One of the APDC’s founding purposes is to advocate for the procurement of professional design services in accordance with Federal Law (Public Law 92-582, Section 902) and Alaska State Statutes (AS 36.30.770), commonly known as the Brooks Act and the Mini-Brooks Act, respectively. These laws require any Federal or State Agency soliciting professional design services to not consider cost but rather use Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) criteria.
QBS is the standard by which all Architecture, Engineering, and Land Surveying services are selected for project work. Unfortunately, QBS criteria is often supplemented with a lowest-cost scoring criteria or replaced entirely with cost-based selection.
APDC’s standard approach to combat QBS violation includes writing letters requesting the selection agency revise their process to exclude costs. In most cases, our letters are ignored or we are told that the offending agency is precluded from the law. Our legislators are sympathetic to our cause and support the QBS process, but they are often too busy with other issues to assist.
I would like to suggest a different approach. I challenge all firms that typically respond to these RFPs to take a stand for the professions of Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying by not responding to RFPs that include cost as evaluation criterion. One of the paramount attributes of the design professional is ethical integrity. The law clearly states that QBS is the standard by which professional design services are to be selected, and thus responding to RFPs that include cost could be viewed as an ethical violation. If we as an industry all choose integrity and to not to respond to cost-based solicitations, procurement standards will be forced to change.
I encourage you to consider this active support of QBS and welcome your unique perspectives and feedback as professionals.