Impact of Qualifications-Based Selection of Engineering Services on Project Outcomes

NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant: 2019-2021


Project Deliverables:

Project Dividends


Research Summary:

As outsourcing of services by governmental organizations expands, procurement of professional Architectural and Engineering (A/E) services is increasing across Canada. In an effort to maintain fairness and transparency, public organizations often use a price-based procurement process when awarding bids for A/E services. Performance of A/E consultants, however, has been shown to influence the quality and cost of built facilities. Although the performance of A/E services can impact project delivery, the types of qualifications that affect project outcomes, as well as the magnitude by which they affect performance, remains a relatively unexplored aspect of construction engineering and management literature. Encapsulating such knowledge into an implementable decision-support system would allow procurers to select the optimum service providers for their particular project, ensuring that facilities built in Canada are more efficient, creative, user-friendly, sustainable, and safe. Reductions in construction costs expected to arise from adopting a qualifications-based selection approach would allow government agencies to fund additional projects, further enhancing the services provided to the public while increasing the public's confidence that taxpayer funds are being allocated to A/E firms that are providing Canadians with the best value for their money.

The goal of the proposed research is to define, assess, and predict the impact of A/E qualifications on project outcomes in Canada and to encapsulate this knowledge as a decision-support tool for industry. Qualifications impacting A/E performance will be identified, the impact of these factors on historical project outcomes will be quantified, and a simulation model capable of predicting the impact of various A/E qualifications on future project outcomes will be developed. Altogether, the proposed research aims to develop a qualification-based selection procedure, in the form of a decision-support tool, which can be used by various organizations to fairly and transparently consider the quality of A/E services along with bid price during procurement decisions.


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Consulting Engineers of Alberta