Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS)

QBS ManualThe most critical ingredient of any construction project is its design. The quality of design is the single most important factor in determining a project's "life-cycle cost" - the initial cost of construction, plus the ongoing costs for operation and maintenance.

Design is one of the earliest steps in the project development process, but it locks in everything that follows: the size and layout of the facility; the type of construction materials; the capacity of mechanical and electrical systems; energy efficiency; and other factors. Not even the best contractor using the finest of construction materials can overcome the failings of a poor design.

Professional design services - engineering, architecture or surveying - represent only a small percentage of the construction budget (and a far smaller percentage of life-cycle cost) so it makes sound economic sense to ensure your consulting engineer has the experience and qualifications needed to deliver a high-quality design.

Obviously, the selection of the designer for your project is one of the most important decisions you will make. But how do you go about selecting the best designer for your project?

Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is the most widely recommended process for selecting a design professional, because it enables the project owner to obtain the services of a highly qualified design professional at a fair and reasonable cost.

QBS is endorsed by organizations ranging from the American Public Works Association to the American Bar Association. Public agencies in more than 40 states, including Ohio, all Federal agencies are required to use QBS when contracting for professional design services.

To download publications about QBS, click on the links below. 

  • Ohio's Qualifications-Based Selection Law – Ohio Revised Code §153.65-.73, the statute that regulates the manner in which state and local government agencies must procure professional design services (includes amendments enacted in 2011).
  • QBS Compliance Guide – A brief publication designed to assist local government agencies in complying with Ohio's QBS law.
  • Ohio QBS Manual – A step-by-step guide to selecting a design professional, complete with rating forms and instructions.

Advancing the Business of Engineering