For a capital project owner, one of the proven response strategies for reducing the project’s risk exposure is to outsource part of the project’s scope of work to qualified engineering consultants and contractors. Otherwise, the project’s risk exposure increases if an incompetent entity ends up as awarded the outsourced scope of work. Therefore, limiting bid invitations to qualified engineering consultants and contractors is a must and not a choice. The project owner needs to design the prequalification document to cover all requirements needed to ensure that only qualified engineering consultants and contractors will be part of the procurement process. The prequalification document needs to cover details on each company subject to assessment on whether they are qualified or not. The document includes sections for company information, financial information, experience, quality assurance, health, and safety among others.
A weight percentage value out of 100% represents the importance for each section for assessing the company qualifications. Each section could have a number of divisions that each could have a different importance level than the other. The project owner controls whether the engineering consultants and contractors can view those weight percentages or not.
Each division of the prequalification document has specific questions to answer or information to provide. Furthermore, each one of those questions or requirements could have a different importance or weight percentage from the others. The project owner then scores the response provided by the engineering consultants and contractors to those questions and requirements. The scoring could be based on a 10-point system where “0” is Unacceptable, “1 is” Very weak and almost unacceptable, “2 is” Weak or well below expectation, “3 is” Poor or below expectation, “4” Marginally below expectations, “5” Meets expectations, “6” Marginally exceeds expectation, “7” Good or well above expectations, “8” Very good, “9” Outstanding and “10” Exceptional.
Using Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb helps manage the complete prequalification process. Although PMWeb has a ready-to-use highly configurable module for prequalification and scoring, nevertheless, the form builder module allows creating the customized prequalification document that has the same fields of the prequalification document used by the project owner as well as the assessment form to score each submitted prequalification.
To start with, the prequalification module must include all the fields needed to be filled by the engineering consultants and contractors in the prequalification template. Those could include text fields, values picked from a pre-defined list of values (for example legal status of the company), numeric values, currency values, dates, and Boolean.
The pre-qualification module also includes a number of tables to capture information that is relevant to the engineering consultants’ and contractors’ past years’ financial performance, past experience, insurance coverage, technical resources, plants, and equipment among others. The fields within each table also include the options for text fields, values picked from a pre-defined list of values, numeric values, currency values, dates, and Boolean.
The next step uses the visual designer to create the “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) prequalification form which the engineering consultants and contractors get access to complete and submit. Save the form, which is already available in MS Word or MS Excel, an HTML file format to upload to the prequalification form for use. Finally, the custom for builder fields get mapped into the uploaded form.
Authorized engineering consultants and contractors invited by the project owner to submit their prequalification documents receive restricted and time-limited access to the prequalification form created in PMWeb. Those engineering consultants and contractors complete the prequalification form by providing the needed data in the form which could be data that they need to add or data selected from a predefined list of values.
The attachment tab in the prequalification form allows the engineering consultants and contractors to upload requested documents such as the trade license, organization chart, financial statements, ISO certificates, reference letters, insurance documents, and other documents for completing the prequalification assessment.
When all is completed, the engineering consultants and contractors submit the prequalification form using the predefined workflow assigned to the form. Furthermore, by submitting the form, the engineering consultants and contractors will have no more access to the prequalification form and the project owner can use the information provided in the form and the attached documents to start the prequalification process.
Should there be a requirement for the engineering consultants and contractors to formally submit a printed copy of the prequalification document so it can be wet-signed and stamped, the PMWeb Word module allows creating the template by copying and pasting the existing prequalification document for MS Word or MS Excel to PMWeb Word to create the HTML version. This enables the engineering consultants and contractors to select the PMWeb Word report which gets merged to MS Word to create the output form to print, wet sign, stamp, scan, and then upload into the attachment tab before it is submitted through the predefined workflow process.
Assessing and Scoring the Prequalification Submission
One of the tables created in the prequalification form will be the assessment scoring table. Using the form builder permission tab, the engineering consultants and contractors will have no access to this table, which is no view and no edit privileges. The table includes fields for the prequalification section reference, the weight value of the section, division and item within a division, scoring field and remarks. Of course, there is always the option of having the assessment scoring done on another separate custom form.
The data captured in the assessment scoring table provides the information to present on the prequalification assessment report. The tabular report shows the score achieved by each company who have submitted their qualification. The report calculates the weighted score for each prequalification item depending on the related section and division weight. The report displays all score values that are “4” or less in red, “5” in cyan and all scores “5” in green.
The same data helps create the prequalification dashboard which provides an overall summary of the companies’ prequalification scoring. The dashboard includes two visuals. The first summarizes the weighted scoring for each company by section while the second summarizes the weighted scoring for each company by division within each section.