Preparing to Team Up with Prime Consultant

This tab discusses some of the steps you are likely to encounter and requirements you may need to satisfy while seeking work as a subconsultant on ADOT projects.

Brooks Act Qualifications Based Selection

Consistent with federal law known as the Brooks Act, ADOT selects the most qualified architectural, design or engineering firm based on their qualifications rather than price for their services. In response to an RFQ, firms submit their qualifications for a project.   ADOT then evaluates all firm(s) qualifications and selects the most qualified firm and then enters into negotiations with them. The Brooks Act is available on the Policies, Procedures and FAQ page.

Procurement Requirements for Contract Types

There are several different types of common professional services contracts. The three most common are

  • Project Specific Contracts — these contracts focus on providing services for particular specified projects (e.g., design a bridge).
  • On-Call Contracts — these contracts designate certain firms as “on-call” and allow ADOT to assign qualifying work to them where it would be impractical, unfeasible, or otherwise undesirable to go through the entire bidding process. While having an on-call contract can be quite lucrative, there is no guarantee that any work will actually be assigned to your firm as a result of the contract.
  • Supplemental Services Contracts — these contracts allow ADOT to hire individuals or firms to provide ancillary services, either in support of a project specific contract or a general ADOT need.

There are several rules and requirements that apply only to certain contract types – for example, a supplemental services consultant may not be a party to an SOQ at the same time. For more in-depth information, read ADOT’s Engineering Consultants Consultant Contract Manual, available on the Policies, Procedures and FAQ page.

Review Engineering Consultants Consultant Contract Manual

Before submitting an SOQ, you should review ADOT’s Engineering Consultants Consultant Contract Manual, available on the Policies, Procedures and FAQ page.

Learn About Upcoming Projects

Firms solely working as subconsultants do not contract directly with ADOT and are not required to prequalify with ADOT. They can go through the same prequalification process as prime consultant, however, and are encouraged to do so. One reason is that a company might be a subconsultant on one project but a prime on another.

There are three general routes for a subconsultant to learn about upcoming ADOT opportunities. The first is to pay attention to upcoming projects and try to identify parts of those projects your firm can perform. To learn more about exploring proposal opportunities, see the page on bidding opportunities.

The second is to get to know prequalified prime consultants and ask if they might see a place for your firm in any upcoming projects. You can find a list of prequalified consultants on the ADOT website.

A third strategy is to network with other subconsultants in complementary fields. They may be able to alert you to upcoming work or recommend you to prime consultants looking for your specialty when building a team.

It is also important to make contact with ADOT Project Managers assigned to projects to get information before the project is advertised.

You can also access an Active Project List for ADOT and Local Public Agencies, including the name and contact information of the Project Manager for the project and when bids will be advertised on the Management Services section of the ADOT website. 

A set of approved construction projects to be advertised are listed on the State Five-Year Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  A copy of the STIP and its Amendments can be found at in the Transportation Programming section of the ADOT website.

It is worth noting that, during the solicitation period for a project, consultants are not permitted to communicate with any ADOT staff about the project except to submit questions in writing to the assigned ECS Contract Specialist. Instructions on submitting questions regarding the solicitation will be documented in the RFQ.

One way to get to know other consultants is attending public meetings, outreach and networking events for DBEs and small businesses sponsored by ADOT’s Business Engagement and Compliance Office. You can learn more about these programs on the DBE/Small Business Assistance page.

Connect with Prime Consultants for Potential Subconsultant Opportunities

Once you have identified particular projects you believe your firm could contribute to, reach out to likely SOQ submitters for those projects and let them know you are interested in being a member of their team. Subconsultants sometimes are able to be on more than one team, although prime consultants often prefer their subconsultants be “exclusive” on a particular SOQ submission.

Contact ECS at 602.712.7525 for information about prime consultants that have expressed interest in projects your firm wishes to do subconsulting work on. 

Download Request of Qualifications (ROQ) Package

Once you have identified upcoming projects you might be interested in pursuing, you should request information on those projects by registering your interest with ADOT. You can do that by filling out the online form on the Engineering Consultants information request page.

Information about currently advertised projects may also be available in the ECS current advertisements section of the ADOT website.

ECS may occasionally issue amendments to their original solicitation for SOQs. They will send these amendments out to any consultants on the proposal request log and will post them to the ECS website. 

Attend Pre-Submittal Meeting

ECS will sometimes, but not always, hold a pre-submittal meeting prior to the submission deadline. If there will be a pre-submittal meeting, the attendance instructions, date and time of the meeting will be documented in the RFQ package. Pre-submittal meetings happen at least seven days before the submittal deadline. All consultants are welcome to attend a pre-submittal meeting, not just those who have previously registered their interest in submitting a proposal.

Attending pre-submittal meetings will likely be beneficial because it’s a great opportunity to meet and partner with prime consultants that are pursuing the project. During a pre-submittal meeting, questions relating to the project are generally discussed and clarified, and instructions about various aspects of the submittal are generally given. This may also be a good opportunity to introduce your firm to proposers, especially if the meeting is well in advance of the submittal deadline.

Proposing to a Prime Consultant

Prime consultants have a number of different reasons for selecting firms as subconsultants. Each prime consultant may request different information from you when determining whether to include you as a subconsultant in their SOQ. Communicating clearly and responding in a timely manner to any requests is critical to showing a prime consultant that they want to work with your firm.

After Prime Consultant Accepts Your Proposal

Once the prime consultant has evaluated your qualification, they may or may not accept them and list you as a subconsultant in their SOQ.

Prime consultants do not always inform you if they choose your firm as a team member. If you don’t hear from them, you should contact them to be sure. If they decide not to include your company, you may want to ask them for a reason and for advice on how to improve your chances in the future.

If your qualifications are accepted, you will need to work closely with the prime consultant to provide the information they need for their SOQ.

Prepare and Submit Information to Prime Consultant for SOQ Submittal

Once you have identified specific projects and prime consultants interested in your qualifications, it’s time to prepare information about your firm that can go into the SOQ submission.

You will want to demonstrate that your firm is experienced, skilled and financially equipped to handle to project. Each prime consultant may request somewhat different information from you, perhaps in a format unique to their qualifications statements.

Responding to ADOT consulting opportunities can be time-consuming and costly for prime consultants. Therefore, meeting their deadlines for when they need complete materials about your firm is critical to their success and yours. You may want to consider asking prime consultants for examples of what materials they would like from you, such as descriptions of experience, references and resumes. Prime consultants may ask for the hourly rates that you would use for the project.

If you are new to this process, or if you just feel your qualifications statement could use a boost, consider seeking advice from business specialists or well-established consultants. For tools and information that may help you do this, see the DBE/Small Business Assistance page. 


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