SELECTING AN ENGINEER

SELECTING AN ENGINEER

The most important element of any construction project is its design. Construction design quality is the single most important factor in determining a project’s life-cycle cost, which includes the initial cost of construction, plus the ongoing cost for operations and maintenance.

Design is the initial step in the construction process. It dictates everything that follows. The size and layout of the facility; type of construction materials; capacity of mechanical and electrical systems; energy efficiency; and other factors are all impacted by the design of a project.

Estimated by the federal government to be 1% or less of a building cost, design services represent only a small percentage of the construction budget, and a far smaller percentage of life cycle cost. It makes sound economic sense to ensure your consulting engineer has the experience and qualifications needed to deliver a high-quality design.

WHAT IS QBS

Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is a process that enables the project owner to obtain the services of a highly qualified engineering professional at a fair and reasonable cost, and investment in quality that will save money over the life of the project.

Every construction project is unique, with its own technical challenges. For any project to be successful, owners and design professionals must share the understandings of these challenges and the services needed to transform generalized concepts into reality. During the construction process, design professionals represent the owner’s interests in day-to-day dealings with contractors, suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and others providing goods
and services on the project. For this reason, owners and design professionals need to establish a professional relationship characterized by trust, respect and effective communication.

QBS develops this type of relationship by bringing the owner and design professional together as a team, enabling them to define the project in detail and agree upon the services that will be required to make the project a reality. This prevents competing design firms from fee bidding and cutting the scope of work performed just to get the job. The design team will make certain that appropriate project analysis, engineering and economic studies are made.
The project benefits from this professional service and is delivered in a functional, efficient manner, within budget and on time. No wonder, then, that QBS is the most widely endorsed method for selecting a design professional.

Contractor groups, public works officials, and the American Bar Association endorse QBS Agencies of the federal government and the state of Maryland are required by law to use this procedure in selecting design professionals.

EXPERIENCE WITH QBS

Many years of experience with projects that have resulted from QBS procedures demonstrate the following benefits:

Ensures that the most qualified design professional is retained for the project, thereby providing safeguards for competent design and minimizing construction problems and claims.

Saves owner time and money through an organized approach that gets the design professional on board early enough to improve planning, minimize total project costs, and help prevent costly mistakes.

Encourages the development of a productive team effort between the owner and the design professional, because they develop the scope of work together. This provides increased client satisfaction.

HOW DOES THE QBS PROCESS WORK?

Design is the initial step in the construction process. It dictates everything that follows. The size and layout of the facility; type of construction materials; capacity of mechanical and electrical systems; energy efficiency; and other factors are all impacted by the design of a project.

IS PRICE A FACTOR IN SELECTION?

Yes! When the full detailed scope of professional services is ready for contract, then the agency and the A/E firm can come to an agreement on final fees based on open comparison of agency and design firm estimates of services that are fair and reasonable to both.

NEED HELP?

Please visit the Maryland QBS website for more information, www.qbsmd.org

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