DGS/MDOT – Understanding the New Procurement Regulations

Procurement Reform for Architects and Engineers

On April 19, 2018, the State of Maryland, Department of General Services held an open session in Crownsville to present and review the State’s A/E procurement reforms.  The well attended session gave both Architects and Engineers who have been, or are interested in, doing work with the State some insight into the policy, regulatory and procedural changes that took effect on March 27, 2018.

Lauren Buckler, PE, Assistant Secretary for Facilities Design, Construction & Energy for the Department of General Services, clearly and concisely outlined the reforms and changes.  Leaders from MDOT and Procurement were also represented at the session.  These reforms have been long coming and primarily came out of the work of the Governor’s Procurement Commission and substantive internal collaboration between DGS and MDOT whom also collaborated with AIA and ACEC over the past two years.

It is important to note that these reforms and process updates only affect DGS and MDOT and the State Units under their charge.  They do not pertain to the University Systems and MSA that are responsible for their own A/E procurement.  The following are just a few of the reforms discussed at the session:

  • DGS and MDOT have created greater parity between the procurement regulations of both departments.
  • GPSSB and TPSSB (internal DGS and MDOT selection boards respectively) have been disbanded: Enables faster processing, approval and execution of A/E contracts.
  • Letters of Interest: Will now be optional to DGS depending on project type, size and complexity; will streamline solicitation process.
  • Increase in IQC task order fee limits from $200K to $500K for Architects;
  • IQC’s will now incorporate a selection of small business firms within the overall IQC list of selected Architectural firms. Projects will rotate through regardless of a firm’s small business status.
  • Evaluation committees simplified to reduce time for RFP reviews and to provide more equity in process.
  • DGS and MDOT will engage a small group of DGS, MDOT, AIA, and ACEC representatives to develop guidelines for Consultant reviews.
  • To encourage small business procurement, more project RFP’s will be set aside for the SBR (Small Business Reserve) program. This approach was recently successful on a large state Public Safety project, but will be carefully applied based on project criteria.
  • DGS is in the process of developing a new Procurement Manual to assist A/E’s in the steps and requirements to solicit for State projects.
  • DGS and MDOT are currently working to define the term “Principal”.
  • DGS and MDOT will shortly be releasing the final draft of the new A/E contract. AIA and ACEC had an opportunity to review the previous draft and offered comment.
  • State is currently working on long needed revisions to eMM (e-Maryland Marketplace).