Architecture, engineering and even surveying are creative services – there are different ways to achieve the same result.
“The best innovations are produced by the best brains, and they are not to be bought for the lowest price.” Florida DOT Secretary, Kaye Henderson
The high cost of buying cheap
Selecting a professional service provider based on price seems like the fiscally responsible choice, doesn’t it? But using price in the selection process backfires, because low price doesn’t ensure good value.
Low bid mindset:
“Which junior people can we put on this?”
“How can we reduce the effort on this project?”
“We have to write our scope to what the client asked for, even though they’ve overlooked several important items, because we want to show the lowest cost.”
“We need to fully understand the client’s goals and expectations for this project.”
“By working together to define the scope, we can create the best result at the lowest overall project cost.”
“Let’s share innovations that can reduce construction and operations efforts.”
QBS provides a competitive environment where offerors must compete on quality, past performance, schedule, experience, etc., and not just “low bid”. Successful design pros must be good and provide a competitive price to the buyer.
“Price has no meaning except in terms of the quality of the product.”
Dr. W. Edwards Deming
Why QBS Works
Low–bid procurement may save owners a small amount on up front design costs, but it costs taxpayer money over the life of the project.
Design fees vs. Lifecycle Cost
The services provided by design firms are the single most important factor in determining a project’s overall construction and lifecycle costs. The design fees amount to approximately 1 – 2% of the total cost of the project. Yet, these services determine the other 99% of the project’s lifecycle costs, as well as the quality of the completed project.
The ability to impact life-cycle cost vs. the cost to make a change
With the budget known to team members from the beginning of the project, the team can develop a cost model prior to starting design and then design to the cost model. Transitioning the owner away from a mentality focused only on price, QBS facilitates optimal design and value within a defined budget – resulting in the owner getting “the best bang for the buck.” This “designing to budget” also allows the team to evaluate design alternatives and/or the owner’s “wish list” while keeping the budget on track.
QBS rewards teamwork, innovation, proactive problem solving and moves away from an adversarial relationship between the buyer and the consultant. Ultimately, the taxpayer is the winner.