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Team for an RFQ - Equipo para un RFQ

How to Build a Winning Team for Your RFQ

An RFQ, or Request for Qualifications, is a procurement process used by cities, government entities, and other public institutions to solicit bids from professional service providers, such as structural engineering firms, architectural firms, construction companies, among other industries. RFQs are typically utilized for projects that require a high degree of technical expertise and experience, such as infrastructure development, public works, and urban planning. By issuing RFQs, cities, and government entities can assess the qualifications of prospective contractors — including their technical expertise, project experience, and financial stability — to determine the most qualified teams for specific projects.

While what we’ve just read provides a basic understanding of what RFQs entail, our aim in this article is to go further. We intend to offer a detailed insight into everything you need to know on how to build a winning team for an RFQ. Whether you’re experienced or new to the process, we invite you to continue reading as we uncover the essential strategies and considerations for building a team in this procurement process.

Finding Bid Opportunities

An essential aspect of creating a successful team for an RFQ is identifying suitable bid opportunities. These opportunities can often be found on the official website of the respective city or government entity. However, specific software services are available to streamline the process of sifting through potential opportunities that align with a company’s expertise. An excellent starting point for this endeavor is DemandStar, a platform that provides suppliers with access to a myriad of government contracts and procurement opportunities. DemandStar’s comprehensive database allows businesses to explore and pursue thousands of solicitations, making it a valuable resource for companies seeking to enter the public procurement landscape. 

But you may wonder, are there other software solutions available for simplifying the search for bid opportunities? The answer is yes, there are indeed several options. Alongside DemandStar, another widely recognized platform in the realm of government procurement is Bidsync. Much like DemandStar, Bidsync offers vendors access to abundant government contracts and solicitations. These two platforms stand out as the most prominent and trusted solutions in the field, providing businesses with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of public procurement with confidence.

Crafting Your RFQ Team

The first step in creating a team for an RFQ is to find suitable solicitations, as mentioned previously. For example, at Eastern Engineering Group, our specialty lies in structural engineering, therefore our focus might be on identifying requests related to structural engineering designs, structural repairs and rehabilitations, inspections, and building recertification services.  

Upon identifying a suitable RFQ, the next step is to carefully evaluate the scope of work outlined in the solicitation. This section typically provides an overview of the required tasks. Additionally, the solicitation will specify the disciplines needed to apply. This includes outlining the expertise and services required to successfully execute the project. Upon reviewing the required disciplines, companies must assess their own capacity to meet these demands. If it becomes apparent that the project needs expertise beyond what the company can provide independently,  forming a collaborative team becomes imperative.

Prime Consultants and Subconsultants

In most cases, architects are designated as the prime consultants and are responsible for bringing together the necessary subconsultants to form the team. However, the RFQ will always specify whether the architect must be the prime consultant or if this role can be held by an engineer or another professional. It is common for the architect to assume the role of prime consultant, but in certain projects where architectural services are not required, the structural engineer may take the lead. In such cases, the architectural drawings have typically been completed, and the RFQ is focused on finding the additional services needed to complete the design.

A team for a RFQ - Un equipo para su RFQ

Navigating RFQs: Eastern Engineering Group’s Expertise and Certifications

As an established structural engineering firm, Eastern Engineering Group has amassed a wealth of experience in navigating the complexities of RFQ processes. When serving as a subconsultant, our approach entails reaching out to architects with whom we have established collaborative relationships. We provide them with our Qualification Statements to ascertain our compatibility and gauge their interest in engaging us as a subconsultant. Conversely, when entrusted with the role of prime consultant, we meticulously assess the project’s requirements to identify the services we can provide. Furthermore, we determine the additional disciplines that must be subcontracted, such as geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, landscape design, and MEP engineering, among other disciplines that are required depending on each project.  

In some cases, RFQs require that members of the team, whether as the prime consultant or sub-consultants, possess specific certifications such as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) or Small Business Enterprise (SBE), among others. The prime consultant must discern if there are any goals mandated by the RFQ that need to be met. These goals could include directives such as allocating a certain percentage of the project budget to the company that holds some of these certifications.

It’s important to note that obtaining these certifications isn’t automatic upon business inception; rather, it requires an application process. Once certified, businesses are listed in county databases, facilitating visibility to those seeking certified partners. At Eastern Engineering Group, we understand the significance of these certifications and the opportunities they provide for collaboration. 

Below, we present a breakdown of the certifications held by Eastern Engineering Group:

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE):

DBE certification is intended to promote the participation of businesses owned and controlled by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. These individuals may include women, minorities, veterans, or individuals with disabilities. DBE certification provides opportunities for these businesses to compete for federally funded contracts.

Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE):

WBE certification is granted to businesses that are majority-owned and controlled by women. This certification aims to promote gender diversity and equality in contracting opportunities, providing women-owned businesses with access to government contracts and procurement opportunities.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE):

MBE certification is awarded to businesses that are owned, operated, and controlled by individuals from minority groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. This certification aims to promote economic opportunities and provide a level playing field for minority-owned businesses in government contracting.

Small Business Enterprise – Architectural & Engineering (SBE-A&E):

SBE-A&E certification is specifically tailored for small businesses operating in the fields of architecture and engineering. This certification recognizes the contributions of small firms in providing professional services in these sectors and aims to ensure their inclusion in government contracts and projects.

Small Business Enterprise – Goods & Services (SBE-G&S):

This certification is designed for small businesses that provide goods and services rather than professional or technical services. It enables small businesses to compete for government contracts in various industries, including manufacturing, retail, and service sectors.

Minority/Women Business Enterprise (MWBE):

MWBE certification is granted to businesses owned and controlled by both minority and women entrepreneurs. This certification combines the criteria for MBE and WBE certifications, aiming to promote diversity and inclusion in government contracting by supporting businesses owned by both minorities and women.

Small Business Enterprise (SBE):

SBE certification is awarded to businesses that meet specific criteria for being small in size, typically based on factors such as annual revenue, number of employees, or net worth.

Small/Minority/Women Business Enterprise (S/M/WBE):

S/M/WBE certification encompasses businesses owned by individuals who are small in size, as well as those owned by minorities or women. This certification acknowledges the intersectionality of these identities and aims to promote opportunities for small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses in government contracting.

Exclusive Opportunity: Miami-Dade’s Technical Certifications

In Miami Dade County, there is a unique requirement known as MDC Technical Certifications.  These certifications are tailored to the specific services that a business offers, and obtaining them is essential for companies seeking to participate in Miami Dade County RFQs. By acquiring a Technical Certification, businesses can demonstrate their expertise and qualifications in a particular service area, thereby enhancing their competitiveness and increasing their chances of being selected for RFQs.The application process entails submitting a comprehensive request for Technical Certification (TC) within the desired category of service provision, such as architecture, engineering, landscaping, or surveying and mapping, to Miami-Dade County.  Upon completion, the committee thoroughly evaluates the firm’s qualifications to ensure compliance with certification standards and requirements.

The list of potential technical certifications is very extensive, and one firm may be able to apply to several of these. The more technical certifications you obtain, the more MDC contracts you can apply for!

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Fostering Growth: RFQs’ Transformative Impact on Small Businesses

In essence, RFQ initiatives serve as more than just a means for allocating government funds; they’re a catalyst for grassroots economic empowerment. By opening doors for Small Businesses, governments ignite the flames of local innovation and prosperity, fostering a dynamic ecosystem where diversity thrives and entrepreneurship flourishes. Through RFQs, Small Businesses become the backbone of resilient communities, driving job creation, economic growth, and social inclusion. It’s not merely about financial gains but about investing in a future where opportunities are abundant, barriers are shattered, and every voice has a chance to be heard. 

©️ 2024 Eastern Engineering Group wrote and published this article. All rights reserved.

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