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IIBEC Opposes Cooperative Purchasing Programs in Two States, Scores Victory in Virginia

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May 26, 2023

By John Boling

IIBEC sent two separate letters last week opposing the use of cooperative purchasing programs to sidestep qualifications-based selection (QBS) requirements. These letters reflect IIBEC’s commitment to oppose solicitations for design services that negatively affect consultants—and they are producing results.

The first letter, sent to Louisa County, Virginia, pointed out how the county had incorrectly used cooperative purchasing when procuring roof construction services earlier this year, and the letter recommended specific changes to avoid the problem in the future. IIBEC was heartened when the county responded within 24 hours of receipt of the letter, saying it would in the future use a different process for procuring needed services.

The second letter, sent to the Texas Region 4 Educational Services Committee, outlined problems with a recent Job Order Contract solicitation that closes next month. IIBEC’s letter included three recommendations:

  • Ensure contracts do not undermine state requirements for the procurement of architectural, engineering, and design services.
  • Ensure independence of the design professional by disallowing roof consultant/building enclosure consultant services to be included in a unit price procurement list.
  • Require the use of credentialed professionals on building enclosure projects.

Additionally, IIBEC alerted other related organizations that share a concern that some cooperative purchasing programs violate state QBS requirements so that they might also weigh in against the solicitation. The increasing use of cooperative purchasing programs—also referred to in Canada as group purchasing—to procure architectural, engineering, and design services is drawing increased attention due to problems inherent with the system, not to mention health and safety concerns.

For more information on this subject, please register for the upcoming RCI-IIBEC Foundation Study, “An Analysis of Unit-Price Procurement and Cooperative Purchasing,” on May 31, 2023, or visit the IIBEC website for more information posted under the “Advocacy” tab.