What is QBS?

Qualifications–Based Selection was established by Congress in 1972 as a part of the Brooks Act (P.L. 92–582), developed as a process for federal agencies to use for the selection of architectural and engineering services for public projects. It is a competitive contract procurement process whereby consulting firms submit qualifications to a procuring entity (Owner) who evaluates and selects the most qualified firm, and then negotiates the project scope of work, schedule, budget, and consultant fee.

The Federal Agencies using QBS have been so successful that the QBS process has been adopted by 44 states, and thousands of state, county, and municipal government agencies. The QBS process is also endorsed by the American Bar Association, the American Public Works Association, the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Institute of Architects, and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

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 and updated in 2007 specifies that state agencies and political subdivisions 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.

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