Michigan Bill Emphasizes Qualifications When Procuring Design Services

March/April 2016

PE Report
Michigan Bill Emphasizes Qualifications When Procuring Design Services

A bill introduced in the Michigan legislature seeks to implement procedures for local agencies to procure professional design services using a qualifications-based selection process. The Michigan Society of Professional Engineers and the state chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies support the measure.

If enacted, the bill (H.B. 5238) will require local government agencies and entities to secure architecture, engineering, and land surveying services for a proposed project by evaluating and choosing a firm based on the following factors: qualifications of the firm; ability of the professional personnel of the firm; past record and experience of the firm; and any other qualifications-based factors that the agency determines relevant to the project. The agency will select the top qualified firm and enter into negotiations about contract terms and compensation for services. Agencies can only waive the qualifications-based selection requirement if there is an emergency situation or the cost of the professional design services doesn’t exceed $20,000.

On February 1, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, called on Michigan lawmakers to support the bill, also known as the Local Government Professional Services Selection Act. NSPE believes qualified professional engineers should be selected to perform all engineering services on the basis of design ability, experience, integrity, and other professional factors—rather than price.

NSPE has long supported the procurement of design professional services on the basis of qualifications and was instrumental in the enactment of the federal Brooks Architect-Engineer (A/E) Act (PL 92-582). The act requires federal agencies to use qualifications-based selection procedures when obtaining design professional services. The Society also strongly supports the adoption of “mini-Brooks” laws at the state and local levels. Forty-seven states have implemented some form of QBS law, and numerous localities have also adopted laws modeled after the federal statute.