Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS)

The most critical ingredient of any construction project is its design. The quality of the design is the single most important factor in determining a project's "life-cycle cost" - the initial cost of construction, plus the ongoing costs for operation and maintenance.

Design is one of the earliest steps in the project development process, but it locks in everything that follows: the size and layout of the facility; the type of construction materials; the capacity of mechanical and electrical systems; energy efficiency; and other factors. Not even the best contractor using the finest of construction materials can overcome the failings of a poor design.

Professional design services - engineering, architecture or surveying - represent only a small percentage of the construction budget (and a far smaller percentage of life-cycle cost) so it makes sound economic sense to ensure your consulting engineer has the experience and qualifications needed to deliver a high-quality design.

Obviously, the selection of the designer for your project is one of the most important decisions you will make. But how do you go about selecting the best designer for your project?

Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is the most widely recommended process for selecting a design professional because it enables the project owner to obtain the services of a highly qualified design professional at a fair and reasonable cost.

QBS is endorsed by organizations ranging from the American Public Works Association to the American Bar Association. Public agencies in more than 40 states, including Ohio, all Federal agencies are required to use QBS when contracting for professional design services.

To download publications about QBS, click on the buttons below.

Ohio's Qualifications-Based Selection Law                                 QBS Compliance Guide                                  Ohio QBS Manual

QBS Saves Money     QBS Saves Money

Projects where QBS was used to procure engineering services experienced less cost growth (3 percent) versus the national average (6 percent).

QBS Saves Time     QBS Saves Time

QBS projects perform better in terms of project delivery time, experiencing less schedule growth versus the national average (7 percent with QBS versus 10 percent without).

simplifies     QBS Simplifies Complex Projects

Complex projects with community involvement, social components, and additional community features require design firms with broader knowledge and understanding. Less qualified and experienced firms typically have a harder time balancing these complicated social factors.

inoovative    QBS Promotes Innovation

Projects incorporating QBS have a greater likelihood of producing innovative solutions.

procurement     QBS Drives Procurement

QBS is the primary procurement tool – even for agencies that experience lean staffing and high turnover.

client satisfaction    QBS Produces Higher Client Satisfaction


89% of QBS projects are receiving “high” or “very high” satisfaction ratings from project owners.

Click on the buttons below to view QBS resources from the ACEC Ohio Research Institute.
QBS Resource Portal                                  ACEC Ohio Research Institute QBS Primer                               ACEC Ohio Research Institute QBS FAQ

Advancing the Business of Engineering