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Message from Beth -- October 19, 2018

ACEC Ohio creates Qualifications Based Selection Task Force

Over the past few years, ACEC Ohio has noticed an erosion in the use of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) among various public entities across the State of Ohio, we are also aware that other states have been facing attacks on their QBS laws. To make sure ACEC Ohio is in a proactive position on this issue, the Board created a QBS Task Force, co-chaired by Rich Iafelice and C.K. Satyapriya.

The Task Force met in October and discussed education and outreach ideas which included:

  • Educate ACEC Ohio member companies on QBS
  • Work with peer trade associations such as AIA, OCA, AGC
  • Work with the State Board of Registration for Engineers and Surveyors
  • Present QBS information at key conferences such as OFCC, OTEC, CEAO
  • Create an easy to read brochure for use in education/ outreach efforts and sending to newly elected state and local officials
  • Tie QBS into ethics training

Why is QBS important to our industry?

QBS is the process that helps select the highest qualified engineer or architect for a public project.  In 1987, QBS was codified in the Ohio Revised Code (153.65-.73) and requires all public authorities to use the QBS process (home rule cities are exempt). In addition, Congress adopted the Brooks Act (P.L. 92-582) in 1972 to ensure federal agencies use QBS in the procurement of architect and engineering services. 

The use of QBS ensures that public agencies receive highly technical architect and engineering services from the most experienced and most qualified firms at a fair and reasonable cost. QBS is used by all federal agencies, 46 state governments, and many localities throughout the country. It works because:

  1. QBS protects the public welfare.Most individuals would not select medical or legal services based solely on cost — these highly skilled services are too important to leave to the lowest bid. Likewise, engineering is a highly skilled service that should not be selected on basis of the firm offering the cheapest price. Engineers design the highways and bridges we drive on, our water treatment systems, and all other infrastructure and systems upon which we rely. The design services provided by engineering firms directly affect the health, safety and welfare of the public, and it is important that only the most qualified and experienced firms be tasked with this critical function.
  2. QBS protects the taxpayer.Over the life of a project, engineering services account for less than one-half of one percent of total project costs. Yet these services play a profound role in determining overall project costs. A well-designed project by a highly qualified firm will stay on time and on budget, solve construction and operational challenges, experience fewer change orders during construction, enhance performance of the completed project, and reduce long-term maintenance and repair costs.
  3. QBS benefits small firms.QBS helps small firms compete by providing a forum to demonstrate their unique capabilities that often include a greater degree of niche market expertise, knowledge of local regulations and business practices, and greater involvement of senior level management in the execution of a project.
  4. QBS promotes technical innovation.Using QBS, owners have the opportunity to fully define the project scope during the selection process. This process fosters innovative, cost-saving and timesaving approaches to problems, ensuring that the final project meets or exceeds the functional and performance goals set by the owner.

We will continue to keep you up to date on the QBS Task Force, if you have additional ideas on how to promote and protect QBS please contact me, Rich or C.K.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me.


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