Once the project has been defined, establish an impartial selection committee. The committee should be no more than seven members nor fewer than three. A five- to seven-member committee is ideal. Some cities use the entire city council (if no more than seven members). Other cities involve citizens.
Before doing anything else, the committee should brainstorm, then answer questions under Step 1. Scope the project in writing with as much detail as possible. It is very important, however, not to form absolutes at this point. The project likely will be redefined many times before it is completed.
- Owner’s name
- A brief history of the owner, organization, and project description. The history should include the goals or events that precipitated the project.
- Project contact person, including address, telephone, e-mail address and fax numbers
- Project location
- Project specifications, including intended size, function, capacity and other anticipated general requirements (i.e., renovation, additions, new construction, demolition, land use, and site selection considerations)
- Descriptions of completed studies, surveys, and preliminary feasibility work relevant to the project and available to the firms that will be short-listed and interviewed
- Requirements for further feasibility planning prior to design and construction
- Anticipated project target dates, including completion of design work, beginning of construction and planned project completion date
- Description of the selection process and identification of selection committee
- Additional or unique requirements or considerations (i.e., referenda, anticipated funding delays and budgeting)
Besides refining the project scope, the jobs of the selection committee will be to (1) write the request for qualifications (RFQ), (2) review responses, (3) decide which firms to interview, (4) conduct the interviews, and (5) rank and recommend the most qualified firm. A few members of the selection committee may work with the city’s administrative staff to negotiate a contract with the selected firm.
If possible, the committee should be composed of individuals with expertise in management, finance, technical aspects of projects and operations. Independent experts (such as hired consultants or technical assistance providers) may serve as ex officio members to provide technical advice to the selection committee.