Birmingham Construction Industry Authority
The Birmingham Construction Industry Authority (BCIA) is an organization created in 1990 as part of the adoption of the "Birmingham Plan", a court-approved means of insuring the participation of historically-disadvantaged minorities in Birmingham's economic growth. The BCIA, which is funded by the city, fulfills the role of the "Construction Industry Program" in the Birmingham Plan.
The Birmingham City Council passed ordinances in 1977 and 1989 attempting to mandate a 10% benchmark for "minority participation" in city construction contracts. The Alabama Associated General Contractors filed successful lawsuits both times and instead suggested a voluntary program to promote participation by minority contractors. The BCIA was the result of discussions between the city and that group.
The primary role of the BCIA is to provide model specifications and to certify contractors and service providers as meeting the United States Commerce Department's requirements of a "Minority Business Enterprise" (MBE) or "Disadvantaged Business Enterprise" (DBE). Such certification, for which the BCIA charges an annual fee, is needed to comply with the bid requirements for all contracts for construction solicited by the city of Birmingham. Private users of construction services are likewise encouraged to support the goals of the Birmingham Plan by adopting the same requirements in their bid solicitations.
In addition to those roles, the BCIA promotes minority participation by offering professional and technical training to qualified businesses, funding scholarships to colleges and trade schools, and to educate the public about its goals and achievements. The BCIA maintains an in-house plan room with current information about projects out for bid and provides technical and support services to qualified contractors to assist in bidding, project management, and human resources.
The executive director of the BCIA since October 1997 is Michael Bell. The associate director is David Merrida, and Christopher Swain is president of the group's board of directors. Its offices are located at 3600 4th Avenue South.
- Archibald, John (December 9, 2016) "Contractor describes corruption, threats at city of Birmingham." The Birmingham News
- Edgemon, Erin (December 9, 2016) "What is the Birmingham agency at the center of corruption allegations?." The Birmingham News