Key to Successful Building Projects

Kimberly High School, Kimberly, Wisconsin. Architect: Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc.

Kimberly High School, Kimberly, Wisconsin. Architect: Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc.

Selecting your architect is a critical first step to a successful school building project. For over 30 years, AIA Wisconsin – the state society of the American Institute of Architects – has been assisting school boards and other public owners establish a qualifications-based selection (QBS) process to find the most qualified architect for their building project.

The selection of your architect influences the success of every element of your project – from programming, design, community support, site selection, cost estimating, bidding documents and construction administration to overall performance, efficient operation and future maintenance costs. QBS is a time-tested objective and fair process that gets your building project off to the best start possible.

The QBS Wisconsin program is provided as a public service by AIA Wisconsin and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Wisconsin. It includes a step-by-step guide for implementing a structured QBS process for selecting architects and engineers as well as access to a facilitator for support at no cost.

The QBS process involves three basic steps:

  • Planning – describing project needs and goals, appointing a selection committee, establishing the schedule and selection criteria, compiling a list of firms and distributing the request for statements of qualifications.
  • Selection – evaluating the qualifications statements, establishing a shortlist of the most qualified firms, interviewing and ranking firms based on established criteria and informing the firms of the selection results.
  • Negotiation – discussing with the highest ranked firm the details of project approach, schedule and resources and reaching a formal agreement on the scope of professional services, responsibilities, compensation and other terms.

QBS is an effective and competitive process focused on finding the firm with the right combination of experience and technical expertise to address the specific demands of your project. Research has documented that QBS results in improved communication, better defined project scope, tighter schedule and budget, fewer changes, greater innovation, lower lifecycle costs and higher value.

QBS is required for the selection of architects and engineers for federal projects as well as for state and UW System buildings. It is endorsed and promoted by the American Public Works Association and recommended by the American Bar Association in its model procurement codes.

For a step-by-step guide and other resources on selecting an architect or engineer for you next building project, please visit Demystifying Architect Selection: QBS.

Originally published in  in June 2018 issue of "Taking Care of Business," a publication by Wisconsin Association of School Board Officials (WASBO)

Image credits

Kimberly High School, Kimberly, Wisconsin. Architect: Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc.

Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction

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