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How the Federal Government Selects A/E Firms

QBS Issue Brief

The AIA is a strong supporter of the Brooks Act and qualifications-based selection of A/E firms.

Read the AIA’s QBS Issue Brief.

The Brooks Act (Public Law 92-582), enacted on October 18, 1972, establishes the procurement process by which architects and engineers (A/Es) are selected for design contracts with federal design and construction agencies. The Brooks Act establishes a qualifications-based selection process, known as “QBS,” in which contracts for A/Es are negotiated on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification for the type of professional services required at a fair and reasonable price. Under Brooks Act procurement procedures, price quotations are not a consideration in the selection process.

This QBS process, as instituted by the Brooks Act, has long been enthusiastically supported by every professional A/E society. There are seven basic steps involved in pursuing federal design work under the Brooks Act:

    1. Public solicitation for architectural and engineering services;

    2. Submission of an annual statement of qualifications and supplemental statements of ability to design specific projects for which public announcements were made;

    3. Evaluation of both the annual and project-specific statements;

    4. Development of a shortlist of at least three submitting firms in order to conduct interviews with them;

    5. Interviews with the firms;

    6. Ranking of at least three of the most qualified firms'

    7. Negotiation with the top ranked firm

A brief explanation of each of these steps, along with a description of what is involved in each, follows. The user must be reminded that while the Brooks Act procurement is mandated by law, agencies may modify the procedures slightly, within the confines of the act and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

Next: The QBS Process


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