A survey conducted recently by QBS Canada, questioned Winnipeg civic election candidates about exploring new ways of hiring architects, engineers, and construction management firms to design and build Winnipeg’s infrastructure.
Currently Winnipeg uses a hiring process that favours low-bidders over more qualified bidders and according to research from around the globe, selecting a low-bidder actually results in higher costs and lower quality.
Research funded by the American Public Works Association in partnership with the American Council of Engineering Companies indicates average low-bid construction projects go over budget by 10% but when price is not an initial selection factor, construction overages are only 3%. That means Winnipeg taxpayers could be saving tens of millions of dollars of unnecessary spending each year.
Qualifications Based Selection is growing in popularity across Canada and has been required by law in the United States federal government since 1972. As well, 47 states have QBS legislation. For over a decade the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has identified QBS as the “best practice” when hiring architects and engineers for infrastructure projects and earlier this year the Government of Canada announced it will be undertaking a QBS pilot project.
Since the city has adopted other FCM best practices, QBS Canada President Cal Harrison wonders why it hasn’t also adopted QBS. He noted that QBS is supported by most professional engineering, architecture, and construction associations around the globe.
“There is a mountain of evidence illustrating that by favouring low-bidders, it costs taxpayers more money than if they focused on selecting the most qualified firms.”
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"This should be required reading for consultants AND their clients - especially the part about RFPs." - Blair Enns, Win Without Pitching