RFPs, RFQs & Selection

Now that you know all the characters, the next step is to find some that you like.  

This process ordinarily begins with issuing an RFP or a Request for Proposals either publicly or to a list of firms selected by project leadership.  Usually you will issue a separate RFP and selection process for each member of the design team with whom you will be contracted directly.  For example, you would issue an RFP for a project manager or an architect, but not for a structural or mechanical engineer – those specialists will be on the architect’s team.

The RFP should clearly describe:

  • the project concept
  • the scope of the work you wish the respondent to undertake
  • the selection criteria you plan to use
  • a timeline for the selection and interview process

Respondents to the RFP will submit their qualifications, often (in the case of architectural teams) listing sub-consultants with special expertise or qualifications as well.  They will describe other similar projects they’ve completed, and list clients they’ve worked with.  They’ll also propose a project scope description and fee for their work. You will then select a short list of firms – usually 3 or so – from the respondents to interview, and then make a selection.

Sometimes. . .

Large projects often begin the design team selection process by issuing an RFQ, or a Request for Qualifications, in order to narrow down the pool of firms being considered before requesting a full-blown fee proposal. Sometimes, design teams are selected solely on the basis of the RFQ, and then fees are negotiated afterwards with the selected team.

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