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QBS – Important Info

Click on the links below for important information on Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS).


SELECTION PROCESS
QBS graphic

THE BEST WAY TO ENGAGE DESIGN PROFESSIONALS
ACHIEVING QUALITY AND COST EFFECTIVENESS IN DESIGNING PROJECTS
QBS
QUALIFICATIONS BASED SELECTION OF DESIGN PROFESSIONALS*

*(REGISTERED ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS AND LAND SURVEYORS)
THE BITTERNESS OF A POORLY
DESIGNED PROJECT REMAINS LONG
AFTER THE SWEETNESS OF OBTAINING A LOW BID

WHAT IS QBS?
Qualifications-based selection (QBS) is a process for the selection of design professionals by any Owner. It is a negotiated procurement process for selection based on qualifications and competence relative to the work to be performed.

THE VALUE:

  • quality comes first, as espoused by the theory of total quality management (TQM)
  • fosters broad based competition
  • allows the design professional to understand the owner’s complete needs and objectives of the project before negotiating the design fee
  • actually saves money over bid-based methods, as proven in actual practice by owners
  • takes full advantage of creativity and expertise of the design professional


DO YOU HAVE TO USE QBS?

YES – if you are working for a federal or state agency or political subdivision of the state.

NO – if you are a private entity, you have the right to choose any selection process you wish.
For example:
SITUATION #1

  • You, the owner, have an existing relationship with a design professional.
  • Your needs are met, and the firm you are working with has the technical qualifications required for the new project.

The recommended method is for you to continue the current relationship by jointly developing the new project scope, contract form, and fee.

SITUATION #2

  • You do not have a relationship with a design professional.
  • You have a project which requires the attention of a competent technical professional.

The recommended method is for you to procure the services using the QBS method.

SITUATION #3

  • An existing relationship with a design professional may or may not exist.
  • You have to (or want to) go through a competitive selection process.

The recommended method is for you to use the QBS Method of selection.

WHAT ABOUT PRICE-BASED SELECTION?

  • produces only bare-bones design without the benefit of innovative and alternative solutions using the design professionals creativity
  • produces only bare-bones proposals which do not include everything the client wants or needs … a discovery usually made during construction and resulting in enormous costs for change orders and extras … and additional fees for the design professionals
  • sets up an adversarial relationship whereby extras and change orders could be in constant dispute – giving the design professional an unfair reputation, and the owner with a bad taste in his mouth for design professionals.
  • results in a low-bid firm which is often inexperienced, ill-equipped and/or poorly staffed. When this occurs, the client takes on unnecessary risks and end up being the loser, both financially and in the life-cycle costs.
  • Under any method (including the two-envelope system) where price and technical proposals are submitted, price always becomes the dominant factor and selection is then made on price.

WHAT PRECEDENTS EXIST FOR QBS?
1. Public Law 92-582 (Brooks Bill) passed in 1972 confirms that QBS is in the nation’s best interest in federal procurement on civilian agency projects.
2. Missouri law RSMo 8.285 – 8.291 (mini-Brooks bill) passed in 1983 specifies that state agencies and political subdivisions that don’t have a written procedure must use QBS.
3. Public Law 100-464 passed in 1988 reaffirms the Brooks Law and adds specific services covered by the law.
4. The American Bar Association’s Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments (2/1979) specifies QBS as the preferred method of procuring services from design professionals.
5. Experience. The State of Maryland adopted price-based selection in 1974 after the Agnew scandal, but abandoned it and in 1985, with overwhelming majority, replaced it with a QBS-type procurement method because of its efficiency and benefits to the state.

WHY?

Maryland’s research and experience clearly showed that meaningful price-based comparison are quite difficult to make at the time the selection is made. Price-based selection increased the design phase cost by about 94% and resulted in major construction cost in-creases. The cost increase resulted from the time and effort it took the State of Maryland to prepare a scope of work which could be used to obtain bids from design professionals.

WHY WOULD AN OWNER WANT TO USE QBS?

  • High quality consultant services are only 1-2% of the lifetime project cost yet dictate construction and lifetime maintenance costs (98%).
  • It promotes improved project quality by assuring that the client understands clearly the scope of work required.
  • It leads to realistic construction bids based on a definitive scope of work.
  • Studies have shown that use of QBS for projects is more efficient and less costly than use of a selection process that uses price as a primary criterion.
  • QBS avoids the situation where the greatest benefit of the design professional’s innovation and creativity is lost because its importance was not recognized at the fee proposal stage.


TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THE QBS PROCESS WORKS CONTACT:

ACEC Missouri
200 E. McCarty Street, Suite 201
Jefferson City, MO 65101
573-634-4080
573-634-8929 Fax