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ACEC California QBS Champion Award Program


ACEC California seeks to recognize public agencies that make exemplary use of the Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) process at the state and local levels.  QBS Award winners recognize the importance of selecting the most qualified design professionals. They serve as examples of how well the QBS process works, and they help ACEC California to promote the practice of QBS in jurisdictions that do not use, or underutilize, QBS to procure engineering or land surveying services.


Click here to nominate a QBS Champion


Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation criteria for the QBS Champion Award may include the following elements, depending on their relevance to the agency’s program and process:

  • Public Notice, including the use of pre-solicitation notices, allowing a reasonable number of firms to submit qualifications, and sufficient public notice to allow for research and teaming actions.
  • Business Practice, including requirement that proposals not include information that may be used to extrapolate the price of services, boilerplate contract language that prohibits consultant negotiation, and requirement of consultant to assume responsibility for damages unrelated to professional services.
  • Request for Qualifications or Request for Proposal (RFQ or RFP), including the level of detail in the RFQ describing the professional services requested, clarity in the scoring criteria used in evaluating responses, the response requirements (appropriate submittal length, past performance and reference information requirements), and the duration provided to prepare responses to the RFQ.
  • Evaluation Methodology, including the implementation of standardized scoring correlated to the requirements stated in the RFQ, timeliness of the selection and notification of both selected and non-selected proposers, and use of references in the evaluation.
    • Interview (if applicable), including an appropriate number of firms shortlisted for interviews, suitability of the interview content and structure for the project, standardization of interview format and questions, providing reasonable notice of the interview schedule, and prompt notification of results.
  • Professionalism, including reviewing the submittals according to the schedule asserted in the RFQ, notifying selected and unselected firms of the shortlist and award in a timely manner, and providing useful, adequate, and prompt debriefings with all submitters.
  • Negotiations, including whether negotiations began with the most qualified firm, and were performed in timely manner and in good faith.
  • History, including consistency of application, past use, and promotion of QBS.



Note About Cost Submittals:  An agency that uses cost as an evaluation factor when hiring professional services is not eligible for this recognition. Agencies that utilize a two-envelope system are not disqualified from being awarded a QBS recognition, however, the two-envelope system must be properly administered in a way that makes clear that costs are not considered. This includes requiring cost and fee proposal information in a separate, sealed envelope and returning unopened envelopes to unselected proposers.



Nomination and Selection Process

Any state or local agency in the State of California may be nominated by any ACEC California member.  Before submitting the nomination of a local agency for the QBS Award, the ACEC California member should notify the agency head and ensure that the agency is interested in being publicly recognized. In order to nominate an agency, the ACEC California member or chapter must complete the nomination form. Completed forms and supporting documents should be mailed or e-mailed to Jennifer Horne, Policy Outreach Coordinator for ACEC California.  After receiving the documents, Mrs. Horne will coordinate with the local chapter’s QBS Liaison to obtain the endorsement of the local Chapter President.


The QBS & LAC Committee will complete assessment of nominees for the QBS Champion Award, according to the above evaluation criteria, utilizing a standard rubric to assess the agencies. The committee will then recommend award winners to the Executive Committee. Upon approval by the Executive Committee, the proposed award winners must be approved by the Board of Directors at the October quarterly meeting preceding the Engineering Excellence Awards banquet.


ACEC California may choose to recognize any nominee that is deemed to be a practitioner of QBS with a “QBS Honor Award,” however, the highest ranked agency will be the recipient of the “QBS Champion Award.”



QBS Award winners will be notified no later than one month before the Engineering Excellence Awards banquet and will be invited to receive awards and recognition at that event.


Click here to nominate a QBS Champion


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