Last week, I received an alert from Deborah Luter, TDOT’s Program Director for the Small Business Development Office (SBDP) regarding DBE participation credits.
Many prime contractors may be unaware that subcontracting to a DBE on a TDOT contract does not necessarily mean DBE goal participation credit will be awarded. To receive credit for utilizing a DBE, the DBE must be certified by the SBDP Office or a TNUCP Partner for the work type for which they are to perform. Once approved as a DBE, each business receives a letter showing each work type they are permitted to perform for credit. Certification may be expanded to other work types at the DBEs request, but may only be granted upon proof of experience in performing the work, proof of ownership of the necessary equipment to perform said work and through an on-site visit (if necessary).*
It should also be noted that DBE Certification should not be confused with Prequalification, which is a function of TDOT’s Construction Office. DBEs may be prequalified to perform many different types of work but may only receive goal credit for those which they have been certified by TDOT’s SBDP Office or a TNUCP Partner. The Uniform Certification Application must be completed for initial DBE certification, while all contractors and subcontractors must complete the Prequalification Form in order to work on a TDOT job. Once the form is completed, approved contractors will be visible on the Prequalified Contractors spreadsheet, which is updated daily by TDOT’s Construction Office.
TDOT encourages Prime Contractors to use DBEs whenever possible, not only for goal projects. TDOT’s Online DBE Directory is available to show the exact work types DBEs are certified for credit and is searchable by name, work type, etc. This is an excellent resource for finding DBEs for projects (not just TDOT) as well as a resource whenever in doubt on the types of work for which a DBE is certified.