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 will increase if an incompetent entity ends being 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 that will be subject for assessment if they are qualified or not. 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 a number of divisions that each could have different importance level than the other. The project owner might decide on whether the engineering consultants and contractors need to be made aware of those weight percentages or not.
Each division of the prequalification document will have specific questions to be answered or information to be provided. Each one of those questions or requirements could different importance or weight percentage from the others. The response that will be provided by the engineering consultants and contractors to those questions and requirements will be scored by the project owner. The scoring could be based on a 10-point system where “0” is Unacceptable, “1” Very weak and almost unacceptable, “2” Weak or well below expectation, “3” 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 the complete prequalification process can be managed. Although PMWeb has a ready-use but highly configurable module for prequalification and scoring, nevertheless, the form builder module will be used to create the customized prequalification document that will have 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 needs to include all the fields that need to be filled by the engineering consultants and contractors in the prequalification template. Those could include text fields, values to be picked from pre-defined list of values (for example legal status of the company), numeric values, currency values, dates and Boolean.
The prequalification module will also include 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 to be picked from pre-defined list of values, numeric values, currency values, dates and Boolean.
The next step is to use the visual designer to create the “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) prequalification form for which the engineering consultants and contractors will be given access to complete and submit. The form which is already available in MS Word or MS Excel will be saved as a HTML file format so it can be uploaded as the prequalification form to be used. Finally, the fields created in the form builder need to be mapped into the uploaded form.
Authorized engineering consultants and contractors who have been invited by the project owner to submit their prequalification documents will be given restricted and time-limited access to the prequalification form created in PMWeb. Those engineering consultants and contractors will complete the prequalification form by providing the needed data in the form which could be data that they need to add or data to be selected from predefined list of values.
The attachment tab in the prequalification form will be used by the engineering consultants and contractors to uploaded requested documents such as the trade license, organization chart, financial statements, ISO certificates, reference letters, insurance documents and other documents needed to complete the prequalification assessment.
When all is completed, the engineering consultants and contractors will submit the prequalification form using the predefined workflow assigned to the form. 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, PMWeb Word module will be used to create the template by copy and paste the existing prequalification document for MS Word or MS Excel to PMWeb Word to create the HTML version. This will enable the engineering consultants and contractors to select the PMWeb Word report which will be merged to MS Word to create the output form that will printed, wet signed, stamped, scanned and then uploaded into the attachment tab before it is submitted through the predefined workflow process.
Assessing and Scoring the Prequalification Submission
One of the tables that will be 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, that is no view and no edit privileges. The table will include fields for the prequalification section reference, 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 will provide the information that will be presented on the prequalification assessment report. The tabular report will show the score achieved by each company who have submitted their qualification. The report will calculate the weighted score for each prequalification item depending on the related section and division weight. The report will display all score values that are “4” or less in red, “5” in cyan and all scores “5” in green.
The same data will be used to create the prequalification dashboard which provides an overall summary of the companies’ prequalification scoring. The dashboard will include two visuals. The first will summarize the weighted scoring for each company by section while the second will summarize the weighted scoring for each company by division within each section.