Architectural and/or Engineering Services (A/E Services)

The term ‘architect’ and its variations shall have the meaning as defined by RCW Chapter 18.08; the term ‘engineer’ and its variations, as well as, ‘survey’ and its variations, shall have the meanings as defined by RCW Chapter 18.43; the term ‘landscape architect’ and its variations shall have the meaning as defined in RCW Chapter 18.96; and, collectively, these terms (‘architect’; ‘engineer’; ‘survey’; and ‘landscape architect’) shall be referred to together or separately as ‘architectural and/or engineering services’ (or as ‘A/E Services’).

The authority of Spokane County to purchase A/E Services is found in Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 36.32.235(1) and RCW Chapter 39.80, as well as, in County Code Chapter 1.04. These laws authorize two approaches to procuring A/E Services which may be broadly identified as: 

  1. A ‘formal’ RFQ process as set forth in RCW Chapter 39.80 on a project-specific basis (“Project RFQ”); or by field of focus or specialization such as structural, geotechnical, mechanical, electrical, etc. (“Eligibility List RFQ”). The formal RFQ process is a ‘formal, advertised, sealed competitive Request For Qualifications (“RFQ”) process with responses that may (or may not) be opened at a public bid opening or a public meeting’) and which results in a firm designated by the County as most highly qualified (“MHQ”) for the project; or results in ‘eligibility list(s)’ [or a ‘on-call roster(s)’] that may be used on an informal basis; and
  2. An ‘informal’ process is the use of a A/E Services ‘eligibility list(s)’ [or a ‘on-call roster(s)’] after such list(s) or roster(s) have been established through a formal process. While Spokane County establishes ‘eligibility list(s)’ [or a ‘on-call roster(s)’] by particular field of focus or specialization of A/E firms ranked in order of MHQ based on the generalized scope of the RFQ, the County reserves the right to select and contract with either #1 ranked MHQ firm; or else may review the statements of  qualifications on file together with those applications that may be submitted by other firms regarding the proposed project, and the County may elect to interview firms, to then informally designate a firm as MHQ for the A/E Services. This informal process in contracting for A/E Services may be referred to as the ‘on-call roster(s)’, or ‘eligibility list(s)’ process. A firm may at any time submit an application requesting to be appended to an eligibility list or on-call roster without a re-ranking of the list(s)/roster(s) and in so submitting an application must comply with all provisions of the original Eligibility List RFQ.

The U.S. marketplace offers hundreds of thousands of varieties of products and services. At the highest level, state law breaks down this vast array of products and services into four broad classifications as: (a) Materials Supplies and Equipment (‘Goods’); (b) Public Works; (c) A/E Services; and (d) Services (i.e., all services other than A/E Services). U.S. industry and commerce uses various code systems to further subdivide these four broad classifications into distinct product and services classifications or categories. As an example only, two code systems generally accepted and used in industry and commerce are the Standard Industrial Classification (or SIC) and the North American Industry Classification System (or NAICS).

The code system adapted and used by the Spokane County Purchasing Department is called the NIGP Code, which is also commonly used by many state and local governments in the U.S. The Spokane County Purchasing Department uses its adapted version of the NIGP Code to: (i) offer subscription services at the category level via this website to alert interested parties (subject to restrictions and limitations) whenever competitive solicitations are posted or changed; and (ii) classify at the item level its competitive solicitations.

The word ‘formal’ as used here refers to a competitive solicitation process on the basis of most highly qualified for A/E Services that meets and involves the criteria of the contemplated A/E Services and set forth for competitive solicitations in RCW 36.32.235(1) and RCW Chapter 39.80, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following: 

  1. Without regard to the anticipated total dollar value of the contemplated design project (RCW Chapter 39.80 specifies no dollar value threshold whatsoever); and
  2. Is advertisement for at least 13 days prior to the competitive solicitation due date (or RFQ Opening); and
  3. Requires that all responses/submittals are sealed and properly identified and addressed in an opaque package or envelope; and
  4. The competitive solicitation submittals may be subject to being publicly opened and read aloud on the appointed day and time (RFQ Opening); and
  5. The competitive RFQ solicitation is subject to the provisions, terms, and conditions, contained or referenced in the particular competitive solicitation RFQ document for the contemplated design project or intended eligibility list(s) / on-call roster(s).

The criteria listed here is subject to change in the event that the Washington State Legislature amends RCW 36.32.235, RCW Chapter 39.80 or any other relevant and pertinent laws.