Qualifications-Based Selection of Professional Services

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) encourages water utilities to procure professional engineering, architectural and other professional consultant services based on qualifications of the firm, also known as “qualifications-based selection” or “QBS”. Qualifications include the relevant experience, capabilities, expertise and workload of the firm and the capability, availability, experience, education, and training of the firm’s personnel proposed for an assignment. Under this competitive process, the candidate firms’ qualifications and proposed approach for a project are evaluated and ranked and the firm preliminarily selected.  The cost of services is considered only in negotiations with the selected firm.  If a satisfactory price cannot be secured, then the second rank firm is considered.

Qualifications-based selection for procurement of professional services provides greater assurance that water utility interests, and hence public interests, are best served though well-planned, well-designed, cost-effective and reliable infrastructure projects.  AWWA joins many federal agencies, states and provinces, as well as other professional organizations in supporting qualifications-based selection procedures, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC); American Public Works Association (APWA); the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE); the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES); the American Institute of Architects (AIA); American Bar Association (ABA); Canadian National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure’s “Selecting a Professional Consultant”; the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada; and other North American professional organizations.

Adopted by the Board of Directors January 16, 2016.