The line between an acquisition of supplies and services and an acquisition of construction is drawn by the Procurement Code's definitions of each.
The term "construction," as used in the procurement process, generally means the process of building, altering, repairing, remodeling, improving, or demolishing a public structure, public building, or other public improvements to real property. It does not include the routine operation, routine repair, or routine maintenance of an existing facility.
The term "supplies," as used in the procurement process, generally means any personal property, equipment, materials, printing, and insurance.
The term "services," as used in the procurement process, generally means the furnishing of labor, time, or effort by a contractor not required to deliver a specific end product, including consultant services other than construction related professional design services.
To illustrate the differences, consider the following examples.
The acquisition and installation of a large, replacement cooling tower is a procurement for supplies and services, and an acquisition to repair the roof an existing building is a procurement for supplies and services.
In contrast, an acquisition to replace the roof system of an existing building with a different roof system is an acquisition of construction, and an acquisition to build a new brick wall around a court yard is an acquisition of construction.
Do not let any related laws confuse the issue; the line between a procurement of supplies and services and a procurement of construction is not dictated either by building codes or licensing laws (e.g., South Carolina Contractor's Licensing Act). Stated differently, construction as well as supply and services procurements can be subject to the licensing laws and building codes, or not.
Determines which office you will work with.
Procurements for construction are processed at the agency level, not by the State Engineer's Office, even if the procurement is above the agency's certification. In contrast, procurements for supplies and services are processed by the State Procurement Office, unless the procurement is within the agency's certification.
Accordingly, businesses providing construction related services will interact primarily with an agency's facilities staff during the procurement process. Businesses providing other supplies or services will interact primarily with the State Procurement Office staff, if the procurement is above an agency's certification.
Determines how you will interact.
Procurements for construction are processed manually. Solicitations (e.g., invitations for bids or requests for proposals) and the related documents (e.g., plans and specifications) are often available only from the agency or their designated A/E firm in hard copy format. In keeping with this approach, bids or proposals are often accepted only in hard copy.
In contrast, solicitations for supplies and services (other than those valued below $2,500) are usually processed electronically. Likewise, bids or proposals are usually received electronically. For procurements processed by colleges and universities, solicitations may be issued and offers received by means of the institution's dedicated e-procurement system – if one exists. For procurements processed by the State Procurement Office or any other agency, the solicitations will be issued and offers received by means of the State's centralized e-procurement system, SCEIS. Moreover, in order to either receive electronic notice of solicitations or submit an offer, your business will have to register with SCEIS, a requirement that does not apply to construction
Helps you market.
Knowing – in advance – that you are interested in one or both, can help you target the relevant state staff. In addition, it helps you decide whether or not you will need to register and familiarize yourself with SCEIS.
Once a solicitation is issued, the distinction shouldn't matter to your business. The procurement office involved – through its solicitation – will have already decided whether it is construction or supplies and services.