Q. What it the purpose of the construction review?
A. The purpose of the review is to confirm the project documents are complete and suitable for bidding. The plans and specifications are checked to verify that the materials and construction are in accordance with State standards and practice. This is performed as a service to the State agency submitting the documents and to ensure that the capital bonds issued by the State to fund the project are wisely spent.
Q. What is the purpose of the contract review?
A. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the contract complies with the DE Code and the cost for services is fair and reasonable.
Q. Why can't the Architectural Accessibility Board (AAB) review be completed along with the DFM review?
A. The AAB is an independent board established by DE Code with members appointed by the Governor. DFM only provides administrative assistance to, not oversight of the Board. Also, since the Board meets on a monthly basis, in order to coordinate the DFM review with the AAB review, the review results would only be issued monthly as well.
Q. Does DFM check for Code compliance as part of their review?
A. DFM checks for compliance with the Delaware Code only. DFM does not provide building and life safety code review or enforcement. It is the responsibility of the design professional (architect and engineer) to ensure that the project plans and specifications are in accordance with local building codes. The State Fire Marshall's Office checks for compliance with the life safety and fire codes. The local building official (county or municipal) is responsible for enforcement of the building code.
Q. What is included as professional services?
A. The Delaware Code defines professional services as “services which generally require specialized education, training or knowledge and involve intellectual skills. Examples of professional services include, but are not limited to, engineering, environmental engineering, environmental monitoring, land surveying, landscape architecture, geology, architectural, archaeologists, architectural historians, historians, educational consultants, management, medical, teaching, planning, computer information management, financial, accounting, auditing, construction management and arbitration services.”
Q. Do I need any licenses to provide professional services?
A. In most cases, yes. Large public works projects (over $100K) are publicly bid and the Delaware Code states “all plans and specifications shall be prepared by registered and licensed architects and/or engineers who shall sign the plans and specifications and affix their seals thereto.” The Delaware Association of Professional Engineers is responsible for the licensing of engineers and engineering firms. The Division of Professional Regulation is responsible for licensing of most other professionals within the State.
Q. Does cost factor into the selection?
A. No, the Delaware Code states that “fee proposals shall not be solicited for use in comparison of fee negotiations.” Firms are selected based on their qualifications to meet the criteria outlined in the public notice. However, after the firms are ranked, a proposal is requested from the firm designated first on the preference list. The State agency that issued the notice is required to analyze the cost proposal. Additionally, if the agency cannot negotiate a satisfactory contract with the qualified firm designated first, at a price the agency determines to be fair and reasonable, it may terminate negotiations. The agency may then negotiate with the remaining firms by order of ranking.
Q. Are there any instances where the professional services selection procedures outlined in Delaware Code, Title 29, Chapter 69, Section 6981 can be waived?
A. Yes. The competitive selection procedure can be waived based upon a “critical need” as outlined in Section 6907. A “critical need” is based upon emergencies or other conditions, that could have not been reasonably foreseen. Also, competition can be waived based upon a “sole source” as outlined in Section 6985. The state agency head must determine in writing that there is only one source for the required professional service and no other type of service will satisfy their requirements. The agency is encouraged to submit the sole source documentation to Government Support Services (GSS) for confirmation.