By John Boling
When the California Department of Justice asked for comments on a proposal to craft its own version of qualifications-based selection (QBS) for the procurement of architectural and engineering services, IIBEC jumped into action, contacting state-based allies who said they were planning on submitting comments that largely supported the regulations as written. IIBEC realized the best course of action would be to work through our coalition, the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural & Engineering Services (COFPAES), to support the regulatory effort. COFPAES did submit comments outlining the history of QBS and why the procurement process serves the interest of taxpayers. IIBEC will continue to follow this regulatory effort and will take action if necessary.
The regulatory comments submitted include a notable quote from Sen. Jennings Randolph about price that, nearly 50 years later, still rings true today.
Q. Why shouldn’t price be an initial factor in the evaluation and selection?
A. Former Senate Public Works Committee Chairman Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia said it best on the floor of the Senate when the Federal selection law was passed. He said: “Ask 10 firms to bid…and many agencies will take the easy way out and select the low bidder. Under such circumstances, we may end up with a technically capable architect or engineer, but one who, for lack of experience or because of a desire to stay within his bid reduces the time spent on “field surveys or in the preparation of detailed drawings, or in providing inspection services. As a result, the government may have saved itself a half of one percent on the design fee while adding 5 to 10 percent to the cost of construction, operation, or maintenance.”