Military construction contracting officials touted their efforts to award work to small businesses at an industry conference last month, but attendees noted the procurements are fraught with issues, from slow-moving awards to bait-and-switch tactics by prime contractors.Tracy Pinson, director of small-business programs for the U.S. Army, highlighted its "robust" small-business contracting program to the 1,900 attendees at the Society of Military Engineers event in suburban Washington, D.C. In fiscal 2011, the Army let approximately $90 billion in construction contracts to U.S. firms—close to $24 billion, or about 26%, went to small businesses. Other officials, such as Brig. Gen. Stephen Leisenring,
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.