Post-SOQ Submission through Contract Execution

This tab discusses some of the steps and processes between the submission of an SOQ and the execution of a contract.

Consultant Selection Process

After the submission deadline, all SOQs are evaluated and scored independently by the selection panel, who then meet together to make the final selection. Scoring criteria varies by project and is listed in the RFQ package. Occasionally top-ranked consultants may be asked to participate in an oral interview. Scores are then discussed among panel members, firms are ranked based on scores and the findings are presented to ECS manager for approval based on the panels’ recommendations.

All proposers will be notified of the selected firm.  Negotiations will then commence with the selected firms.

Posting of Award Decision

If the panel’s recommendation is approved by the ECS Manager, the decision will be posted within five days. Negotiations will then begin with the company selected.  All proposers will be notified of the selected firm. Consultant selections are also posted on the Engineering Consultants section of the ADOT website.

Award Protest and Dispute Resolution

Any consultant who submitted an SOQ in response to a specific solicitation may protest the selection of the consultant. The protest shall be filed in writing with the ECS Manager within five business days from the date that ECS made the written notification of the selection. Requests for extensions will not be considered. The ECS Manager shall issue a written decision within fifteen business days after the protest has been filed. The decision of the ECS Manager is administratively final. 

The protester should review all of the relevant details regarding the protest process before submission as described within the complete Consultant Contract Manual which can be found on the ECS Policies, Procedures and Links page.

Consultant Debriefing

Once a decision has been reached, all proposers will be notified of the decision. Proposers may then request their scores and selection panel member comments on their proposal and can schedule an appointment with ECS to review the winning proposal. Obtaining this feedback can be an excellent way to improve the competitiveness of future proposals.


In preparation for negotiating the contract, you must complete and submit a AASHTO Internal Control Questionnaire (ICQ) which is available on the Audit and Analysis Forms and Publications page. Failing to do so in a timely manner may result in ECS awarding the contract to the next highest ranked firm instead.

If your firm is able to meet the DBE goal on a project, you must also complete and submit the necessary DBE Intended Participation Affidavits for each DBE firm that will be used to meet the DBE goal on a project along with the DBE Intended Participation Affidavits Summary Form with the Cost Proposal.  If your firm is unable able to meet the DBE goal on a project, you must complete the Good Faith Efforts form and submit documented evidence of good faith efforts. If the contract is project specific, you must submit these with your cost proposal. If the project is under an On-Call contract, these documents must be submitted with the Cost Proposal for each task assignment. There is a comprehensive list of the DBE Pre-Negotiation Forms listed on the DBE Contract Compliance page.

Depending on the complexity of the project, there may also be a pre-negotiation meeting to clarify contract requirements, identify and resolve potential problems, and define the issues to be negotiated.

Within 21 calendar days of the pre-negotiation meeting, you are required to submit a detailed cost proposal for the work to be performed. The cost proposal must be submitted using either eCMS or another format specified by ECS.

Sample cost proposal forms can be found in the Engineering Consultants Section of the ADOT website. 

Online Cost Proposal Preparation Guidelines can be found on the Consultant Resources page. A basic checklist of cost proposal submittal requirements can be found in Appendix A of these guidelines.

Additional guidelines for cost allowability can be found in the Audit and Analysis section of the ADOT website.

For more information on which costs are allowable and which are not, see the ADOT cost allowability guidelines on the Audit and Analysis Forms and Publications page.

Further discussion of allowable overhead costs can be found in this document about the basic characteristics of compliant overhead submittal.

Contract Compensation Type

There are a number of compensation methods for engineering consultant contracts. The contract compensation method is determined by ADOT in advance of the solicitation of the contract
and shall be documented as part of the contract solicitation documents. The contract compensation method is based on the size and complexity of the project. The most common types are

  • Lump Sum (LS) — A negotiated payment method used when the Scope of Work is well-defined and the total engineering effort (extent, scope, complexity, character, and duration of the work) required to complete the work can be estimated accurately. Using this method, the Consultant undertakes to perform the services stated in the contract for an agreed amount as full compensation. The Consultant is obligated to perform work for the agreed upon price regardless of the duration or the actual cost to the Consultant. This method of payment is used when ADOT has determined the extent, scope, complexity, character, and contract duration to such a degree that just compensation can be determined, evaluated, negotiated and agreed to by all parties. The final Lump Sum contract amount is based on known rates and hours submitted by the Consultant and negotiated and accepted by ADOT.
  • Lump Sum by Task Order (LSTO) — A cost reimbursement payment method utilized for On-Call type contracts for which the extent, scope, complexity, character, and duration of services for a given task order can be defined, and ADOT determines, in writing, after negotiation, the lump sum amount for each task order. Individual task order amounts cannot exceed $500,000 for State and for Federal-Aid Highway Program funded contracts and the total contract amount cannot exceed $2,000,000 per contract per year (calculated from NTP anniversary date). Exceptions to these amounts will require a signed/approved waiver from the ECS Manager and FHWA prior to proceeding with negotiations and work. The Consultant is paid the agreed negotiated lump sum price regardless of the actual costs or duration to perform the work. The final Lump Sum contract amount is based on known rates and hours submitted by the Consultant and negotiated and accepted by ADOT.
  • Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) — A cost reimbursement payment method used when the Scope of Work is fairly well-defined but the total engineering effort required to complete the work cannot be estimated precisely. Although the extent, scope, complexity, character or contract duration may be adjustable, the Department determines, in writing, after negotiation, the billable limitations for each cost category or cost subcategory. The compensation/payment method is based on actual costs plus a fixed fee (profit). ADOT and the Consultant agree on an estimated cost for the Scope of Work. The Consultant’s estimated rate and the Consultant’s overhead rate are used to determine the estimated cost. This amount shall not be exceeded unless adjusted through a contract modification.

    Under this method of compensation, the Consultant bills only the actual costs. Consultant contract  Annually, Consultants, and their subconsultants, shall identify and reconcile their actual indirect costs

  • Cost Plus Fixed Fee by Task Order (CPFF by TO) — A cost reimbursement payment method utilized for On-Call type contracts for which the extent, scope, complexity, character and duration of services for a given task-order can be defined, and ADOT determines, in writing, after negotiation, the billable limitations for each cost category or cost subcategory by task order. Individual task order amounts cannot exceed $500,000 for State and for Federal-Aid Highway Program funded contracts and the total contract amount cannot exceed $2,000,000 per contract per year (calculated from NTP anniversary date). Exceptions to these amounts will require a signed/approved waiver from the ECS Manager and FHWA prior to proceeding with negotiations and work. Construction Administration task orders can only be assigned for construction projects with a programmed construction value of $10 million or less and cannot exceed $2,000,000 in total contract value per year.

    Under this method of compensation, the Consultant bills only the actual costs. Consultant contract amounts are established by negotiating the estimated cost for the scope of work, utilizing the Consultant’s estimated hourly rates and the Consultant’s negotiated overhead rates. Consultant employee costs are billed at their actual hourly rates, not at the estimated rates that were used to develop the cost estimate. The Consultant must stay within budget. Additional funds may be added to contracts through a contract modification if there is a change in scope or when project goes into the construction phase and Post-Design Services (PDS) are needed. Annually, Consultants shall identify and reconcile their actual indirect costs (overhead) with billed overhead rates within six (6) months after Consultant’s fiscal year end. Any variances found as a result of this “truing up” of costs must be repaid to the Department by Consultant or reimbursed to the Consultant by the Department. These contracts are typically project-specific and limited to the advertised project limits. They are subject to Incurred Cost Audits (ICAs) and Consultants or the State are responsible for reimbursement of any variances identified as a result of the ICA.

  • Cost per Unit of Work (CPUW) — A cost reimbursement payment method used when the effort per unit of work is well-defined but the number of units is uncertain. Where the specific cost per unit (e.g., cost per test or per hour) is negotiated and can be determined in advance with reasonable accuracy, but the duration and extent of the work may be adjusted or is indefinite. A unit of work may be defined as a measurement of work, such as linear feet of borings, number of right-of-way plans or plots, tons of structural steel, or pounds of reinforcing steel.
  • Specific Rates (SR) — A cost reimbursement payment method used when the Scope of Work, duration, and the extent of the required work effort cannot be determined at the time the Consultant contract is signed/executed (i.e., it is difficult to estimate the extent or duration of the work or to anticipate costs with any reasonable degree of accuracy at the time of contracting). Using this method, the Consultant is paid at an agreed specific fixed hourly or daily rate for actual hours engaged in the work. Direct non-salary costs may be either set forth as an element of the specific rate or may be included in the contract as independent cost items. Specific rates are based on direct labor hours at specified fixed hourly rates. Materials will be paid at cost.

Prime consultants and subconsultants that are interested in or have been awarded a contract with CPFF or LS compensation must have an accounting system that conforms to the requirements of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31, applicable Cost Accounting Standards(CAS), and ADOT Cost Allowability Guidelines.

Cost Proposal and Negotiation

Selected firms will enter into negotiation with ADOT and your cost proposal will be reviewed by ADOT. The goal of this negotiation will be to negotiate a cost for the project that is fair and reasonable to both parties, and that conforms to the various financial regulations and requirements ADOT is bound to abide by.

If an agreement cannot be reached within 90 days of submitting your cost proposal, ECS may present you with a written “Best and Final” offer. For more information please refer to the ECS Consultant Contract Manual, Section III.

Contract Execution and Notice to Proceed

Once cost negotiations have concluded, several documents must be submitted prior to contract execution.

If you or any subconsultants whose contracts exceed $100,000 have engaged in any lobbying activities, you or your subconsultants must submit an anti-lobbying/disclosure form, which can be found on the Forms and Templates page.  Also, you are required to sign a statement certifying that, to the best of your knowledge, you have never and will never use Federal-Aid Highway Program funds for the purpose of lobbying.

You must also submit certificates of insurance to certify that

  • a person or company (Consultant) has the specific type of insurance needed to protect both itself and the State of Arizona against loss resulting from the particular work or service being performed.
  • the policy limits meet the limits of liability required in the contract.
  • the policy is currently in effect and has not expired.
  • the insurance company is a recognized and approved insurer according to AM Best.
  • any special conditions required by the contract are specifically endorsed onto the policy.

Critically, your insurance policy must name the State of Arizona and ADOT as additional insureds as outlined in the RFQ package. Guidelines for the types and amounts of insurance generally required, as well as instructions on how to submit evidence that you are insured, can be found on the ECS Insurance requirements page.

You and your subconsultants are also required to certify your compliance with all federal, state and local immigration laws. A sample immigration certification statement can be found on the Forms and Templates page. 

Once these documents have been submitted, an ECS Contract Specialist will assemble the final contract, it will be reviewed by the ECS Contract Manager, and then both you and ADOT must sign it. Once that’s done, the contact will be considered fully executed.

After a contract is executed, you must wait for a written Notice to Proceed (NTP) from ADOT before beginning the project. ADOT is not responsible for any costs you incur on a contract before receiving an NTP.


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