Step 4. Provide Public Notice of the RFR
Municipalities should provide public notice of an RFR in the Commonwealth's Comm-PASS system for a minimum of two weeks prior to the date when response submittals are due. However, additional response time and a pre-response meeting to clarify submission requirements, scope of work elements and other expectations typically lead to a greater number of higher quality submissions. The public notice must contain the following:
- Description of the project and type of services required
- Notice that the municipality may reject any or all responses
- Identification of any board, committee, or other body which must approve the contract
- Date and time responses are due
- Any information required by local regulations
Any addenda should be issued via e-mail or other means that can distribute the materials quickly and confirm that they have been received by the responders.
- Local Advertising Regulations - Municipalities must follow any local procurement thresholds on advertising requirements. Advertisements in a local paper and posting at a public place are commonly required by local jurisdictions depending on contract value.
- Direct Notification - Direct notification of firms already prequalified by MassDOT is appropriate and encouraged to solicit interest in the RFR. Information regarding prequalified firms is available on the MassDOT website at: Prequalification of A&E Firms.
Step 5. Receive and Evaluate Response Submissions
The selection committee must evaluate each response based on the evaluation criteria and weighting included in the RFR. The municipality may reject submissions that do not meet basic requirements or that do not fully comply with the RFR instructions. After the RFR submission deadline, the municipality should make public a list of all RFRs received.
Step 6. Rank and Short-List Firms
After the selection committee evaluates and ranks the proposals, the top ranked firms (ideally no more than three) may be invited for an interview with the selection committee. The interview notification should include:
- Schedule of interview
- Members of the Selection Committee
- Time allotted for interview
- Number and names of firms to be interviewed
- Availability of screen, audio-visual equipment, etc.
- Any additional evaluation criteria (not specified in the RFR)
Step 7. Conduct Interviews (Optional)
Oral interviews with the top ranked firms should be used as an opportunity to enhance the information contained in the RFR submissions. Interviews also allow the selection committee to meet project team members face-to-face and to ask specific questions that help to clarify each firm’s qualifications, understanding of the work, and ability to successfully complete the project. The selection committee should incorporate the interview results into the evaluation criteria prior to determining the final ranking of firms. It is also strongly recommended that the selection committee contact references and other communities that have used particular design consultants on similar projects to help assess the qualifications of each firm.
Step 8. Consultant Notification
Upon determination of the highest ranked firm and receipt of appropriate municipal approvals to proceed, the municipality should issue a written notice of selection to the highest ranked firm.