Competitive bids not the answer on engineering

Updated 12/4/2017 1:43 PM

Imagine you wake up with severe chest pains. Obviously, you rush to a hospital concerned about the type of treatment you're facing. A physician examines you, indicating that you need surgery. Is your first reaction to seek "bids" from doctors or would you rather have one that is most qualified?

Engineers are the physicians of construction. Each day, millions of Illinoisans travel across 26,000 bridges. Engineers ensure that their daily journey is safe and uneventful.

There is a reason why QBS -- Qualification Based Selection -- is law. In 1972, the Brooks Architect-Engineering Act, which mandates QBS for all architectural and engineering services procured by the federal government, is the model for most QBS programs, protecting citizens and ensuring that taxpayers are getting the best structure and the best value.

ACEC-Illinois has advocated for QBS for all engineering projects. This method of selection best serves the public, the client and, users of the Illinois Tollway. The QBS process ensures that the most qualified firm is selected for the project.

The Illinois Tollway has a selection committee policy that follows QBS in all engineering projects. In my role as the executive director for ACEC-Illinois, I work closely with Tollway staff to ensure that QBS is followed and the process is fair and open for all qualified firms to compete.

The Tollway is proactive to address potential conflicts and has procedures to deal with such situations. The staff at the Tollway are among the most professional and principled group that I have met in my career.

The Daily Herald is a respected journalistic entity, but it would serve them better to ask questions from knowledgeable sources and seek more information and background on this topic before issuing a knee-jerk reaction that could have a devastating impact on millions of lives each and every day.

Dave Bender, Executive Director


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