The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Procuring Professional Services and the Process

Reference Number: MTAS-677
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: May 09, 2017
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Why Procure Professional Engineering Services?

T.C.A. § 62-2-107 requires that public works projects over $50,000 have plans and specifications prepared by a registered architect, engineer or landscape architect.

(a) Neither the state, nor any county, city, town or village or other political subdivision of the state, shall engage in the construction or maintenance of any public work involving architecture, engineering or landscape architecture for which the plans, specifications and estimates have not been made by a registered architect, registered engineer or registered landscape architect.

(b) (1) Nothing in this section shall be held to apply to such public work if:

(A) The contemplated expenditure for the complete project does not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), and the work does not alter the structural, mechanical or electrical system of the project; or

(B) The contemplated expenditure for the complete project does not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), the project is located in a state park, and the work is solely maintenance, as defined in the policy and procedures of the state building commission.

(2) For a public work located in a state park, existing plans may be used as a basis of design if the plans have been designed and sealed by a registered architect, engineer, or landscape architect and a registered architect, engineer, or landscape architect reviews such plans for compliance with all applicable codes and standards and appropriateness for the site conditions of the project, makes changes if required, and seals the plans in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.

(c) For the purposes of this chapter, "public work" does not include construction, reconstruction or renovation of all or any part of an electric distribution system owned or operated directly or through a board by a municipality, county, power district or other subdivision of this state that is to be constructed, reconstructed or renovated according to specifications established in the American National Standard Electrical Safety Code, the National Electrical Code or other recognized specifications governing design and construction requirements for such facilities. Notwithstanding this subsection (c), "electrical distribution system" does not include any office buildings, warehouses or other structures containing walls and a roof that are to be open to the general public.

Why Follow the QBS Selection Process?

  • To obtain the best professional services at a reasonable cost. As stewards of the people’s money, elected officials and staff must be concerned with spending public funds wisely.
  • To establish a level playing field providing all qualified professionals with an opportunity to be considered. Having a process in place provides equal opportunity for all professionals to be considered according to pre-determined criteria. It’s a good way to ensure the best firm and the best cost.
  • To ensure compliance with the Sunshine Law. Having a written procedure — equally applied and open to public scrutiny — ensures fairness, openness, and acceptance of the firm or individual ultimately selected.
  • To provide guidance for decision makers. Selecting professional services is both an objective and a subjective process. Having a process is helpful for city officials who must make difficult choices.
  • It is the law.