Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning the New Jersey Schools Development Authority’s role and responsibilities under the school construction program and answers to these questions. If you have a question concerning the SDA's policies, plans or procedures that is not included on this list, you can contact us and your question will be answered promptly.

New Funding for the School Construction Program

School Construction as Economic Stimulus

General Information
      SDA Districts
      Regular Operating Districts

'Green' Construction

Professional Consultants (Architects, Engineers, Landscape Architects, Planners, Surveyors, and Construction Management, etc.)
      Prequalification Procedures
      Procurement Process

Contractors and Subcontractors
      Prequalification Process
      Procurement Process

Equitable Employment and Business Opportunities


Funding for the School Construction Program

What funding is available for the School Construction Program?
On July 9, 2008 legislation was signed authorizing $3.9 billion in additional funding for the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA).

The legislation allocates $2.9 billion for 31 special-needs districts, known as SDA Districts. The SDA manages and funds 100 percent of eligible project costs in SDA Districts.

The legislation also allocates $1 billion to leverage construction in New Jersey’s Regular Operating Districts (RODs) that includes $50 million for vocational schools. The SDA administers grants for RODs, which manage their own projects.

The school construction program was originally allocated $8.6 billion in 2000: $6 billion for SDA Districts and $2.6 billion for RODs, including $100 million for vocational schools. That funding has been fully committed to projects, although not completely disbursed.

Where does funding for the School Construction Program come from?
Money for school construction funding is provided by New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) School Facilities Construction Bonds. In April 2010 Governor Christie announced the approval of the sale of $500 million in bonds by the NJEDA. Through March 2012, the NJEDA had issued $8.65 of the $12.5 billion of bonds authorized by EFCFA. Further financing activity generally will coincide with future cash flow requirements for already-committed projects.

In July 2012, the NJEDA approved the sale of $425,000,000 in bonds to further the school construction program.

Top of Page     

School Construction as Economic Stimulus

How is the SDA contributing to economic stimulus efforts in NJ?
SDA projects play a vital role in the economic stimulus efforts of the state. The SDA’s current portfolio of active projects is valued at over $2.2 billion – including the 2011 and 2012 Capital Project portfolios (more than $1B), additional projects in construction ($86M), emergent projects ($43M) and Regular Operating District grants ($743M state share).

In September 2012, Governor Christie announced that over the next six months, New Jersey's construction industry will benefit from an investment of more than $500 million dollars in school facilities projects that will either start construction, or be advertised for construction throughout the state, boosting the Garden State economy and creating jobs.

General Information

When was the SDA created?
The SDA was established on August 6, 2007 under the provisions of P.L. 2007, c. 137 (Program and Governance Reform) as an independent authority in but not of the Department of Treasury. It replaced the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation (SCC), which had been a subsidiary of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), and eliminated the requirement that half of its governing-body members also be EDA Board members.

What additional changes resulted from the creation of the SDA?

Changes to the Board
Authority members are required to have backgrounds directly relevant to the program’s mission. The Board consists of the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, the State Treasurer, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Authority and is authorized to have 11 public members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

At least one public member must have expertise in law enforcement, while the remaining public members must have knowledge or expertise in real estate development, construction management, finance, architectural or building design, or any other related field.

Reporting Requirements
The SDA is required to report to the Governor and the Legislature every six months on its progress. This is done through the SDA Biannual Report

Prioritization of Projects
Projects are now prioritized by the Department of Education (DOE), based on educational need. The SDA collaborates with the DOE to sequence those projects.

Land Acquisition Controls
The SDA has the ability to acquire property before municipal approvals or variances are granted, preventing speculators from increasing costs.

Delegation of Projects
The August 2007 legislation establishing the SDA provided a mechanism for delegating projects to SDA Districts that are deemed capable and qualified by the DOE, and determined by SDA to have the capacity to manage the projects. The DOE and SDA have each developed sets of regulations to address these issues: http://njsda.gov/RP/PoliciesAndRegulations/pdfs/Regulations_PDF/19_34B.pdf.

What reforms have been undertaken by the SDA?
The SDA has undergone comprehensive reform since January 2010:

Internal Restructuring
In June 2010 the SDA implemented a new organizational structure that will increase fiscal accountability and improve the overall operations of the Authority. The new structure moves away from a departmental model for the delivery of school projects to a “team based” approach, involving appropriate staff in all aspects and phases of a construction project working as one unit. This structure will provide for greater continuity and better communication throughout the entire life cycle of a project, which will result in more cost-effective delivery of schools.

Recouping Costs to Protect Taxpayers from Paying for Others' Mistakes
An Environmental Cost Recovery Team was established to recover funds from responsible parties for the costs of environmental remediation of project sites. The SDA’s Office of Chief Counsel is working to recover funds from responsible parties for project delays and design errors as well. Since January 2010, the SDA has recouped $16.1M through various cost recovery efforts.

Cost Savings Initiatives
The SDA has made improvements to project management, in-sourcing information technology purchasing, in-sourcing safety services, mileage reimbursement, rent and utility expenses; temporary staffing services; and a reduction of parking expenses.

Transparency of Authority Action
The SDA is committed to eliminating any potential for wasteful practices or wrongdoing in the school construction program. Accordingly, the SDA cooperates with the Investigations Division of the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) to review and investigate SDA operations and processes as needed. The SDA CEO stays in regular contact with the Division and refers matters requiring investigation for follow-up.

Standardization
The New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA), in an effort to implement standardized designs for SDA school facilities projects, has been developing methods to utilize standardization in all public school facilities projects in the State of New Jersey that are managed by the SDA. The SDA has developed and released its “Materials and Systems Standards Manual”, “Construction Details Manual” and, “Kits of Parts”. For more information, please visit www.njsda.gov/Design/index.html.

Besides the SDA, who is responsible for carrying out the School Construction Program?

Attorney General
The Attorney General's (AG) Office develops and reviews contracts, memoranda of understanding, regulations, procedures, and other documents associated with the implementation of the program. The AG provides advice and acts as legal counsel for SDA.

Department of Community Affairs
The Department of Community Affairs, Division of Government Services' ("DCA") main focus is on the contracting process to ensure that contracts comply with the Public Schools Contract Law (PSCL) and associated statutes. DCA has developed a series of checklists that school districts are required to complete to "certify" that its procurement of professionals was done in accordance with the requirements of the PSCL. Permits for school facility projects managed by SDA are issued by DCA.

Department of Education
DOE is responsible for reviewing and approving each school district's Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) and each school construction project to ensure that the plans are in compliance with State building standards, referred to as "facilities efficiency standards" and for conformity with educational requirements.

The department, in consultation with districts, in 2008 developed a list of critically needed projects based on LRFPs and ranked primarily by educational priority. The SDA, in consultation with DOE, develops the Prioritization Plan for SDA Districts.

In 2011, an updated prioritization list and DOE educational priority scores were developed: http://njsda.gov/Archive/2011/03/03.02.11/SDA_Capital_Plan_Program_Report_Presentation.pdf

DOE also oversees the application and review process for the ROD grant program.

Department of Labor
The Department of Labor ("DOL") monitors the payment of prevailing wages on all school construction projects. All contractors must be "registered" with the DOL to work on school construction projects.

Department of Treasury
Treasury will coordinate the classification of all contracting and professional consulting firms with the SDA and work with SDA on the issuance of the $12.5 billion in State-contracted debt. The SDA is considered in but not of the Department of Treasury.

The Treasury Department also registers businesses as Small Business Enterprises (SBE) under current set-aside State law requirements. It is the only certification that the SDA recognizes for registration of consultants and of contractors as SBE firms.

State Police
Investigatory background checks of all professional consultants and construction contractors are performed by the State Police.

Where can I get assistance with additional questions regarding the school construction program?
An SDA Help-Line has been established at 609-341-5900 to answer your questions about the school construction program.

Who can I contact to report wrongdoing?
If you suspect wrongdoing at any SDA construction sites or offices, please contact the Investigations Division Hotline at (855) 672-8477.

Top of Page     

SDA Districts

What are SDA Districts?
The SDA is responsible for financing 100% of eligible costs. It also procures design, construction and construction management contracts for DOE-approved facilities projects in these school districts, as well as acquiring land when necessary. The SDA manages most projects for these districts. SDA projects are categorized as either a Capital Project or an Emergent Project.
Click here to view the list of SDA Districts.

What are SDA's responsibilities with respect to SDA Districts?
The SDA is responsible for financing 100% of eligible costs. It also procures design, construction and construction management contracts for DOE-approved facilities projects in these school districts, as well as acquiring land when necessary. The SDA manages most projects for these districts. SDA projects are categorized as either a Capital Project or an Emergent Project.

Top of Page     

Regular Operating Districts

What is a Regular Operating District?
A Regular Operating District (ROD) is any New Jersey school district that is not designated as one of the 31 SDA Districts.

Is grant money available for Regular Operating Districts?
An additional $1 billion for ROD grants was made available in legislation enacted on July 9, 2008.

Only projects that are 100 percent eligible for state support and included in one of at least three prioritization "levels" will be considered by DOE, although districts may request debt-service aid for other projects. The program funds at least 40 percent of eligible project costs in RODs. The first allocation in March 2009 preliminarily approved $181 million in state funding for 400 projects. Through August 2012, the SDA had executed 866 grants with a State share of $271.5 million from the new funding allocation. For more information on the ROD Grant program, click here.

What are Section 15 grants?
Section 15 grants are also known as ROD Grants. These grants were authorized under the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act of 2000, and provided additional funding in legislation enacted on July 9, 2008. School districts generally receive 40 percent of eligible project costs. School districts must finance the balance of the cost of their facilities project.

To be eligible for funding, a school project needs to meet the Facilities Efficiency Standards (a guideline for space allowance) as well as have elements deemed necessary for a thorough and efficient education by DOE.

How are ROD Grant Payments disbursed?


Grants are paid out as districts attain specific project milestones.

For projects with a final eligible cost of more than $250,000:
Design phase payment (representing reimbursement of payments to design and other consultants) 10%
35% Construction Completion 30%
65% Construction Completion 40%
Substantial Completion 15%
Final Completion 5%


For projects with a final eligible cost that is less than or equal to $250,000:
50% Construction Completion 50.5%
Substantial Completion 45%
Final Completion 0.5%


At each request for payment by the district, SDA sends a Grant Inspection Team to view documents justifying disbursement. Teams also physically inspect the school.

Top of Page     

'Green' Construction

Is the SDA incorporating energy efficiency into the design of school facilities?
Yes. The SDA is committed to the construction of high-performance, sustainable schools. The SDA LEED Policy currently requires design consultants to design schools that meet a minimum of 29 LEED points complying with USGBC LEED for Schools Version 2.0. The SDA’s New Jersey 21st Century Schools Design Manual defines criteria for the design and construction of 21st Century schools that comply with LEED standards, benefit communities and are cost-efficient.

Top of Page     

Professional Consultants (Architects, Engineers, Landscape Architects, Planners, Surveyors, and Construction Management, etc.)

Prequalification Procedures

Effective July 1, 2004 to become an SDA Consultant you must have a current prequalification with the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Property Management and Construction (DPMC). Your firm must be prequalified by the SDA in order to submit responses to the SDA's requests for proposals. Consultants having this prequalification are required to fill out the SDA Prequalification Application, which once received is reviewed for completeness and forwarded to the New Jersey State Police for a moral integrity screening. Upon review from the State Police, the SDA will prequalify a firm in the same discipline(s) and rating(s) as DPMC. The effective date will be the date SDA issues a prequalification letter. The expiration date will be the same as DPMC.

Please note: The SDA requires all subconsultants of any tier in the DPMC Disciplines listed below, whose contract is in an amount which is equal to or greater than $500,000, be prequalified by the SDA.

P001 Architecture
P002 Electrical Engineering
P003 HVAC Engineering
P004 Plumbing Engineering
P005 Civil Engineering
P007 Structural Engineering
P011 Environmental Engineering
P015 Land Surveying
P029 Construction Management
P038 Asbestos Safety Control Monitoring
Materials Testing Laboratories (P066 – P103)

Does updating my DPMC prequalification automatically update my SDA prequalification?
No. The DPMC and the SDA are separate agencies. Whenever you renew your DPMC Registration, you must submit a copy of your Notice of Prequalification to SDA along with a prequalification questionnaire in order to update your SDA prequalification. If you revise your DPMC Prequalification during the term of your prequalification, forward a copy of the revised Notice of Prequalification to SDA with a cover letter requesting revision of your SDA prequalification.

Is there a fee that must be submitted with the SDA Prequalification Application?
There are no fees associated with the SDA Prequalification Application.

Why does my business need Business Registration Certification?
State law (Public Law 2001, c.134) prohibits contracting with any state, county or municipal agency, unless the business has a Business Registration from the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. This form may be completed and filed online with the NJ Treasury Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.

What is a "moral integrity" screening?
Eligibility to participate in the school construction program is contingent upon moral integrity screening by the NJ State Police. The moral integrity background screening verifies the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant, including ownership/key persons and disclosure of any determination for violations of federal, State or local laws, rules or regulations. The NJ State Police will contact your firm directly should they require additional information or clarification.

How do I confirm that my firm is on the SDA's list of prequalified professional consultants?
The entire list of prequalified professional consultants with their addresses, contact information and authorization levels are listed on the SDA's website. The list is searchable according to company name, locality, profession, and specialty or work classification.

Top of Page     

Procurement Process

How do I submit a proposal to SDA to do work as a professional consultant for a school facilities project?
Design consultant projects use a traditional Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposal (RFQ/RFP) process whereby any prequalified firm meeting the criteria as listed in the advertisement is eligible to submit a proposal. Firms wishing to participate must have an active SDA prequalification as of the date when RFQ proposals are due. RFQ proposals must be submitted to the SDA on or before the due date specified in the advertisement. RFQ proposals will be used by the SDA to determine a shortlist of firms that will then be issued an RFP, which will require submission of formal detailed technical proposals.


See the advertisement page for Design Consultants for more details.


What is the process used for evaluating proposals?
All proposals for work to be done in school districts are independently reviewed by a selection committee comprised of a school district representative and SDA staff, then ranked, negotiated and awarded to the consultant having the best qualifications for the project.

What criteria ("other factors") are used by the SDA to select professional consultants?
The selection committee evaluates the technical qualifications of the firms so that they can be ranked in terms of their ability to perform the engagement.
The criteria for this evaluation include:
1. Understanding of the project.
2. Team experience.
3. Experience of key team members.
4. Appropriateness of staffing.
5. Project approach.
6. The Firm's approach to maintaining schedule.
7. The Firm's approach to maintaining budget.

Following this "qualifications based" selection process, SDA staff then open the fee proposals and negotiate a fee with the highest ranked firm. If an agreement is reached, a contract is awarded; however, if the parties cannot come to an agreement, negotiations begin with the next ranked firm. This process continues, if necessary with successively ranked firms, until an agreement is reached and a contract is executed.

Top of Page     

Contractors and Subcontractors

Prequalification Process

What firms need SDA Prequalification to perform construction services on a school facilities project?
All prime bidders and required subcontractors as identified in the bid advertisement need to be prequalified by SDA.

How does my firm get SDA Contractor Prequalification?
To become an SDA contractor, you must have a current classification with the NJ Department of Treasury, Division of Property Management and Construction (DPMC).

Contractors and subcontractors may obtain prequalification status from SDA based upon the same trade or work classification and aggregate rating limit issued by DPMC.

A contractor having this DPMC classification may then fill out the SDA Prequalification form, which once received, is forwarded to the New Jersey State Police for SDA for "moral integrity" screening. However, in order to qualify to bid on school facility projects, firms must also have Public Works Contractor Registration and Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services Registration.

Does updating my DPMC classification automatically update my SDA prequalification?
No. The DPMC and the SDA are separate agencies. Whenever you renew your DPMC, you must submit a copy of your Notice of Classification to SDA along with a prequalification questionnaire in order to update your SDA prequalification. If you revise your DPMC Classification during the term of your prequalification, forward a copy of the revised Notice of Classification to SDA with a cover letter requesting revision of your SDA prequalification.


Is there a fee that must be submitted with the SDA Prequalification Application?
There are no fees associated with the SDA Prequalification Application.

Where can I find these required forms?
A one-stop shop on our website is in place where you can find all the above mentioned forms. Contractor prequalification page

What is a "moral integrity" screening?
Eligibility to participate in the school construction program is contingent upon moral integrity screening by the NJ State Police. The moral integrity background screening verifies the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant, including ownership/key persons and disclosure of any determination for violations of federal, State or local laws, rules or regulations. The NJ State Police will contact your firm directly should they require additional information or clarification.

How do I apply for "moral integrity" screening?
Once a contractor applies for SDA prequalification, the application is automatically sent to the New Jersey State Police for "moral integrity" screening.

What classifications/certifications does a subcontractor need to be eligible to do work in the school construction program?
In order to work on a school construction project, a subcontractor who is not bidding as a prime, and is not identified in the bid advertisement, needs:

1) Public Works Contractor Registration, The Division of Wage and Hour Compliance, NJ Department of Labor
2) Division of Revenue Certification, NJ Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services
These forms are available on the "one-stop shop" on our website. See the Contractor prequalification page

Please Note: The SDA requires all subcontractors of any tier in the DPMC Trade Classifications listed below whose contract is in an amount which is equal to or greater than $500,000, be prequalified by SDA.
C006 - CM as Constructor
C007 - Design Build
C008 - General Contractor
C009 - GC/Alterations & Additions
C019 - Concrete/Foundation/Footings/ Masonry work
C021 - Demolition
C029 - Structural Steel
C030 - Plumbing
C039 - HVAC
C045 - Sprinkler Systems
C047 - Electrical
C066 - Roofing-Membrane EPDM
C067 - Roofing-Membrane PVC/CPE/CSPE
C068 - Roofing-Membrane Modified Bitumen
C069 - Roofing-Urethane
C070 - Roofing-Built Up
C071 - Roofing-Metal
C072 - Roofing-Tile/Slate/Shingles
C092 - Asbestos Removal/Treatment
C093 - Asbestos Removal/Mechanical
C096 - Lead Paint Abatement

How do I confirm that my firm is on SDA’s list of prequalified contractors?
The entire list of prequalified professional consultants and contractors with their addresses, contact information and authorization levels are listed on this website. The list is searchable according to company name, locality, profession, and specialty or work classification. http://njsda.gov/Business/Prequalification/Directory_search.asp

As a vendor of construction materials, do I need to be SDA prequalified?
No. A supplier of goods does not need SDA prequalification. However, if you would like to be eligible to participate in New Jersey’s Set Aside Program, and your business enterprise qualifies as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE), you should file with the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. The form may be found at this link: http://www.nj.gov/njbusiness/contracting/sbsa/index.shtml

Are there any programs available for Small, Minority and Women Owed Business Enterprises?
Yes. The SDA sponsors a Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (SMWBE) Contractor Training Program for SMWBE firms that are able to obtain SDA prequalification. The program is a one day per week program for nine weeks. Participating firms are provided with instruction on how to business with the SDA. Classes in Accounting, Business, Project Budgeting, Project Management, Project Scheduling and, Marketing are provided. More information can be found at this link: http://njsda.gov/Business/Compliance/SBE.html

Top of Page     

Procurement Process

Where do I find out about SDA school projects?
Contractors will not be notified of school construction projects. All SDA school construction projects will be advertised in the classified section of the Newark Star-Ledger and Trenton Times newspapers. All of the projects will also be advertised on the SDA website.


What are the processes and criteria for the procurement of contractors for work undertaken by SDA?
SDA-initiated school facilities projects will be publicly advertised and awards will be made based upon "price and other factors." "Other factors" include an evaluation by SDA of the contractor's:
(1) Professional references
(2) Safety record
(3) Prevailing wage record
(4) SDA performance evaluations

As an SDA prime contractor, where can I identify small, women and minority owned businesses and subcontractors?
You can identify small, women and minority owned businesses from various NJ State department databases. However, SBE firms must be registered as such by the New Jersey Department of Treasury. The New Jersey Department of Treasury has made available its New Jersey Selective Assistance Vendor Information (NJSAVI) database. This database comprises a statewide listing of firms certified as a small, woman and minority owned business enterprises. Visit this link http://www.nj.gov/njbusiness/contracting/ for NJSAVI information.

How can a subcontractor or a material supplier avail themselves of the economic opportunities presented by this landmark school construction program?
SDA posts the names and contact information of the prime contracting firms attending SDA mandatory pre-bid construction meetings. This attendee list is available on our website on the Construction Project Advertisements Page after the pre-bid construction meeting has taken place. These listings can serve as a marketing and networking resource to the subcontracting community who are seeking to provide materials and services for the school construction program.

Top of Page     

Equitable Employment and Business Opportunities

How will the SDA address set-asides under the school construction program?
The SDA oversees and implements an effective and pro-active Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program. SDA will abide by current State set-aside law and Executive Order 71. The law and Executive Order 71 provide for 25 percent of the total dollar of publicly advertised contracts awarded by SDA within a fiscal year to go to small business enterprises. The SDA continues to exceed the 25 percent mandate. The SBE total for 2011 was 78 percent.

How will the 25 percent SBE goal be met?
The 25 percent goal of the SDA SBE program can be met in two ways:
1) The SDA may designate certain contracts as set-aside contracts open to bid by SBE registered consultants or SBE registered prime contractors only. These contracts will be clearly identified in all contract advertisements as SBE set-aside contracts
2) For all contracts (including set-aside contracts), consultants and prime contractors are required to award contracts to SBE subconsultants and SBE subcontractors.

Top of Page     

 
   
a   a