QBS & PTAB
Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is the preferred method for selection of professional
services. It is a negotiated, competitive
procurement process for selection based on qualifications and competence
in relation to the work to be performed. QBS is an objective, fair process/procedure designed to help an owner find
the most qualified engineer for their project. Studies have shown that use of QBS for public
projects can be more efficient and less costly than using alternative selection
processes. QBS makes the best business sense and is the law in New Mexico.
Procurement for professional services in New Mexico is guided by New Mexico
Procurement Code (Section 13-1-120). The Procurement Code authorizes agencies
to conduct multiple step procurement for Request for Proposals (RFP) based
procurements. This means that the agency can review the proposals submitted
and select finalist(s) based on qualifications.
In addition, pursuant to Chapter 81, Laws of 2006, any prospective contractor
(engineer or architect) seeking to enter into a contract with any state
agency or local public body must file a Campaign Contribution Disclosure
Form with that state agency or local public body. This form must be filed
by the prospective contractor with their response to the request for proposals.
The prospective contractor must disclose whether they, a family member, or
a representative of the prospective contractor has made a campaign contribution
to an applicable public official of the state or a local public body during
the two years prior to the date on which the contractor submits a proposal.
The QBS Process
By utilizing QBS, professional service firms are weighed first on competence,
creativity, and performance and second on negotiation of a fair and reasonable
fee. The process begins with the owner establishing evaluation criteria
and soliciting statements of qualifications from professional service firms.
The owner reviews these statements on the basis of qualifications, experience,
reputation, current workload, and any other project specific factors.
The owner then selects the three to five most qualified firms to make brief
presentations explaining their unique approach to the project. On the basis
of these presentations, the owner ranks the most qualified firms numerically
in order of preference. The owner and the top-ranked firm then negotiate
a scope of services, which specifies the full range of services the firm
will provide, the personnel it will commit to the project, and the schedule
describing when the work is to be completed.
When an agreement is reached on the scope of work, the owner and professional
proceed to negotiate a fee that is fair and reasonable to both parties.
If an agreement on compensation is reached, a contract is consummated. If
an agreement cannot be reached, negotiations with the top ranked firm are
terminated, and the owner attempts to negotiate a contract with the second
ranked firm. The process can be repeated as necessary until the contract
Benefits of Using QBS
- Saves the owner time and money through an organized approach
that gets the engineer on board early enough to improve project planning.
using their expertise and professional knowledge, the engineer is better
able serve the owner to achieve project goals and to maximize budget dollars.
- Helps engineering firms
respond better to the owner’s needs because
they know how to better prepare and plan for interviews based on
a uniform set of criteria and information shared with all firms.
- Encourages the development of a productive partnership and team effort
between the public owner and the selected engineer, thus fostering improved communication.
- Promotes improved project quality by ensuring that both the client
and engineer clearly understand the scope of work required.
History of QBS
In 1972 the U.S. Congress recognized the merits of competition based on
qualifications. Congress established Public Law 92-582 (the Brooks Act),
which declares it to be the policy of the federal government to base all
procurements for architectural and engineering services on demonstrated
competence and qualifications for the type of professional services required
at a fair and reasonable price to the government.
Currently over 46 states have adopted similar laws. In addition, the American
Bar Association has endorsed this qualification ranking/negotiation technique
in its "Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments."
In the early 1970s, the New Mexico Legislature passed the QBS law in
New Mexico. New Mexico is one of 46 states that currently has a QBS statute.
Professional Technical Advisory
The New Mexico Procurement Code (Section 13-1-117.2) states that
if a local public body does not have on staff a licensed professional,
architect, surveyor, etc., than a Professional Technical Advisor (PTA)
can be assigned
by the appropriate New Mexico professional society. The Professional Technical
Advisory Board (PTAB) was created for this reason.
PTAB is made up of professionals from:
- American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
- New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers
- American Institute of Architects (AIA), New Mexico Chapter
- New Mexico Professional Surveyors (NMPS)
- American Society of Landscape Architects
(ASLA), New Mexico Chapter
PTAB provides assistance, at no cost to local public bodies,
with QBS, Request for Proposals (RFPs), and/or related services. A PTA is
assigned to review, assist, and educate as needed. PTAs are professionals who are volunteering their time.
Their firms are excluded from proposing on the project associated with the
It is recommended that a local public body provide a minimum of four
weeks prior to advertising to allow sufficient time for the PTA assignment process to
be completed. This allows for the selection of the appropriate PTA for a specific
Manual for Qualifications-Based Selection (recently revised to include the Campaign Contribution Disclosure
Form) is available to assist communities in the selection and hiring
of design professionals in compliance with the New Mexico State Procurement
Code. It contains a complete explanation of the QBS process and guidelines
for proceeding from project inception, to concluding a contract for
Also available is a sample Request
for Proposals (click
here for the Word
Document) which can be modified by a local public
body for each project.
For PTAB assistance or for more
information, please contact (505) 888-6161 or