QBS Stands for ``Qualifications-Based Selection``

QBS is a rational procedure which facilitates the selection of professional consultant services. The selection is based on qualifications and competence in relation to the scope and needs of the particular project. QBS entails a step-by-step process that will facilitate the owner’s selection of a design professional on the the basis of qualifications and competence in relation to the scope of the project and facilitates the development of an appropriate scope of work for a particular project. This process is straightforward and easy to implement. It is objective and fair. It can be well documented, and it is open to public scrutiny.

QBS meets the public owner’s primary concerns to get the best available professional services for the taxpayers’ money, and to conduct a fair and equitable selection process. QBS evolved from the public owner’s need to be an “informed customer” and to have a logical, fair and objective means of selecting professional consulting services.

The History

In October 1972, the federal government enacted Public Law 92-582, covering the selection of architects and engineers based on qualifications. This bill has since been known as the Brooks Selection Bill, as it was introduced by U.S. Representative Jack Brooks of Texas. During years of use by the federal, most state governments, and numerous municipalities across the nation, the use of qualifications-based selection has proven itself to be more efficient and less costly when considering total or life-cycle costs than the use of a selection system using price as one of its primary criteria.

Effective January 1, 1990, Chapter 10 of the California Government Code, Sections 4526-4529, commencing with Section 4525 and known as the Mini-Brooks Act, mandated local agencies throughout the state of California to select applicable professional consultant services on the basis of demonstrated competence and professional qualifications.

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Qualifications-Based Selection - The Law:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, selection by a state or local agency head for professional services of private architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, environmental, land surveying, or construction project management firms shall be on the basis of demonstrated competence and on the professional qualifications necessary for the satisfactory performance of the services required. In order to implement this method of selection, state agency heads contracting for private architectural, landscape architectural, professional engineering, environmental, land surveying, and construction project management services shall adopt by regulation, and local agency heads contracting for private architectural, landscape architectural, professional engineering, environmental, land surveying, and construction project management services may adopt by ordinance, procedures that assure that these services are engaged on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications for the types of services to be performed and at fair and reasonable prices to the public agencies. Furthermore, these procedures shall assure maximum participation of small business firms, as defined by the Director of General Services pursuant to Section 14837.

In addition, these procedures shall specifically prohibit practices which might result in unlawful activity including, but not limited to, rebates, kickbacks, or other unlawful consideration, and shall specifically prohibit government agency employees from participating in the selection process when those employees have a relationship with a person or business entity seeking a contract under this section which would subject those employees to the prohibition of Section 87100.

Compliance with Public Contract Code Section 6106

A state agency head entering into a contract pursuant to this chapter shall, in addition to any other applicable statute or regulation, also follow Section 6106 of the Public Contract Code.

Annual Statements of qualification and performance data; announcement of projects

In the procurement of architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, environmental, land surveying, and construction project management services, the state agency head shall encourage firms engaged in the lawful practice of their profession to submit annually a statement of qualifications and performance data.

(a) When the selection is by a state agency head, statewide announcement of all projects requiring architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, environmental, land surveying, or construction project management services shall be made by the agency head through publications of the respective professional societies. The agency head, for each proposed project, shall evaluate current statements of qualifications and performance data on file with the agency, together with those that may be submitted by other firms regarding the proposed project, and shall conduct discussions with no less than three firms regarding anticipated concepts and the relative utility of alternative methods of approach for furnishing the required services and then shall select therefore, in order of preference, based upon criteria established and published by him or her, no less than three of the firms deemed to be the most highly qualified to provide the services required.

Qualifications-Based Selection

(b) When the selection is by a local agency head, the agency head may undertake the procedures described in subdivision (a). In addition, these procedures shall specifically prohibit practices which might results in unlawful activity including, but not limited to, rebates, kickbacks, or other unlawful consideration, and shall specifically prohibit government agency employees from participating in the selection process when these employees have a relationship with a person or business entity seeking a contract under this section.

(a) When the selection is by a state agency head the following procedures shall apply:

(1) The state agency head shall negotiate a contract with the best qualified firm for
architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, environmental, land surveying, and
construction project management services at compensation which the state agency head
determines is fair and reasonable to the State of California or the political subdivision
involved.

(2) Should the state agency head be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the firm considered to be the most qualified, at a price the agency head determines to be fair and reasonable to the State of California or the political subdivision involved, negotiations with that firm shall be formally terminated. The state agency head shall then undertake negotiations with the second most qualified firm. Failing accord with the second most qualified firm, the state agency head shall terminate negotiations. The state agency head shall then undertake negotiations with the third most qualified firm.

(3) Should the state agency head be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with any of the selected firms, the state agency head shall select additional firms in order of their competence and qualifications and continue negotiations in accordance with this chapter until an agreement is reached.

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