AWWA Policy: Qualifications-Based Selection of Professional Services
September 10, 2018

The following revised AWWA Policy Statement on Qualifications-Based Selection of Professional Services has been approved by the Technical and Educational Council for member comment. 

Comments on the policy statement will be reviewed by AWWA staff and forwarded to the Executive Committee if the comments are minor or referred back to the originating body if the comments are substantive. The Executive Committee will review forwarded statements for approval and final action. 

Qualifications-Based Selection of Professional Services

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) encourages water utilities to procure professional engineering, architectural and other consultant services based on qualifications of the firm, also known as "qualifications-based selection," rather than price, regardless of project size and scope. 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 resumes, experience and expertise of the personnel proposed for the project, and the proposed project approach are evaluated and ranked, and the best-qualified firm is 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-ranked 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 through 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 and in some cases requiring qualifications-based selection procedures. The professional organizations include, but are not limited to: 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. 

Practices specified in this policy statement are consistent with all other pertinent AWWA policy statements. 

Adopted by the Board of Directors on January 16, 2016. 

Submit comments by October 10, 2018