The Brooks Act and Public Procurement: What to Know
Government agencies and authorities going out to bid for architectural and engineering (“A/E”) contracts involving federal funds are required to follow the qualifications-based selection process outlined in the Brooks Act.
The Brooks Act, passed in 1972, establishes the processes by which architects and engineers are selected for federal design and construction projects. The Act outlines a qualifications-based selection process, emphasizing competence and expertise and excluding price as an evaluation factor.
This means that A/E firms bidding on a contract must follow a two-step selection process: demonstration, then negotiation.
First, the firm must demonstrate that it is the most qualified to complete the project. Negotiations are conducted with the most qualified firm only: and if an agreement cannot be reached as to a fair and reasonable price, negotiations are terminated and the selection committee moves to the next-most-qualified candidate.
The types of services that must be procured according to the Brooks Act are defined in 49 U.S.C. Section 5325(b) as “program managemet, construction management, feasibility studies, preliminary engineering, design, architectural, engineering, surveying, mapping and related services.”