FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the DBE Certification Process?
How can I verify if a business is a certified DBE?
What are the benefits of being a certified DBE?
Do I have to be pre-qualified to be DBE certified?
What is the Unified Certification Program (UCP)?
How can I get more information about the UCP DBE Program?
How do I apply for Interstate Certification?

 


What is the DBE Certification Process?
There are six steps to obtaining DBE Certification:

  1. Application is received.
  2. Application is checked for completeness. If incomplete, the applicant is sent a letter requesting missing information.
  3. Once the application is complete an on-site review is scheduled and conducted at the applicant's office. During the on-site review, interviews are conducted with the owners of the firm.
  4. All materials submitted by the applicant and the on-site report are reviewed by the DBE Certification Consultant, who determines if the applicant meets the eligibility standards.
  5. The DBE Certification Analyst reviews the application and makes a recommendation on the firm's eligibility for certification in the DBE program. The DBE Certification Analyst also reviews the work classification(s) requested and make a recommendation regarding the adequacy of the applicant's resources to perform in these work areas.
  6. If the application is approved, the applicant is notified, in writing, of the certification approval. The certification approval letter indicates approval of the firm as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) to perform work of specific types. The firm must annually submit an affidavit, personal net worth statement and tax documentation to the FDOT Equal Opportunity Office by the certification anniversary date to remain an active DBE.

If an application is denied, the Department issues a denial letter listing the reasons for the intended denial and provides information related to the appeal process.

If an application is withdrawn, the applicant is notified, in writing, of the missing documentation and has up to one year to provide the requested information necessary to complete the application. If the applicant fails to provide the missing information within one year, the file is then administratively closed.


How can I verify if a business is a certified DBE?
The Department maintains a DBE Directory identifying all firms eligible to participate as DBEs. The DBE Directory lists the firm's name, address, telephone number, and the type of work the firm has been certified to perform as a DBE. The Florida DBE UCP Directory is available to the public electronically, on the internet. The DBE UCP Directory is updated as additions/changes are made. The address for the DBE Directory ishttps://fdotxwp02.dot.state.fl.us/EqualOpportunityOfficeBusinessDirectory/.


What are the benefits of being a certified DBE?
Some advantages to becoming a DBE certified business include:

  1. DBEs may be utilized to satisfy a DBE goal on any project with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (i.e. airports, transit agencies).
  2. DBEs receive statewide exposure for contracting opportunities through the DBE Directory, which provides one list of all DBE firms certified in the State of Florida. Prime contractors and consultants are strongly encouraged to use the DBE Directory to identify subcontractors/sub-consultants for their projects.
  3. DBEs may participate in a variety of supportive services such as training and technical assistance if they are construction and consulting firms involved in a road, highway or bridge construction or maintenance related business. Many of these services are at no cost or reduced cost to certified DBEs.

Do I have to be pre-qualified to be DBE certified?
No, a firm is not required to be pre-qualified to become DBE certified. 
Contractors must be pre-qualified with the Department in order to bid for the performance of road, bridge, or public transportation construction contracts greater than $250,000.00. Pre-qualification is accomplished by using an application process. The Contractor Pre-qualification process results in the issuance of a Certificate of Qualification for each successful applicant which lists the approved work classes and the Maximum Capacity Rating in dollars. Visit the FDOT Contracts Administration website to learn more https://www3.dot.state.fl.us/ContractorPreQualification/
Consultants are pre-qualified in two levels:

  1. Unlimited - This level of qualification allows consultants to compete for any projects for which they are technically qualified with the Department. Continued qualification at this level requires annual submittal of a qualification form along with proof of insurance and an overhead audit prepared by an independent CPA.
  2. Minor Projects Only - This level of qualification allows consultants to compete for minor projects with fees estimated at or below $250,000. Contract advertisements identify whether a contract is a minor project or a major project. Continued qualification at the minor project level requires annual submittal of a qualification form along with proof of insurance. A self-certified overhead report and statement describing the firm's accounting system is recommended, but not required.

What is the Unified Certification Program (UCP)?
The UCP provides "one-stop shopping" where disadvantaged businesses that meet the DBE certification requirements and become certified are eligible to be used to meet the DBE goal requirements on any project with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The UCP eliminates the need for multiple DBE certifications with recipients of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

In Florida, DBE UCP Certifying Members shall make certification decisions on behalf of all recipients in the state, with respect to participation in the U.S. Department of Transportation DBE Program.

  1. The UCP shall provide "one-stop shopping" to applicants for certification, such that an applicant is required to apply only once for a DBE certification and all recipients in the state will honor that certification.
  2. All obligations of recipients with respect to certification and nondiscrimination must be carried out by UCPs, and recipients may use only UCPs that comply with the certification and nondiscrimination requirements of 49 CFR Part 26.
  3. A UCP is not required to process an application for certification from a firm having its principal place of business outside the state of Florida if the firm is not certified by the UCP in their "home state", where it maintains its principal place of business.
  4. A UCP DBE Directory containing all firms certified by the Florida DBE UCP Program is available to the public electronically, on the internet. The DBE Directory is updated as additions/changes are made. The web address for the DBE Directory ishttps://fdotxwp02.dot.state.fl.us/EqualOpportunityOfficeBusinessDirectory/

How can I get more information about the UCP DBE Program?
To obtain additional information on the Florida UCP DBE Program, contact Arthur Wright at 850-414-4749 or Victoria Smith at 850-414-4746.


How do I apply for Interstate Certification? 
If you are an existing DBE firm, the following documentation must be provided

1. A complete copy of the application form, all supporting documents, and any other information you have submitted to your home state or any other state related to your firm's certification. This includes affidavits of no change and any notices of changes that you have submitted, as well as any correspondences concerning your application or status as a DBE firm. 

2. Any notices or correspondence from states other than your home state relating to your status as an applicant or certified DBE in those states, including facts and all documentation concerning if your firm was denied certification or decertified. 

3. If you have filed a certification appeal with DOT, you must provide your letter of appeal and DOTs response. 

4.You must submit the Interstate Application Affidavit sworn to by the firm's owners before a person who is authorized by State law to administer oaths executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.

The processing time is approximately 60 days from the date the completed application and support documentation is provided.

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