OCTOBER 5, 2000
NEW CONSULTANT SELECTION PROCESS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DIRECT QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS TO EDWARD SCHMIDT OR BILL HOWE,
NYSDOT CONTRACT MANAGEMENT BUREAU AT 518-457-2600
(email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
The answers presented are our current views. These may be changed in the future if new
information demonstrates a change is appropriate. All issues are always open for discussions
between the consultant industry and NYSDOT. We ask that if you wish to bring issues forward,
you speak with your industry representatives:
Kathy Dewkett of Dewkett Engineering (914-876-5250)
Avanti Schroff of Iffland Kavanagh Waterbury (212-944-2000)
Ed Watts of Watts Engineers (716-836-2320)
Don Bergmann of Bergmann Associates (716-232-5135)
Gary Neuwerth of Goodkind & O‟Dea (212-685-0900)
Ken Standig of TAMS Consultants (212-867-1777)
Karl Rubenacker of Vollmer Associates (212-366-5600)
STAFF AND ROSTER
Q: How often can you update the salary roster?
A: For scoring purposes, once every 90 days.
Q: Why are former employees included in the roster for 12 months? The former employees‟
salaries could be up to 2 years old and will skim the salary grades down. The salary roster is
for future work and should include only current employees to be realistic.
A: This was done so that seasonal CI staff would be included.. With the advent of a July annual
update of salaries this will no longer apply and new instructions will be issued.
Q: Currently on January annual raise, will it be necessary to change to July salary roster
submission to be current?
Q: How are the FTE‟s determined? Who selects the job titles for the FTE? How do the FTE‟s
correlate with the staffing shown on the SF 255 if shortlisted?
A: When the firm prepares the salary roster, for each employee they select the function(s) the
employee serves in, they enter a job title and they enter a % FTE for the function(s) (i.e.,
construction inspection 50%, highway design 50%). The staffing shown on the NYS 255
should be similar.
Q: Do we have to include the entire staff of the firm (including administration, accounting, etc.)
in the salary roster?
A: The instructions explain who to include and who not to include. Please call the NYSDOT
Contract Management Bureau at 518-457-2600 with any questions.
In a small firm with many part-time employees, only 1 employee +/- may show up on
employee list. This is not responsive to DBE/WBE situations & staffing - serious problem
for specialty firms!! These people are shown in salary roster & resumes in 255.
A note has been added to the display of General Staff Information on NYSDOT‟s website
stating that only full-time employees are listed in the “Staff by Categories” and referencing
the salary roster for a summary of total avaialable staff.
Q: For term contractors on miscellaneous projects (e.g. environmental), how should we be
submitting our new salary rosters since we are to use the “old process”? If we should submit
as part of the electronic inventory, should (can) we “certify” only that part of the inventory
since we are currently not submitting the rest of the inventory?
A: You should submit and certify only the general firm and roster information.
Q: How do we handle employee categories that do not appear in the inventory (e.g. community
liaison, computer programmer, etc.)?
A: Choose the function that seems most appropriate.
Q: How are organization subsidiary firms handled? Should the subsidiary submit a completely
independent inventory/roster or include in parent company?
A: A firm may only submit one inventory. Subsidiaries are normally considered as part of one
entity. Individual situations should be discussed with the NYSDOT Contract Management
Q: What is reduction factor for individual experiences?
Q: How can the prime benefit by using a sub that doesn‟t have experience as a company with
NYSDOT (only individual experience)?
A: The score given the consultant‟s projects that represent individual experience are multiplied
by 0.7 in the draft scoring table.
Q: When submitting a project inventory, can a current principal of a firm claim past project
experience (as a project manager) if the prior firm worked as a “first tier” subconsultant on a
major complex project? In this case, the work elements performed by the subconsultant were
not duplicating of the prime‟s.
A: The inventory project would be shown as individual experience as a subconsultant.
Q: Are there any special requirements for listing former NYSDOT employees that are now
employees? Can we include their exp. as a NYSDOT employee anywhere else besides their
A: Their experience and inclusion is limited by the public officers law.
Q: Former NYSDOT Employees/Managers - Does firm get individual experience credit for
projects that are more than 2 years old (outside the “ethics” window)?
A: Yes, provided the criteria contained in the instructions are met.
Q: Small firms are effectively banned from being a prime on a large project. Shouldn‟t there be
a mechanism to keep large firms from taking small projects away from small firms?
A: We will continue to review the ability of small firms to effectively compete on small
projects. All results so far appear to show that this is occurring. Adjustments will be made in
the future if this is not the case.
Scoring complex projects lower for non-complex target projects would give firms with
limited experience a better chance of winning compared to large firms who would always get
a perfect work experience every time.
NYSDOT has revised our scoring methodologies so that, for small/routine target projects,
small/routine projects in consultant inventories will score slightly higher than larger/more
complex projects. We will continue to review this issue with industry representatives.
Q: Will advertised projects include “consultant base preservation program”? If so, what is firm
size limit? If not, do you intend to have any program that will provide opportunity to small or
Q: Any provision made for scoring small firm set aside projects?
A: It is intended to use the new process for projects under the consultant base preservation
program. The criteria for claiming small firm credit are noted in each advertisement. The
credit for a small firm will be given under factor 4A:
LAST DESIGNATION FACTOR
Q: Will a last designation correction factor for a sub w/ 20% participation have the same
“correction” weight as a last designation correction factor as a prime w/ 80% participation?
A: No. The last designation factor for each team member is weighted based on the % of work
for each team member.
Q: I suggest federal aid pass-thru projects be given a 0.90 factor and locally funded projects a
A: The 0.7 reduction factor on pass-thru projects where the “owner” is not the NYSDOT does
not seem to be appropriate in many cases. Often, the project was converted to “Pass-thru”
for funding purposes. They can be more complicated and require greater skills and
coordination to complete versus a 100% NYSDOT project. Why reduce the value of these
Q: Why can‟t a federal pass-through project receive the same weighting as a NYSDOT project?
A: A decision on penalty for pass-through projects is required ASAP. This will effect many
firms and their decisions as to which jobs to include in the inventory. Seems like rating same
as NYSTA jobs (0.9) is appropriate since these jobs closely follow NYSDOT process.
Pass-thru projects involving State/Federal funding should not be considered local projects
and get reduced credit.
Pass-thru are locally administered State/Federal projects that NYSDOT would do if staff
were available. Projects require same effort & experience as a NYSDOT project.
NYSDOT has revised the requirements for claiming experience with project owners other
than NYSDOT, and notified consultants of these changes in a July 20, 2000 letter to the
industry. Refer to the project owner table in the latest version of the electronic inventory
Q: What “owner factor” is utilized for design projects associated with NYSDOT Highway
Permit work performed for developers?
A: The work should be classified as highway and/or bridge. The cost should be only for the
highway and/or bridge portion of the work. The project owner is Other.
Q: Why does work in NYC count less than NYSDOT work? Many times it is a least as complex
as state work. In fact, because of the built non-built highway in NYC, similar work on
different portions of the same highway could be a state or city depending on whether it‟s on
the built or non-built section of the same highway.
A: The scoring methodology uses project owner as a factor to indicate the level of technical
demands required by projects. The factors are meant to reflect how committee members
view project experience.
PARTICIPATING OFFICE LOCATION
Q: Why not use office that will “do” the work rather than “coordinate” the work. Eliminates
Q: How will you handle firms with multiple offices? Will a branch office of 1, 2, 5 or 10 people
get full credit for location? We know work would likely be done in the main office. Does
this credit cause companies to open offices in more cities? The short list firms should
probably be mostly local.
A: NYSDOT and industry representatives have agreed on a definition of the “functional office”
from which distances should be measured. This definition is included in all project
Q: If a sub has multiple offices, how does the prime determine which office the sub will do the
project from? In other words, shouldn‟t this be part of the info requested from the sub?
A: The prime should consult with the subconsultant to determine which of the subconsultant‟s
offices will be responsible for coordinating project activities.
Q: Does the location of subconsultants matter in scoring?
A: Yes. Each team member‟s location score is part of the team score. It is weighted based on
their % of work.
Q: If the firm is located in NYC and the project is upstate, but the inspectors live in the project
area, what is the distance we could use?
A: The distance is from the firm‟s functional office as defined in the project advertisement.
Q: Is there any way of ensuring or encouraging participation by local, qualified small firms
when work is scheduled to be done in their area (e.g. Orange County work - Orange County
consultant for part of work, if not all)?
A: The location factor 3A gives credit for distance from the project, and for design it also gives
credit for distance from the NYSDOT regional office. The familiarity factor 3B evaluated by
the committee also considers this.
Q: Is a firm located in Northern New Jersey considered to be within the NYC suburbs for the
A: Offices within a certain radius of NYS are considered to be NYC metro areA: You may
contact the NYSDOT Contract Management Bureau at 518-457-2600 for more information.
Q: In a joint venture, are both firms treated as primes?
A: When each firm‟s inventory projects are scored, each JV partner is treated as if they are
applying for work as a prime.
Q: The NYSDOT 255 speaks of legally formed (in quotes) joint ventures and requires attaching
a copy of the executed joint venture agreement. Does this mean that previous "joint ventures
in spirit" which were executed contractually as prime-sub agreements will not be scored as
joint ventures, or is the intent simply to get a definition of areas of responsibility as might be
defined by a letter of understanding?
A: Joint ventures in spirit are still permitted and the electronic EOI accommodates them. The
reference to “legally formed” joint ventures has been removed from the NYSDOT 255 and
they are no longer required to attach a copy of the joint venture agreement at that time.
Q: In the past, joint ventures had not been looked upon favorably and the proposed JV was
discouraged and a prime/sub relationship was forced, even though the two firms maintained
their JV agreement. Being the sub puts us at a disadvantage. Can this be remedied?
A: The issues of JVs are complex. Individual concerns should be discussed with the NYSDOT
Contract Management Bureau.
Q: If you are responding to an ad as a Joint Venture, what CIN is used? Do we have to obtain a
CIN for the JV?
Q: How are Joint Ventures handled with respect to CIN and Federal ID No. Do you need a JV
Federal ID by submission date?
A: When you prepare the electronic Expression of Interest, the CIN, Federal ID and zip code of
each JV partner is used.
NYSDOT CONSULTANT PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS
Q: Since performance evaluations are an important part of the process, will the NYSDOT
perform the evaluations in a timely manner (i.e. on the anniversary date of the existing
A: The NYSDOT consultant manager is reminded to prepare a performance evaluation a month
before it is due. You are encouraged to remind them as well.
Q: For CI projects: it was mentioned that: 1) Performance Evaluations for the past 3 years will
be reviewed by the committee and 2) the last evaluation on a project will be reviewed. Which
Q: If a firm has been on a CI project for 4-5 years and has several evaluations, will all within the
last 3 years be reviewed or only the last?
A: For each agreement, the committee reviews the last evaluation not more than 3 years old.
Q: How are the performance evaluations entered into computer and a score assigned by the
A: The numbers used by the scoring program are from the existing database of consultant
performance evaluations. The computer program develops a score using the most applicable
Q: Same question for experience of the firm?
A: Firm experience score is based on the computer‟s scoring of the firm‟s project inventory.
Q: Can we get copies of our performance evaluations for the last 3 years from NYSDOT?
A: The NYSDOT Contract Management Bureau sends a copy of each evaluation to the firm at
the time an evaluation is prepared by NYSDOT staff.
PROJECT INVENTORY EXPERIENCE QUESTIONS
Q: For the last few years, NYSDOT has told our firm to increase our experience by hiring
experienced staff - not only project mgrs., but engineers and technicians, which we have
done. How does the new system account for this experience? How do we use this
experience to get short listed, when resumes aren‟t submitted unless firm is shortlisted?
A: A firm‟s experience may be improved in two basic ways. A firm may complete work and
claim credit in its project inventory for services as a prime or sub-consultant for both
NYSDOT and non-NYSDOT clients. A firm may also hire management level staff and
claim their experience with other firms as individual experience.
Q: As a small majority firm, we may only get one NYSDOT/Thruway project every 2-3 years,
which severely limits the experience we can show which is less than 7 years old, unless it is
non-NYSDOT, which is then discounted. How can we get around this?
A: It is important to consider the firm‟s scoring as a total package that includes many other
factors besides experience with NYSDOT. The total score of a firm has the potential of being
very competitive even if the factor 1C score is low.
Q: CI work is very dependent on the chief inspector and office engineer proposed (see current
CI EOI requirements as published by NYSDOT). How does the new system account for
A: The firm experience is considered representative of the experience of the firm‟s staff,
including the ability of the firm‟s management to hire, train and manage the staff to deliver a
project. The specific staff proposed for a project will be evaluated by the selection
committee for the short-listed firms.
Q: On large projects, MPT is often complex, but does not make the 75 sheet limit required in the
inventory. Can there be consideration given for complex MPT that was very unique - traffic
volumes/size/cost of project would seem to be a better indicator.
Q: On the inventory, retaining wall design is limited to walls over 10 meters in height. Often
wall design become complex by restricted work zones or other factors. Is there any way to
get credit for these conditions?
A: Complexity and size are scored by the computer when calculating factors 1A and 1C.
Therefore traffic volumes, size and cost are already considered. The 75 sheets of MPT and 10
meter height of retaining walls is another measure of what a project required.
Q: How do you determine age of project for seven year limitation? For design, is it when
PVEL/PSE/etc. are submitted or when project is completed (constructed) - need guidance on
determining project age.
A: For design, it is the year the design work was accepted by the client. In your question, it
would be the date of client acceptance of the PS&E.
Q: Are there enough tasks to describe design, integration, and inspection of Intelligent
Transportation Systems (ITS)? I am concerned since this is my firm‟s are of expertise. I
could see how this could impact the inventory and EOIs.
A: There is a standard other factor in the both design and CI inventories for ITS. We may
supplement this with one or more special other factors if appropriate. At this time, this
process will probably not be used for design projects that are entirely ITS.
Q: Considering that the NYSDOT has not had a program with many designations over the past 1
years, can the 7 year limit on project experience be extended to 8 or 9 years until the system
is up and running perfectly?
A: The 7 year limit is related to the value of projects completed after a certain period of time.
Since the rule applies to all work and not just NYSDOT work, we think it is appropriate.
Q: If we provided construction engineering services for a highly complex NYSDOT project for
the general contractor, how can we claim credit for this work?
A: If the work could be considered final design work, the firm should enter a cost and
complexity for the design they did - not a cost for the entire project.
Q: We have some questions regarding the complexity level which must be reported for each
project in our inventory. We have some projects which have been classified as complex or
moderately complex during our negotiations with the NYSDOT or in the original
advertisement in the Contract Reporter. These classifications are the result of numerous
factors which impact the project. If we go strictly by the descriptions in the directions for
completing the inventory, some of our complex become moderately complex and our
moderately complex could become routine. We want to accurately represent these projects in
the inventory while at the same time not lose the actual complexity rating that the
Department has recognized for each project. The Department's guidance on this issue is
A: The guidelines contained in the instructions for NYSDOT 's electronic inventory should be
used. They were developed to be unambiguous so consultants would rate the projects‟
complexities in a consistent and verifiable way.
Q: How do we enter the fee for a project instead of the percentage of work we have performed
as a sub and the total fee for the Prime consultant instead of the total construction cost? This
is applicable to biennial inspection projects and value engineering projects.
A: The fee for the total agreement (prime+subs) is entered as the construction cost. It may be
reasonable for you to assume your % of work was equal to your fee as a % of the total fee for
Q: We have worked on two Demonstration projects for the NYSDOT. These were FRP Deck
Replacement Projects in Region 6. We are the Engineer of Record and have worked for the
Manufacturer who donated these decks to the NYSDOT. The State Maintenance Division in
the Region installed these decks. We submitted a formal set of plans to the State in
accordance with the NYSDOT procedures. How do we enter these projects in the Inventory?
A: If your design is what we would normally consider final bridge design, then that is the credit
you would claim. The construction cost should be obtained from the State if possible or
estimated by your firm.
Q: Please provide clarification of the qualifications for claiming credit on the factor "Soil and
Geotechnical Studies, Foundations," in view of the fact that the Department does virtually all
geotechnical evaluations. Is the intent to score only geotech work for other agencies, or does
foundation design as one would do on any bridge project qualify?
A: Consultants should only claim credit if they did the geotech work. For most NYSDOT
projects, the consultant should not claim credit as NYSDOT normally does the geotech work.
Q: Please advise as to intent of the standard other factor - Final Design of Retaining Walls. The
input format for the Design Project Reports describes the factor simply as "Final Design of
Retaining Walls", which one would logically interpret as any retaining wall not covered by
NYSDOT standard retaining wall drawings, which cover cantilever walls on spread footings
with a maximum stem height of 24 feet. However, the output report describes the factor as
"Final Design of Retaining Walls-Over 10 Meters in Height" which is fairly exclusive.
How is this to be interpreted?
A: To claim credit the retaining wall must be over 10 meter in height. This is shown on the
computer screen and on the output report. We apologize for the inconsistency.
Q: Bridge Inspection - Level I Load rating seems more technically challenging than “scoping”.
A: Level I Load rating is not part of biennial bridge inspection. We believe it is normally done
as one of various activities during the preliminary bridge design of a project. It should be so
claimed in the inventory.
Q: We were a sub on a bridge design project with three bridges. However, we were responsible
for all tasks for one bridge. Can we list that bridge as prime?
Example: Large complex highway & bridge design project split into 4 distinct & separate
PS&E packages with a subconsultant 100% responsible for 1 final design package - can
subconsultant claim prime responsibility for 100% PS&E prepared?
A: You may claim credit as a prime if you were responsible for the preparation and submission
of an entire project‟s letting‟s final plans, specifications and estimate.
Q: Does the program have a sub-factor/category to input traffic calming experience/expertise?
A: The program does not have a sub-factor or standard other factor for traffic calming
experience. If we want to specifically consider traffic calming experience as a factor, it
would be treated as a special factor 4B.
Q: Is it possible to have some projects which have been previously designated, finalized to
check the accuracy of the new proposed system?
A: Since a new factor 7 has been added, factor 2B1 modified with a capacity adjustment and the
inventory and other information needed is not available, it would be very time consuming for
firms and NYSDOT to try to do this. Also, since the processes are meant to be different, one
would not expect identical results.
Q: Should separate inventories be submitted for CI vs. Design or is this differentiated by
splitting the 30 projects listed in firm experience?
Q: For inventory program, can we send in 60 projects (30 Design + 30 CI)?
A: You must complete and submit separate inventories for design and CI. Each inventory may
have up to 30 projects.
Q: Can we include on-going projects in our inventory or only completed projects?
A: For the design project inventory you may include ongoing projects but you may only claim
credit for categories of work or work tasks that have been completed and accepted by the
client. For the CI project inventory, you may only include projects that have been completed
and accepted by the client.
Q: Concerning supplements to existing contracts, with a different work scope, are they listed as
A: Only if the supplemental agreement is for a different project which is unlikely.
Q: Please elaborate on substantial completion for CI projects. If we only have 1 person left on
job for project close out, can we list it?
A: No. The consultant‟s project work must be complete and accepted by the client.
Q: If two firms are claiming credit for the same project, how will this be resolved?
A: Issues of this nature should be brought to NYSDOT‟s attention.
Q: Can the inventory data base be sorted (e.g. by firms, location, MBE firms, discipline, etc.)?
A: There is no program to do this at this time.
Q: What will happen if D number is not available (e.g. D number of the NYSDOT project from
Q: What will be impact of wrong information such as D# or name of sub, etc. getting on the
NYSDOT 255 during the short list phase? What about missing minor information?
A: We would like the D number for verification purposes. We expect firms to make a good faith
effort to provide this information. However, if it is omitted the inventory will still be scored..
Regarding the NYSDOT 255, minor errors will be handled as they are today. However, it is
expected that firms will make every effort to prepare the NYSDOT 255 carefully and
Q: Comment: Ratings count for 3 years yet projects count for 7 years. Shouldn‟t both count for
A: The evaluations are limited to 3 years to limit the impact of older evaluations. Projects are
allowed for 7 years as it is believed that experience is valid within that period.
Q: Can NYSDOT create a procedure for confidentiality in self-policing of inventory data? Who
and how would you verify the accuracy of information given in the inventory? Especially
when projects were done for other than NYSDOT agencies? Some firm projects were done 5-
7 years ago?
A: The self-policing issue will be discussed further with industry representatives.
Q: Why isn‟t actual D/M/WBE participation on past projects a factor?
A: When 18% was put as max for credit, CEC came up with the idea of monitoring and using
actual participation and using it to influence future selection processes. NYSDOT can obtain
D/M/WBE participation from final invoice and use this in scoring. A category has to be set
up as part of scoring to include this factor. Actual % participation will come from final
invoice as this is accurate.
Q: Why is it that the scoring program does not account for subconsultant percentage
participation delivered by the primes on past projects? This should be a way of monitoring
A: The Department is in the process of including primes‟ scores for meeting D/W/MBE goals as
part of the scoring for factor 5. Primes that have done poorly will get less credit when they
apply for new work than the primes that have met their commitments.
Q: Do D/M/WBE firm alternates have to be certified?
Q: Why don‟t you list the D/M/WBE Directory on the Web with their various specialties?
A: The registry of DBE firms may be downloaded from the NYSDOT website.
Q: Are D/M/WBE alternates scored?
Q: Why penalize primes for doing less than 65% of work?
A: This is to account for added management complexity and performance issues related to high
Q: Are airport planning, design and inspection projects included in this process?
A: Selections for these projects will not be made thru the new process, but general firm
information and salary rosters must be submitted with the new program for all firms that will
participate in NYSDOT Architectural and Engineering agreements.
Q: Given that you normally give 3-4 weeks to prepare an RFP, an EOI, using existing data, how
can you place such a short time for an entirely new system? Especially for small firms where
technical people also do marketing, it is very difficult to meet current workload and do the
A: The preparation of an electronic Expression of Interest should take much less time and effort.
If short-listed, the prime will submit much less paper than today. Overall, firms should
expend less effort and time when applying for a project.
Q: Can NYSDOT establish a procedure to establish each firm‟s workload, so there are no “mis-
interpretations” which directly impact short lists?
A: There is no easy solution since the NYSDOT information is itself not readily available.
Q: Re: UPS Courier - How do you set up an account?
A: Call 1-800-416-1616 or go to www.exchange.ups.com.
Q: Is the SF 254 no longer required as part of a NYSDOT submittal?
A: Not for projects under the new selection process.
Q: Bridge inspection contracts have larger proportion of subcontractor & non-salary - why not
use DTL & OH & FF without DNSC costs for “workload”?
Q: In figuring “remaining workload”, is it agreement max. or just direct labo?r. Important, since
“workload vs. capacity” relates to direct labor, and not overhead, expense, etc.
A: Because the Department is only able to verify the total contract amounts, using the total
amount seems to be the only alternative.
Q: Does the computer use the rounded integer values shown in the tables for further
computation or the decimal value?
A: The decimal value is used.
Q: Does prime get credit for 100% of total construction cost if it only did 82% of work? (i.e.
subs did 18%)
Q: Could you establish a “hot-line” for EOI preparation questions?
A: At this time, call the NYSDOT Contract Management Bureau at 518-457-2600 and ask for
Ed Schmidt or Bill Howe. Advertisements for real projects will specify a contact person.
Q: Will shortlisted firms be disclosed prior to selection?
Comment: Notify firms immediately if they are not short-listed.
A: Shortlisted firms will be posted on the NYSDOT website.
Q Does recently designated pass thru LDSA count towards the workload?
A: Agreements with other municipalities are not considered as NYSDOT workload.
Q: After the shortlisting process is complete, is the committee review evaluation independent of
the computer scoring, or is the top firm on the shortlist most likely to be designated?
A: The final scores are a combination of scores by the computer, scores by the committee and
computer scores adjusted by management based on committee comments.
Q: How will adjustment be made for negative score on last designation for projects that are
A: This issue will be considered.
Q: Can NYSDOT provide a “look-ahead” schedule of projects to be advertised to allow for
tailoring of inventory to be more appropriate for a specific job?
Q: Will NYSDOT list projects in advance to allow formation of JVs and submitting their
A: There are no plans to do this at this time. It has been very difficult to accurately forecast
what projects will be advertised and when.
Q: It was stated that committee members will be „higher level‟. Does this mean higher level on a
Regional or M.O. basis (or both)?
A: It is expected that both Regional and main office committee members will be G-27 or above.
Q: Please publish all questions - those raised during the meeting as well as written - on the web.
A: We will try.