Article #278 Enforcing Transparency and Accountability in Appraising Engineering Consultants Response to RFPs on Capital Projects

One of the key requirements on capital projects that involve retaining the professional services of an engineering consultant to develop the project’s design and contract documents, is to have a formal process for appraising the response of the consultants’ who were invited to bid on the issued Request for Proposal (RFP) to determine and select the successful consultant. The RFP response evaluation should be transparent and performed by the assigned individuals who will be set accountable for the completed appraisal.

Items covered by the RFP appraisal could differ from one project owner to another. For example, the RFP appraisal form presented in this article includes three main sections. The first section is the Consultant’s general experience and record in the field covered by the terms of reference (TOR), the second section is the adequacy of the proposed approach, methodology and work plan while the third section is the experience and records of the staff members to be assigned to the work. Each section will have different items to score for which each would have a predefined weight. The appraisal will also include a section to compare the financial proposal of the consultant against the most competitive financial proposal that was submitted by another qualified consultant.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb for which the complete capital project life cycle phases’ processes will be managed, the “Consultant RFP Response Appraisal” process will be one of those processes to be managed, monitored, evaluated and reported on. PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create the appraisal form covering the three sections detailed above. Each section will have a table to capture the technical scoring for which each table will include items to be scored on a scale of 100% and for which each item has its own score weight. The sum of those items will be the total technical score value.

The “Consultant RFP Response Appraisal” form will also capture the value of the lowest offer submitted by the consulting firms and the fee for each consultant being assessed. The financial score will be automatically calculated by dividing the lowest offer received by the consultant being appraised offer. The form will also include the weight of the technical and financial scores which will enable calculating the consultant’s total weighted score automatically.

Similar to other project management processes managed in PMWeb, supportive documents can be either attached directly to the process or uploaded into PMWeb document management repository and then attached to the relevant tender process. The latter is the recommended approach. In addition, links to other PMWeb records as well as imported MS Outlook emails can be added to each process.

In addition, the “Consultant RFP Response Appraisal” form will have a workflow to formalize the taken actions on the process, a workflow will be assigned to map the submit, review, approve or reject steps. The workflow will define the duration and sequence of tasks to be performed by the different project team members as well as review actions permitted at each workflow step. The workflow could also include conditions to ensure that the approval authority levels are adhered to. In addition, the workflow could define alerts level for delayed workflow steps. PMWeb also allows assigning ad-hoc workflow to enable collaboration on a selected process but without following a predefined sequence for performing the tasks.

Since the “Consultant RFP Response Appraisal” process will be carried out by different team members with different appraisal responsibilities, the workflow steps can be aligned with the access permission rights associated with the different fields and tables of the form. PMWeb allows setting the rights for edit and view the form fields and tables for each PMWeb user as this will be required to enforce the required accountability in completing the appraisal process.

The technical and financial scoring for each consultant will become the basis for creating the Consultant RFP Appraisal Report. The report will include a table to present the technical and financial scoring details and the weighted scoring values. The report will also include visuals to show how each consultant has ranked on technical, financial and overall weighed technical and financial score. The report will include filters to select which project and which RFP the analysis has been done for.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value in excess of US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


Contact us