LANSING — Last week, state Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) introduced legislation that would require public agencies to use a Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) process when contracting for architectural, engineering, or land surveying services. QBS is a competitive contract procurement process in which consulting firms submit qualifications to a public owner, who in turn evaluates and selects the firm that is the most qualified for the project. Kosowski is leading the nine-bill bipartisan package, which would bring Michigan in line with both federal requirements and an overwhelming majority of states.
“QBS has actually been required for all federal projects since 1972, when Congress enacted the Brooks Act,” Kosowski said. “Currently, Michigan uses QBS when dealing with any federal contracts. Forty-six other states have already implemented this legislation. It just makes sense that Michigan not lag behind any longer.”
QBS was originally developed because public owners lacked the necessary ability to contract for services where price competition made no sense. “The crux of the QBS procurement process is that price is not taken into consideration when making the initial decision of who is most qualified to complete the project,” Kosowski said. “My legislation provides entities with a fair, rational and efficient method of choosing an architect, engineer or land surveyor based on qualifications and competence as they relate to the specific contract — and not just allow a project to go to the lowest bidder.
“This bill package recognizes that design professionals, through the QBS process, play a crucial role in any public building project — and because of this, it is in the best interest of everyone, including Michigan’s taxpayers, to make certain the most qualified firms arc selected for these contracts. The QBS process ensures that projects arc designed in a manner that is safe, innovative, environmentally sound and cost-effective over the entire life of the project. This is a way to guarantee municipalities receive the highest quality service for their community projects, while safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”