Hearing on A/E Procurement Law Improvements

Yesterday the Senate Government Operations & Elections Committee looked at many bills introduced in the aftermath of a critical audit of the Port of Seattle. The audit found many procurement problems.

Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island) introduced SB 6235 to broaden the application of state procurement laws to all port activities. The AIA/WA was opposed the bill as it was introduced. The original version added architectural and engineering services to the definition of “public work.” This change would create a conflict between the states construction bidding law and the qualifications-based selection (QBS) process used for professional services.

But, at the hearing Senator Haugen made it clear she understood the AIA/WA’s concerns. She offered a substitute version that took out all of the offending provisions and made several steps to improve the state’s A/E procurement law.

First, it retains a provision providing for fines and penalties if public agencies fail to follow state law on architecture and engineering services procurement.

Second, it expands the QBS law to include other services traditionally offered by architecture and engineering firms such as: project management, construction supervision, construction management, environmental services, technical testing and inspection services.

There are still some technical and terminology changes that need to be made to the bill. But, it is now a bill that the AIA/WA can enthusiastically support.

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