By John Boling
Last weekend, IIBEC alerted consultant members in Ohio about procurement legislation that would circumvent qualification-based selection (QBS) of design services. The legislation (S. 260) was scheduled to be considered by a key Ohio Senate committee on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. IIBEC urged consultant members in Ohio to join the fight in opposition.
As a result of IIBEC members taking the initiative, a letter from IIBEC Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President Brian Pallasch, and the opposition of state groups like the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio and Associated General Contractors of Ohio, the committee chair chose not to bring S. 260 up for a vote, but to only accept additional testimony on the bill. Due to the controversy surrounding the legislation, it is unclear if the bill will see further action this session.
“I am extremely proud of our members who contacted their state senators about this bill,” stated Pallasch. “On short notice they took time out of their busy day to send messages educating senators about why this bill is wrong for Ohio. I can say that their messages of opposition helped the chair decide not to call a vote on S. 260 at this meeting.”
The legislation would allow political subdivisions to purchase construction services through cooperative purchasing programs. In practice, this would allow large national cooperative purchasing companies to combine architectural, engineering, and design services with commodity-type products to public entities in Ohio.
IIBEC has long opposed efforts to circumvent the QBS process used by all federal agencies, 46 state governments, and many localities across the United States.
As explained in the IIBEC letter sent to members of the Ohio Senate Local Government and Elections Committee, “QBS allows procurement officials to exercise greater latitude in selecting design professionals like building enclosure consultants (BEC), by recognizing both objective and subjective criteria such as innovation, unique design approaches, sustainable design, and in identifying the best match for a project’s size, scope, location, and regulatory requirements.”
Pallasch closed the letter by stating, “We urge you to support a procurement process that has served the state and its taxpayers well. The QBS process is fair, transparent, and promotes open competition by qualified companies.”
Keep watching this space for further news on S. 260 and IIBEC’s state legislative efforts.