Qualifications-based selection of professional A/E services

Symeon Christodoulou, F. H. Griffis, Lisa Barrett, Max Okungbowa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recognizing the need for improvements in the way professional architectural and design services are procured, the U.S. Congress in 1972 established as federal law the requirement that architects and engineers be selected on the basis of their professional qualifications, subject to negotiation of a fair and reasonable compensation for such services. The law (commonly referred to as the Brooks Act) was adopted by many states (a total of 41 as of the end of 2001) and local jurisdictions. One of the states that adopted qualifications-based selection (QBS) of architectural/engineering (A/E) services is New York state. The New York state law, however, does not cover local jurisdictions, and New York City continues to use competitive pricing as its primary method of selecting A/E consultants. This report outlines the findings of a recent study performed on QBS in an attempt to evaluate some of the claims put forward by proponents and opponents of QBS. The study was based on past literature as well as recently procured projects in New York City and relevant project data from these projects. The study is based primarily on information provided by the New York City mayor's Office of Contracts during a public hearing on QBS (December 1999) and additional information on A/E firms from a representative data sample from the original data. Among the findings of the study was that presumed cost savings in design services for existing price-dominant practices were actually insignificant and most definitely offset by escalating costs in the construction phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Architectural engineering
  • Bids
  • Contracts
  • Engineering services
  • Federal laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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