Government Affairs

ACEC/MA promotes the business interests of the engineering industry to the Massachusetts State Legislature, state agencies, regional and local public authorities, members of Congress, and business organizations by seeking the passage of legislation, regulations and policies that create a favorable business climate in which the engineering industry can help Massachusetts grow and improve the quality of life for its citizens. ACEC/MA's government advocacy program is focused on four principal public policy objectives:

  • Enhanced infrastructure funding to keep pace with the Commonwealth's growth and aspirations;
  • Contracting out of engineering services by public agencies to harness private sector innovation, expertise, and cost-effectiveness;
  • Procurement reform to make sure that engineering services are procured on the basis of quality and value; and
  • Elimination of regulatory and tax barriers to the business of engineering.

ACEC/MA also provides the professional expertise of engineering firms as necessary to support the development of public policy that protects the health, welfare and safety of the Commonwealth's citizens.

Partnering with Public Agencies

Several ACEC/MA teams participate in ongoing partnering discussions with major public state agencies responsible for infrastructure facilities.  The goal of these partnering discussion is to improve project delivery and improve communication between the public agencies and the engineering and land surveying business community. Issues discussed include procurement methods, contract types and language, invoicing processes, overhead and salary rate caps, how agencies conduct overhead audits of engineering and land surveying firms, CAD standards, BIM standards and other procedures.

Over the years, these partnering discussions have indeed improved project delivery. New issues arise and these partnering efforts will continue.

ACEC/MA leaders, appointed by the ACEC/MA Client Sector Committees and Board Liaison, in consultation with the ACEC/MA Executive Committee, represent the industry in the public agency partnering meetings.  ACEC/MA Executive Director Abbie Goodman participates in many of these discussions, along with members of the various committees and the Board, and can answer specific questions regarding each agency.

To participate in public agency partnering or to lead the work as a co-chair of one of the agency committees, review the volunteer position descriptions for:

Public Agencies that have been participating in these rewarding discussions include: 

  • DCR: MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • DCAMM: MA Division of Capital Asset Maintenance and Management
  • DEP:  MA Department of Environmental Protection
  • MassDOT Highway: Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Highway Division
  • OTP: MassDOT Planning
  • MBTA: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
  • Massachusetts Port Authority
  • MWRA: Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
  • Regional Transportation Advisory Council of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (RTAC of MPO) - 1 ACEC/MA seat, 1 alternate

Political Action Committee

The National ACEC/PAC is critical for our successful government affairs advocacy program. And now, with key members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation back in leadership positions in Congress, we need to show our support-and show how the engineering community is able to step up, particularly the Massachusetts engineering community.

Please help. Login in on the ACEC/PAC site, then download the Prior Approval Form and complete, and fax/mail it back to ACEC/PAC in Washington, DC. These must be personal contributions-by personal check or credit card in order to comply with federal law. No corporate checks or credit cards are acceptable, and the contribution cannot be expensed to your company. Even a small contribution will help us meet our annual goals.

Money in state politics also plays a pivotal role in shaping public policy in individual states. To see how important your support of local PAC events is refer to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics site which tracks contributions in all 50 states and makes this data easily searchable by state, candidate/ committee, contributor and special interest groups online at  http://www.followthemoney.org/.

If you have any Questions, Contact agoodman@engineers.org

Construction Reform

ACEC/MA provided comments on the Chapter 193 Construction Reform legislation passed in July 2004. Technical edits have also been proposed by ACEC/MA, Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and other reviewers with some minor corrections having been passed. The main revisions in this law required the use of an Owners Project Manager for vertical construction projects over $2.5 Million, allows the use of design-build for public works (horizontal) construction projects over $ 10 Million and allows for Construction Manager at Risk delivery to be used for vertical construction projects.

Engineers and Land Surveyors Day

Engineers and Land Surveyors Day at the State House
was held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More information

An important part of our Advocacy efforts is Engineers and Land Surveyors Day at the State House (formerly Design Professionals Day); the one day each year when we as a profession gather in force at the State House and present our industry's viewpoints in person to our local legislators. It is a chance for each of us to meet with your State Representative or Senator to discuss issues pertinent to our industry, to you as an individual professional, and to you as a citizen.

QBS

Criteria Used to Select an Engineering or Land Surveying  Firm

The cost of design services for an average facility represents less than two percent of the total lifetime cost of construction, operation and maintenance. Investing in quality design services at the outset of the project can result in long-term savings in terms of a more efficient layout, occupant safety, durability, occupant satisfaction, ease of future expansions, and others.

The initial impulse of some owners who have a need for design and construction administration services is to request prices from several engineers or architects and to select the one that submits the lowest price or bid for the services requested. At first thought, viewing these services as a commodity rather than a professional service may seem to make sense. But a closer look into issues that impact the successful completion of a construction or renovation project reveals that an initial low bid does not necessarily result in the lowest overall cost or a better value to the building’s owner, manager or users. In fact, there may be many other reasons not to use price as the primary factor in the decision process.

Cost-effective problem solving and high quality design services can only be achieved with competence and experience in the type of project being proposed. To help owners through the process of finding a qualified professional the Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process was developed in the early 1970s for the federal government.

A seasoned facilitator, experienced in the construction industry, works with public agencies and private industry by offering guidance, forms and advice to help them through the selection process.

Following this simple method, a consultant is selected based on the firm’s qualifications for that project, creativity and past performance. Then, the scope of services is mutually developed which becomes the basis for negotiating a fair and reasonable price. This assures that the best firm to do the job is selected. Should the owner and selected firm not be able to agree on a reasonable price, the firm that scored next best is contacted for negotiations.

Qualifications-based selection is a tried and true concept, which has been required by law for all federal projects since 1972. In Massachusetts, State law requires that the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA use the QBS process. In addition, the QBS process is endorsed by the American Public Works Association and included in the American Bar Association’s Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments.

Selecting a design professional is one of the key components of a successful project. The design team’s performance can influence the entire course of the project: financial, feasibility, public response, design, functional efficiency, construction costs, and maintenance costs during the life of the project. That’s why it is essential that you get the right design professionals for this critical job. 

Following this simple method, a consultant is selected based on the firm’s qualifications for that project, creativity and past performance. Then, the scope of services is mutually developed which becomes the basis for negotiating a fair and reasonable price. This assures that the best firm to do the job is selected. Should the owner and selected firm not be able to agree on a reasonable price, the firm that scored next best is contacted for negotiations.

Qualifications-based selection is a tried and true concept, which has been required by law for all federal projects since 1972. In Connecticut, State law requires that the Department of Public Works and the Department of Transportation use the QBS process. In addition, the QBS process is endorsed by the American Public Works Association and included in the American Bar Association’s Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments.

Selecting a design professional is one of the key components of a successful project. The design team’s performance can influence the entire course of the project: financial, feasibility, public response, design, functional efficiency, construction costs, and  maintenance costs during the life of the project. That’s why it is essential that you get the right design professionals for this critical job. You need to establish an impartial, step-by-step process to select design professionals based on their qualifications related to your project.

The QBS process can be summarized in four steps:

  1. The owner announces that he or she needs professional design services for a particular project and invites interested firms to submit information about their qualifications, their experience and a brief description of the technical approach they would follow.
  2. The owner then reviews the qualifications and selects a “short list” of three to five firms.
  3. The owner interviews each firm to discuss its qualifications, experience, and approach to the project.
  4. The owner ranks the firms and invites the top firm to negotiate a formal agreement. The negotiations include discussions about the owner’s goals and concepts of the project, the firm’s approach to the project, alternatives to be considered, and the specific scope of work. After a detailed scope of services is agreed upon, the firm’s fee is negotiated. If an agreement cannot be reached, which is unusual, the owner negotiates with the next highest rated firm.

ACEC/MA Event Registration

ACEC/MA members only pay the ACEC/MA member rate for registration. Check the ACEC/MA member directory to see if your firm is an ACEC/MA member. If your firm is an ACEC/MA member, you are a member.

Important: You must use the account, including the username and password, of the individual you wish to register.

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Please note: Altering your name or contact information during registration may overwrite your record in our membership database.

If you have additional questions regarding registration, please contact us at 617/227-5551 or acecma@engineers.org.

Registration is processed through the ACEC/MA associated website, www.engineers.org. ACEC/MA is supported by the staff of The Engineering Center Education Trust.