to hire an architect to build the Obama Library in Chicago. They’ve put up a whole Q&A section on their website so everyone can understand what they’re doing. Unfortunately, what they’re doing is either not answering questions or being as vague as possible about what they’re doing. What are they doing? Not giving information or answering questions about nothing. Remember when George Costanza said he wanted to be an architect? After reading, he’ll be glad he didn’t choose that career. Look for the word ‘not’ as in we’re not telling you anything.

RFQ stands for Request for Quotation, RFP is Request for Proposal.

from the Obama Foundation website:

Questions asked about the RFQ
RFQ General Inquiries

Q: How many firms received the RFQ?
A: The RFQ was sent to an extensive list of architects representing a range of approaches and styles. We are not releasing exact numbers or names of firms.

Q: My firm was not invited to participate in the RFQ process. May we submit a response and if we do, will it be considered?
A: The RFQ is available to download on our website and all responses will be considered on an equal footing to that of other respondents.

Q: How many firms will be shortlisted for the RFP?
A: The number of firms that will be shortlisted for the RFP will depend upon the submissions received.

Q: Will RFQ responses be made public?
A: We will not be sharing responses. Finalists’ ‘names will be made public once selected, but not the responses.

Q: Do firms based outside of Chicago need to team with a local architect of record for this stage?
A: You do not need to team up with a local architect of record for this stage.

Q: Will the RFP stage include a design competition?
A: There will not be a full design competition in the RFP stage.

Q: Will the review and evaluation process be conducted primarily by the Foundation, or will other entities and/or advisors be participating in the evaluation process?
A: The Initial review and analysis will be performed by the Foundation and its advisors. Final decisions will be made by the President and First Lady.

Q: Could you please clarify the confidentiality statement indicated under the General Conditions of RFQ Submission? Is this in so far as releasing information to any outside and non-affiliate entities?
A: The Foundation will only release information received from responses to outside parties if it is necessary to conduct the review, or is required by law.

Q: What is the Q&A process? Is there a deadline for submitting all inquiries?
A: The Foundation will be answering questions received by September 11, 2015. [Editor’s note: ironic date, and of course, well since passed]. After that date, we cannot promise that questions will be answered in time to complete submissions by the September 16 deadline.

Q: At what phone number can the Foundation be reached with additional questions?
A: Questions should be emailed to robbin@obamapresidentialfoundation.org.

Q: What is the estimated scale of the overall project and per program, eg. GFA of the overall project, the museum, etc.?
A: The scale and program information is not available at this time.

Q: What is the estimated cost of construction?
A: The estimated cost of construction is not available at this time.

Q: Will the information regarding the selection committee be made available?
A: Information regarding the selection committee will not be made available at this time.

Q: What are the evaluation criteria/weightings to advance to the RFP stage?
A: The Foundation is not publishing evaluation criteria. Responses will be reviewed by the Foundation and its advisors – and decisions regarding the selection of firms to advance to the RFP phase will be made by the President and First Lady.

Q: Please provide clarification for Item #4 of the response – Client References.
A: We are only seeking a list of clients that can be contacted for reference checks, along with current client contact information.

Q: Do we need to include or make reference to a team of sub consultants at this time?
A: The RFQ phase does not ask you to include a team of sub consultants at this time.

RFQ Submittal Format and Delivery

Q: To whom should the letter of interest be addressed?
A: The letter of interest should be addressed to Robbin Cohen, Executive Director of The Barack Obama Foundation.

Q: Is the cover letter (letter of interest) included in the page count of 40?
A: The cover letter is included in the page count.

Q: Do the front and back cover pages and dividers count as part of the total number of pages?
A: The front and back cover pages and dividers do not count as part of the total number of pages.

Q: Is the binding at our discretion? E.g. spiral binding, book binding, note-book?
A: The binding is at your discretion.

RFQ Submittal Response Content

Q: Please clarify the requirements for team composition. Is the RFQ intended for the design architect (lead consultant) only? Or should the submittal include a design team (including sub-consultants, e.g. Landscape architects, engineers, exhibition designers, lighting designers, acousticians, Architect of Record, etc.)?

A: The responses are not limited to lead design consultants. The submittal should not include a design team.

Q: Is there a selection process in place for the project consultants?
A: The selection process for project consultant is not available at this time.

Q: Should the submittal include documentation to show compliance with Illinois licensing requirements for firms/persons offering architectural services in the State of Illinois at this time?
A: The submittal only requires that you be able to comply with Illinois licensing requirements. It is not necessary to include documentation at this time.

Q: We would like to partner with a local architectural firm licensed to practice in the State of Illinois (the Architect of Record). Will the AOR be separately tendered by the client or do we need to identify one now within our RFQ (or RFP should we advance)?
A: There is no need to identify a local Architect of Record at this time.

Q: Please clarify the types of projects referenced in the following statement “Please list the names of up to ten of your noteworthy projects, which we know may be quite different from the future OPC.”
A: The 10 noteworthy projects include any projects you wish to highlight, even if they are not relevant examples of work similar to that envisioned for the Obama Presidential Center.

Q: Must the 3-5 projects described in depth, with photographs, overlap with those included in the list of 10 noteworthy projects?
A: No, the 3-5 projects described in depth need not overlap with the 10 noteworthy projects but should highlight your firm’s ability to execute a project on scale with the OPC.

Q: My firm specializes in landscape design/interior design/exhibit fabrication etc. Is there a list of RFQ participants I can communicate with to offer services?
A: Unfortunately we are not able to connect you with the firms who have received an RFQ, as that list of firms has not been released to the public. We do anticipate, however, that the list of firms who advance to the RFP phase will be made available, and you will be able to connect with them at that time.
RFP General Inquiries

Q: Is it envisioned that the selection of the site (between Jackson Park and Washington Park) be finalized prior to the release of the RFP? Otherwise, will the presentation of creative ideas be required for both sites, and will these ideas influence the selection of the site?
A: It is possible that the RFP phase will include an analysis of both sites. Details regarding requirements will be addressed during the RFP phase.

Q: Will there be a fee provided to selected respondents who participate in the RFP to offset related costs and expenses?
A: Details regarding the RFP phase will be made available at a later date.

Q: How many respondents will be selected to participate in the RFP?
A: Details regarding the RFP phase will be made available at a later date.

Q: Will the list of selected respondents to participate in the RFP be made public?
A: The list of respondents to participate in the RFP will be made available to the public.

Q: Please clarify insurance requirements for the architect.
A: Architect insurance requirements will be addressed in the RFP phase.

Q: How many firms received the RFQ?
A: The RFQ was sent to an extensive list of architects representing a range of approaches and styles. We are not releasing exact numbers or names of firms.

Q: My firm was not invited to participate in the RFQ process. May we submit a response and if we do, will it be considered?
A: The RFQ is available to download on our website and all responses will be considered on an equal footing to that of other respondents.

Q: How many firms will be shortlisted for the RFP?
A: The number of firms that will be shortlisted for the RFP will depend upon the submissions received.

Q: Will RFQ responses be made public?
A: We will not be sharing responses. Finalists’ names will be made public once selected, but not the responses.

Q: In regards to the required hardcopy RFQ response, will the cover/back and dividers be counted towards the 40 page limit?
A: No—cover/back and dividers will not be counted against the limit.

Q: Do firms based outside of Chicago need to team with a local architect of record for this stage?
A: You do not need to team up with a local architect of record for this stage.

Q: Will the RFP stage include a design competition?
A: There will not be a full design competition in the RFP stage – however there will be a limited design effort required.

Q: My firm specializes in landscape design/interior design/exhibit fabrication etc. Is there a list of RFQ participants I can communicate with to offer services?
A: Unfortunately we are not able to connect you with the firms who have received an RFQ, as that list of firms has not been released to the public. We do anticipate, however, that the list of firms who advance to the RFP phase will be made available, and you will be able to connect with them at that time.

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