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Select a Consultant (ARCHIVE)

1. Prequalification

A consultant must meet KYTC’s prequalification requirements for the engineering and engineering-related services it will provide. Consultants apply for and maintain prequalification status through the Division of Professional Services (see Professional Services Guidance Manual, PS-15-03). The Division of Professional Services website maintains a current list of prequalified firms in 15 service areas (e.g., roadway design, geotechnical services).

Red Flag

A consultant must be prequalified in a given service area in order to perform work for KYTC in that area

Red Flag

Any modification to an existing service contract is limited to services for which the prequalification was sought in the original advertisement. If services were not included within the original advertisement, the Cabinet must either perform the services in-house, assign the services under a statewide contract, or readvertise for additional services. 

2. Advertise

KYTC uses consultants when the agency cannot perform work due to personnel being unavailable, time restrictions, or lack of specialized skills. After deciding to use a consultant, the first step is to advertise with a bulletin issued by the Division of Professional Services. Bulletins are typically released on the second Tuesday of each month at 9am ET. Bulletins are a monthly collection of advertisements, also known as Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Their purpose is to educate consultants about the scope, schedule, and approximate fee of the advertised project(s).  

The Cabinet uses a Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process as defined by the Brooks Act of 1972 to select the consultant best qualified to deliver the requested services. A QBS process employs evaluation criteria such as: 

  •  Relative experience of consultant personnel assigned to the project team  
  • Capacity to adhere to the project schedule 
  • Past record of performance on projects of a similar type and complexity 
  • Project approach and proposed procedures to deliver the services
  • Location of the office where the tasks are to be performed 
  • Special or unique expertise 
  • Special or unique equipment 
  • Familiarity with the project area’s geography and resources 

The Project Manager (PM), in conjunction with the division the consultant will work on behalf of (i.e., the user division), may recommend different evaluation factors and assign relative weights to these factors. If this occurs, the evaluation factors and their relative weights must appear in the advertisement.

Red Flag

A QBS process is used to select the firm best qualified to perform the work on a project based on demonstrated competence and qualification for the required type of professional services. The fee for the service is negotiated independently of the selection and should  not be a criterion for choosing the most qualified firm. 

Red Flag

The number of projects that can be advertised each month is limited. The Division of Professional Services works with the State Highway Engineer’s Office, District Project Development Branch Managers, and User Divisions to publish a biennial list of potential project advertisements which is updated regularly. These are published on the Division of Professional Services website. Districts routinely advertise for project-specific contracts which are funded by the Highway Plan, whereas Central Office Divisions typically offer statewide service contracts for specific services. PMs should contact the Division of Professional Services as soon they know consultant services are needed and work with division staff to start the process. Otherwise, a project could be delayed by the advertisement and selection process. Typically, four months elapse between advertisement and KYTC issuing the notice to proceed. 

The Division of Professional Services prepares the procurement bulletin with input from the PM and user divisions. The bulletin may contain one or more advertisements for services. The advertisement must include: 

  •  The general project scope 
  • Procedures to follow when submitting a proposal 
  • An anticipated project schedule 
  • Any requirements for DBE utilization 
  • Deadline for filing a response 
  • The evaluation factors and their relative weights selection committee members will use to evaluate responses 
  • An anticipated procurement schedule including a timetable for the selection committee’s meetings  
  • Prequalification requirements, including a list of services the consultant must be prequalified in by the response due date 
  • A list of the selection committee members 

    The PM should provide, at a minimum, the following information for the advertisement as it helps communicate the project scope: 

    •  County 
    • Route 
    • District 
    • Item number (if known) 
    • Project description 
    • Project Manager (PM) 
    • User Division(s) 
    • Approximate fee or maximum fee, if applicable 
    • Type of contract 
    • Purpose and need  
    • Scope 
    • Method of design 
    • Available KYTC studies 
    • Funding source 
    • Deliverables 
    • Special instructions 
    • Project schedule milestones 
    • Environmental information 
    • Evaluation factor recommendations (when appropriate) 

    3. Selection Process

    Once consultants submit their responses, the selection committee proceeds with the selection process. The selection committee includes five voting members: 

    • Two (2) professional engineers from the Secretary’s pool  
    • Two (2) professional engineers from the User Division  
    • One (1) member from the Governor’s pool 

    In addition, a merit employee from the Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts may serve as a non-voting member of the committee. 

    Red Flag

    Red Flag: Consultants shall have no contact with the selection committee members concerning the projects advertised once the bulletin is made public. Selection committee members sign a Certification of Confidentiality for each project to affirm they have had no contact with respondents. 

    The selection committee meets twice, at a minimum. These meetings are typically held virtually. During the first meeting, the PM presents a brief overview of project details that will help the group evaluate proposals, answers questions from committee members, and explains the requested services needed. Professional Services staff are available to answer procedural questions from the committee and to document the process. Committee members receive a link through the Consultant Portal to each consultant response as the deadline closes. Committee members receive a rating sheet with qualification factors and relative weights as well as necessary Confidentiality (TC 40-4) and Ex-Parte Disclosure (TC 40-6) forms. Prior to the second meeting, each committee member reviews the project proposals and develops a preliminary evaluation with a numerical rating for each consultant. During the second meeting, the committee discusses the responses and their evaluations in an executive session. Each member submits their top three (3) firms and any ties. For statewide contracts where the committee will select multiple firms each member submits the total number of firms to be selected plus their next two firms. After all necessary discussions and voting concludes, the committee then identifies and ranks the winning firm(s), the runner up, and the second runner up. Next, the committee chair notifies the Director of Professional Services or their designee of the selection results. The chair or their designee notifies the selected consultant(s) of their selection. The PM and Project Development Team (PDT) next begin negotiating the contract.  

    Tips for evaluating consultant responses: 

    • Each member vote is weighed equally; however, PMs are contractually bound to the consultant selected for the life of the contract. Be cognizant of past issues and/or concerns the PM had with particular consultants. 
    • Secretary’s Pool and Governor’s Pool members serve to support the User Division and ensure the PM is satisfied with the selected consultant(s) although the User Division is strictly forbidden from lobbying for any firm(s). 
    • Develop specific justifications for consultant(s) endorsements to share with the committee. 
    • Be prepared to discuss potential concerns with consultants.  
    • Always be prepared to defend ratings assigned to responses. Remain open to other perspectives and give them an impartial hearing. 
    • Consider the weighted evaluation criteria when evaluating and rating firms. 
    • If selections for other projects have been made prior to the selection committee meeting, determine which firm(s) were selected, project complexity, and whether it would affect the rating about the capacity of the selected firm. 

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