By Steve Rizer
Does the federal government need to clarify -- or possibly even change -- its policy for securing the services of architects and engineers?
In comments submitted earlier this month to the White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services (COFPAES) President John Palatiello stated the following: “We wish to make certain the record is clear about the statutory requirements of the Brooks Architect-Engineer Act in 40 USC [United States Code] 1101 et. seq., implemented in FAR [Federal Acquisition Regulation] Part 36.6.”
Palatiello further commented that when White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76 was revised in 2003, “recognition of the Brooks Act was included. While [the circular] calls for competition and comparisons based on cost, the Brooks Act requires qualifications-based selection. [We urge] the continuing of this distinction, and the statutory requirement, in any OFPP policy on public-private comparisons and competitions for A-E services.”
Palatiello, who submitted his comments for a March 5 OFPP Public Meeting on Cost Comparisons in Federal Procurement, told the office that this issue is of “paramount importance” to the COFPAES coalition, whose member organizations include the American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, National Society of Professional Surveyors, and the Management Association of Private Photogrammetric Surveyors.
In response to ConstructionPro Week’s questions about COFPAES’ comments and White House policy on procurement of architectural and engineering services, an OMB spokesperson said that his office is still in the process of gathering public feedback on this issue and that it appreciates the feedback it has been receiving.