Keeping Balance In Perspective

The California Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) recently joined together to bestow a Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) Award of Merit for 2009 on Ventura County, Calif. The award is meant to recognize the County’s dedication to the QBS process and represents a very high degree of achievement in the pursuit of Qualifications-Based Selection for design professional services.

QBS is a procurement process used by government agencies to aid selection of architectural and engineering services for public construction projects. The QBS Awards program is a joint initiative of ACEC and NSPE which recognizes public and private entities that effectively use and promote QBS methods to procure professional services of consulting engineers at the state and local levels.

The QBS procedure has been required by law in all federal projects since passage of the Brooks Act in 1972. Chapter 10 of the California Government Code, Sections 4526-4529 also mandates that local agencies in the state select applicable professional consultant services on the basis of demonstrated competence and professional qualifications through a QBS process.

In our opinion, the significance of Ventura County’s decision to use the QBS process to insure that their service needs are provided by both public and private entities went beyond just following the letter of the law. These local administrators have eschewed the admittedly easier rubber stamp approach in favor of going the extra mile for their taxpayers, by enhancing the spirit of competition required to deliver services on time and on budget. In these times of bureaucracy building, any effort made to recognize the expertise and employ private firms deserves recognition.

Tom Blackburn
ACEC California President

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