Now that I am a consultant, I am learning more about the details of the Federal consultant selection process.
Disclaimer: I am not the subject matter expert! Scott Wolf of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (202-366-1332 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or your States FHWA contact is that person!
Ok, now that I have my disclaimer out there, here are a couple of things that I have learned in the past week.
- If you have a community that you are working with that may have several projects coming up around the same time, and they would like to hire one firm to handle all of them, they have a couple of choices.
-They can advertise and select for each individual project as they come up. This is the more costly and time consuming option.
-Or they can instead put out an on call Request for Qualifications (RFQ) advertisement listing all of the potential projects and activities they might need. This way they would only have to do the Federal Consultant selection process once, and have several potential projects covered.
- The longest amount of time that the FHWA is comfortable having one of these on call contracts be in place is 5 years. After that they can then do another on call, or go project by project. Keep in mind that if a project comes up later on that does not fall under the scope of work covered by the on call RFQ, then the local government would have to do another Federal Consultant selection process for that activity.
- The on call contract can only last 5 years. This means that during that time the local government can put the consultant they selected under this contract to work on projects covered under that scope of work without going through the selection process (they will need to negotiate a contract for this new work with the consultant though).
- If the project for which the consultant was hired through the on call lasts more than the on call contract itself that is fine. The consultant can stay on that project for as long as the project lasts without needing to go through a second selection process.
- One last thing I learned. You CANNOT have an In-State or local preference as part of the selection criteria. You can use availability of staff, and ability for the consultant to have on site inspectors as criteria. The law wants there to be as large a pool of consultants available to select as possible.
All out there on the FHWA website if you dig around long enough. This may be old news for many of you out there, but it is something that is new to me.