Written by Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM
For capital project owners, outsourcing the project’s scope of work to qualified engineering consultants and contractors is one of the common practices in this industry. Ensuring that there is a formal process for prequalifying engineering consultants and contractors before they are invited to bid is crucial to reduce the risk exposure of having incompetent entities ends being awarded part of or the completed project’s scope of work.
The prequalification document should be designed in a format that covers all requirements needed to ensure that only qualified engineering consultants and contractors will be part of the procurement process. The document will include sections for company information, financial information, experience, quality assurance, health, and safety among others. The importance that each section represents for assessing the company qualifications will be represented by a weight percentage value out of 100%. Each section could have several categories, each with a different importance level than the other. In addition, categories can be further detailed into items to ensure that the prequalification is captured at the desired granular level.
The weight value for each section, category, and item details the project owner’s risk allocation strategy to determine which consultant or contractor needs to be considered as part of the project’s procurement process and those who should be avoided. The response provided by consultants and contractors against those items will enable the project owner to objectively score each item to determine the total weighted score points attained by each consultant and contractor of the total 100% score.
It should be noted that the project owner could have more than a single prequalification scoring list. For example, the scoring list for consultants could very differ from the one for contractors. In addition, the scoring list for international consultants who will be invited for megaprojects could differ from the scoring list for local consultants. The same will apply to local, international, and specialized contractors where the weight values assigned to the prequalification sections, categories, and items could differ.
The submitted prequalification information will become the basis for creating the prequalification score report for which the project owner can select any specific consultant or contractor and review their prequalification scoring. The reported scoring data can be limited to a specific section of the prequalification document if needed. In addition, the report will have a visual chart to detail how the reported scoring points were attained for each selected consultant or contractor.
The prequalification scoring details report will be one of the many reports that a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb can generate. PMWeb will be used to manage the complete prequalification process by designing the online prequalification form to enable consultants and contractors to provide the needed information and supportive documents for the prequalification process. Consultants and contractors can access PMWeb prequalification module online and submit the required information and documents.
The submitted prequalification information will then become automatically available for the project owner to commence the analysis and assessment process. PMWeb allows creating an unlimited number of scoring templates to comply with the different prequalification analysis and assessment requirements needed by the project owner. PMWeb scoring template allows defining all possible types of assessments that need to be performed. Those include for example currency, date and number values, text response documents provided among many others.
The attachment tab will include all documents submitted by the contractor or consultant that were required in the online prequalification submission. In addition, the project owner team can upload and attach other documents as well as add links to PMWeb records and imported MS Outlook emails. This will ensure the analysis and assessment process is comprehensive and all used documents are captured and available for review.
Similar to all other PMWeb modules, the prequalification assessment module will be assigned a workflow to formalize the review and approval of the prequalification scoring provided by the project team. The workflow will identify the workflow steps, duration, responsibility, available action types, and sequence. The workflow could include conditions to ensure that the correct approvals are secured depending on the approval authority levels set for the project.