Request for Qualifications (RFQ)


Architectural/Engineering Services

Relating to a

New Development Services Campus

for the

Public Works & Engineering Dept.


Houston, Texas


City of Houston

Building Services Department

Design & Construction Division


May 20, 2005








      I.     PURPOSE


The City of Houston, Building Services Department (BSD), on behalf of the Public Works & Engineering Department (PWE), invites the submittal of Statements of Qualification (SOQs) from design firms interested in providing architectural/engineering consulting services for programming and design of a new Development Services Campus in Houston, Texas.  The location of the project has not yet been finalized; the program will assist the City in determining requirements for size, layout, property requirements, and cost. The project will include two separate contracts, each to be authorized separately by City Council.


In the first contract, the architectural/engineering team will provide all programming services necessary to (1) work with the City to establish goals for a development services consolidation program; (2) identify user needs; (3) determine cost and property requirements; and (4) recommend action plan(s). The deliverable will be a bound program document with findings.


In the second contract (if authorized), the architectural/engineering team will provide all services necessary to assess and verify existing conditions; review and verify design standard requirements; design to a Silver Certified Level in the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating SystemÔ of the US Green Building Council (USGBC); provide specifications for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E); provide computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) construction documentation; prepare bidding documents; provide permitting services; coordinate with the civic art program; estimate construction costs; provide value engineering; assist with bidding and award activities; arrange and conduct meetings; perform construction phase services, including construction management; coordinate commissioning activities; and assist in the warranty review.





A pre-submittal meeting will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, 2005, at City Hall Annex (900 Bagby), Second Floor, to discuss this solicitation.  Attendance at the meeting is not mandatory.


Before the pre-submittal meeting date, the City will welcome any written questions submitted, faxed or emailed to:


Wendy Teas Heger, AIA

Design & Construction Division

Building Services Department

900 Bagby, Second Floor

Houston, Texas 77002

Fax: (713) 247-1219


The City will not be bound by any information conveyed verbally.  The City will provide, in writing, any clarifications, changes and/or other information, deemed to be necessary, as addenda to this RFQ.  Addenda will only be provided to firms registering with the Building Services Department.




The Building Services Department proposes to retain a highly qualified architectural/engineering firm to provide the services described herein.  Those firms who participate in this RFQ process will be referred to as “Respondents”.  The successful firm will be referred to, in the RFQ, as the City’s “Architect”.  The Architect and its subconsultants shall be referred to collectively as the “Team”.  Architectural firms and team members with significant experience in programming and designing projects with similar characteristics will be given prime consideration for this project. 




Project Name:         New Development Services Campus

Existing Location:     3300 Main and other locations

New Location:         To be determined

Schedule:                Programming in FY2006; Design/Construction to be determined


The Public Works and Engineering Department intends to program and design a new facility/campus for development services, including code enforcement, plan review, water/wastewater allocation, engineering right-of-way, city map/file room, Joint Referral Committee, and traffic street obstruction permitting. The City also intends to explore the feasibility of consolidating development services functions from other Departments in the same facility/campus, possibly including (but not limited to):

·       Subdivision Plats and Historical/Archeological Section (Planning & Development Department);

·       Dumpster Permits (Solid Waste Department);

·       Hazardous Materials, High Pile, Fire Alarms, Fire Sprinklers (Fire Department);

·       City Forester (Parks & Recreation Department);

·       City Business Permits (Finance & Administration Department);

·       Citizens’ Assistance and Affirmative Action (Mayor’s Office);

·       Real Estate Construction and Monitoring & Evaluation (Housing & Community Development Department);


Size and property requirements, budget, and estimated cost of the new facility/campus will be established under the first project contract.


The following services will be required:



Programming and Planning. The Architect will (1) work with the City to establish goals for a development services consolidation program; (2) identify user needs; (3) determine cost and property requirements; and (4) recommend action plan(s). The deliverable will be a bound program document with findings. Attachment A includes further details regarding the intent of the programming effort.


SECOND CONTRACT (to be authorized separately by City Council)

A.    Assessment of Existing Conditions.  The Architect will gather any existing records (e.g. environmental assessments) or documents (e.g. Record Drawings, site surveys, etc.) that indicate existing conditions for the site of the new facility.  These documents will need to be verified by on-site inspection of the premises.  The extent of this effort shall be as in-depth and as extensive as is required and necessary to support the design effort.


B.    Planning. Phase I design services include program refinement, Schematic Design and Design Development.  Phase II services involve the development of Contract Documents.  Contract Documents shall be suitable for the solicitation of competitive construction bids/proposals.  All permit and other discrepancies must be resolved and changes incorporated into the Contract Documents before approval can be given by the City for the 100% submittal and the subsequent initiation of the bidding process. 


C.    Design and construction phase services.  Architectural and engineering services will include, but are not limited to, construction drawings using CADD and, more specifically, the Uniform Drawing System (UDS) distributed by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) with layering standards developed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA); CSI-style specifications; commissioning procedures and documents; LEEDÔ procedures and documents; specifications of FF&E; bidding phase assistance; construction administration and construction management services; and post-construction services which covers items, such as commissioning and warranties, for a period following the completion of construction.




The City is seeking a highly qualified architectural firm or joint venture, experienced in providing the professional programming, planning and design services outlined in the Scope of Work.  The required qualifications may be demonstrated in the experience of the Architect and/or the Team.  A Selection Committee composed of representatives from the Building Services Department and the Public Works & Engineering Department will review the SOQs. The criteria used to evaluate the RFQ responses will include the following:


A.    Completeness of submittal response: SOQ follows the prescribed format and contains all information requested in RFQ (maximum 10 points).


B.    Strong, established, and proven working relationships with Team members, as indicated in Item 6 on Form 255 and described further in Section 3 Narrative (maximum 5 points).


C.    Programming/design experience in similar or relevant projects by Team firms, as shown in Forms 254 and 255 and Project Briefs (maximum 5 points).


D.    Programming/design experience in similar or relevant projects by individuals who would be assigned to this project, as shown in Forms 254 and 255 (maximum 5 points).


E.    Experience in developing similar program documents by individuals who would be assigned to this project, as shown in Forms 254 and 255 (maximum 5 points).


F.    A suitably-sized staff to meet the peak phases of work, as shown in Item 4 on Form 255 (maximum 5 points).


G.   Strong statistics or examples concerning the firm’s ability to work within a budget, as described in Section 3 narrative and as shown on Project Briefs (maximum 5 points).


H.    Strong statistics and examples concerning the ability of the firm to track and comply with project schedules, as described in Project Briefs and Section 3 Narrative (maximum 5 points).


I.      Strong statistics or examples concerning the quality of the firm’s construction documents, as described in Project Briefs and Section 3 Narrative (maximum 5 points).


J.     Familiarity with current LEEDÔ standards and the certification process, including LEED-accredited Team personnel, as described in Section 3 Narrative (maximum 5 points).


K.    Understanding of City’s needs and appropriateness of Team’s approach to this project, as described in Section 3 Narrative (maximum 10 points).


L.     Experience in providing effective construction-phase services, including construction management, as described in Section 3 Narrative (maximum 5 points).


M.   Applicability and quality of References, as provided in Section 4 Testimonials (maximum 5 points).





Sealed submittals are required.  Submittals shall be delivered to City Secretary of the City of Houston, in the Margaret Westerman Building (a.k.a. City Hall Annex), Public Level, 900 Bagby Street, Houston, TX. 77002, at or before 2:00 p.m., local time, Thursday, June 9, 2005.  Late submittals will not be accepted for any reason.  All submittals must be labeled on the outside with the Respondent’s name and the name of the project.


6 copies of the SOQ are to be addressed to:


                                      Wendy Teas Heger, AIA

                                      Acting Chief Architect

                                      Building Services Department


To enable the City to efficiently evaluate the SOQs, it is MANDATORY that respondents follow the required format in preparing their SOQ.  SOQs that do not conform to the prescribed format will not be evaluated.


Each copy of the SOQ shall be bound using GBC or other semi-permanent binding method, to ensure that pages are not lost.  Each copy shall be no more than one-half inch (1/2”) thick.  Pages shall be no larger than letter-size (8 ½” by 11”) or, if folded to that dimension, twice letter size (11” by 17”).  Each section (defined below) shall be separated by a tabbed divider.  Elaborate covers, binding, dividers, etc.  are not required.
NOTE:  One of the 6 copies shall be labeled “ORIGINAL” on the outside cover and shall contain original documents where specified below.


Each SOQ shall be organized in the following order:


A.    Outside Cover and/or first page:  This shall contain the name of the SOQ (“Statement of Qualifications for Architectural Services Relating to a New Development Services Facility for the Public Works & Engineering Department, Houston, Texas”), the name of the Respondent, and the submittal date.  Remember to label the one copy, with original documents in it, “ORIGINAL” on the cover.


B.    Table of Contents:  The next page shall be a table of contents.


C.    Section 1 divider (Letters)


1.     Transmittal Letter:  The first page following the divider shall be a one-page letter transmitting the SOQ to Issa Z. Dadoush, P.E., Director of Building Services Department.  The transmittal letter shall say that the signer of the document is authorized by the Respondent to sign the document.  The transmittal letter shall contain the names of all firms proposed for the Team.  At least one copy of the transmittal letter shall contain the original signature of a partner, principal or officer of Respondent.


2.     MWBE Letter (s):  Following the transmittal letter shall be a one-page letter from each City-certified MWBE firm included on the Team, indicating that firm’s desire to be included on the Team and indicating a general statement of the scope of services that firm will perform if the Team is selected.  NOTE: The scope of services proposed by the firm must match the service for which that firm is certified by the City.  At least one copy of each of these letters shall contain the original signature of a partner, principal or officer of the MWBE firm.


D.    Section 2 Divider (Team Organization & Experience)


1.     List of Team Members:  On one page, list the Team member firms along with the primary responsibilities (e.g. Structural Engineer, MEP Engineer, etc.) they will have on the Team.  Please indicate the lead firm.  It is a requirement of the City that all SOQs will indicate the lead firm proposed for the project and that firm must agree to maintain a Houston office during the term of the engagement.


2.     Organization Chart:  The next page shall be a simple organization chart of the Team, showing the reporting structure of the people proposed to do the work.


3.     SF-255, Architect-Engineer and Related Services Questionnaire for Specific Project:  Include a completed SF-255 for the proposed Team.  Include all Team members under Block 6 and include a completed SF-254 (A-E and Related Services Questionnaire) for each Team member. Under Block 9, list all work performed for any government agency.


4.     Project Brief:  The Respondent shall select three projects from Block 8 of the SF-255, to highlight, as best representing the Team’s project experience, and provide a briefing sheet for each.  Each briefing sheet shall be one-page and should contain information, which shows the capability of the proposed Team to provide the range of services that are required by this project.  The work described must have been performed within the past eight years.  At least one of the projects shall be a major (i.e. $3 million or more in construction cost) facility for a governmental entity.  Minimally, each brief shall contain:


a.     Project Name and Location


b.     Year Project Completed (or “In Design” or “Under Construction”) and brief explanation regarding steps A/E took to maintain project schedule 


c.     Short Description of Services Provided


d.     Name of Lead Design Firm and current telephone number and/or email address


e.     Name of Client and/or Owner/Operator and current telephone number and/or email address


f.      Name of General Contractor and current telephone number and/or email address


g.     Construction Cost and brief explanation regarding steps A/E took to adhere to Owner’s budget.


5.     Graphic Information:  If the Respondent includes photographs, drawings or other graphical information about any of the three projects, the back of the project brief, the facing page or a separate page may be utilized for this purpose.  Photographs or other graphical information used to illustrate these projects may also be incorporated into the one-page brief sheet itself.


E.    Section 3 Divider (Narrative)


1.     Narrative:  The Respondent shall provide, on three pages or less, a narrative that describes:

·       Team’s track record of working within a budget;

·       Team’s track record of timely performance on projects;

·       Team’s track record quality documents;

·       Team’s familiarity with current LEEDÔ standards and the certification process;

·       Team’s understanding of the City’s needs and Team’s approach to this project;

·       Team’s experience in construction administration and management;

·       Team’s working relationship. 


F.    Section 4 Divider (Quality of Service)


1.     Testimonials:  Respondents may include up to three one-page letters from clients and/or general contractors that they have worked with on previous projects.  At least one copy of these letters shall contain the original signature of the person writing the letter.  Letters should comment on budget and/or scheduling experiences and qualitative matters related to services received from the Team member or members.




A.    Respondents shall not offer any gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value to any official or employee of the City of Houston for the purposes of influencing this selection.  Any attempt by the Respondent to influence the selection process by any means, other than disclosure of qualifications and credentials through the proper channels, shall be grounds for exclusion from the selection process.


B.    Respondents who provide false or misleading information, whether intentional or not, in any documents presented to the City for consideration in the selection process shall be excluded.  Any false or misleading information in these documents would, in effect, render the entire document suspect and therefore useless.


C.    INTERVIEWS – After the screening of SOQs, Respondents will be notified, in writing, of their status in the selection process.  If interviews are needed, short-listed Respondents may be given additional information for interviews.  These interviews will relate less to the past experience and qualifications already detailed in the submittal than to identification of the Respondent’s program approach and to an appraisal of the people who would be directly involved in the project.


D.    INQUIRIES – Please do not contact the City during the selection process to make inquiries about the progress of this selection process.  Respondents will be contacted when it is appropriate to do so.


E.    COST OF SOQS – The City of Houston will not be responsible for costs incurred by anyone in the submittal of qualifications or for any costs incurred prior to the execution of a formal contract.


F.    CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS – This RFQ is not to be construed as a contract or as a commitment of any kind.  If this RFQ results in a contract offer by the City; a specific scope of work, fees, insurance coverage’s, and other contractual matters will be determined during contract negotiations.  To ensure that the appropriate staff is assigned to the project the City may make the inclusion of a “key persons” clause a part of the contract negotiations.


G.   CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION – All responses shall be held confidential from other parties by the City to the extent allowable by law until after the selection process is completed.  Respondents should be aware that at the completion of the selection process the contents of their SOQ are subject to the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act and may be made public.  CONFIDENTIAL or SENSITIVE information should not be included in the SOQ.


H.    CITY POLICIES & ORDINANCES – Respondents should be aware of and therefore, familiar with all pertinent City of Houston Ordinances and policies which will relate to contracting with the City of Houston.  More detailed guidance is available on request.  The following is a partial list of relevant subjects:


1.     Equal Employment Opportunity


2.     MWBE Goal of 24% participation


3.     City of Houston Fair Campaign Ordinance


4.     Mayor’s Drug Detection and Deterrence Policy and Procedures


5.     City Contracts and Indebtedness to Taxing Authorities


6.     Insurance requirements


I.      The City of Houston reserves the right to (1) evaluate the qualifications submitted; (2) waive any irregularities therein; (3) select candidates for the submittal of more detailed qualifications; (4) accept any submittal or portion of a submittal; (5) reject any or all Respondents submitting qualifications, should it be deemed in the City’s best interest; and/or (6) issue new RFQ for the second contract upon completion of the first.




                                                            Wendy Teas Heger, AIA

                                                            Acting Chief Architect

                                                                      Design & Construction Division

                                                            Building Services Department



        Public Works and Engineering Department




ATTACHMENT A:  Programming of a New Development Services Facility



In preparation for the creation of a new facility for the Planning and Development Services Division a program should be initiated looking at requirements specific to the new facility. The first step in any facility programming is to create the goals for that program. Basic goals for the development of a new City of Houston Facility could include the following.


  • Providing a building design that will create a comfortable effective work environment for city employees and customers.
  • The new city offices should be clearly visible and reflect the quality of city government
  • The building layout should mimic how the division functions and should encouraging efficiency, interaction and cooperation.
  • Consolidation of divisions to eliminate duplicate expenditures, reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.
  • Use creative financing, as much as possible, to maximize and leverage the use of city funds.


The second part of a program should be to identify user requirements and needs. These are first accomplished on a general basis for determining size, cost and location of a new facility. The analysis can be done to the nearest thousand square feet and the site to the nearest acre so that decisions can be made for finding an adequate location. Identified are some key issues affecting the location of a new facility.


  • Identifying the number of divisions and Employees.
  • Need for compliance with ADA standards.
  • A location that is not prone to flooding.
  • Facility that has capacity for future growth.
  • Adequate site parking designed for peak operating periods.
  • Site security for protection of customers and employees.
  • Free parking that will accommodate contractor service vehicles
  • Easy access to major freeways
  • Centrally located in the city
  • Secure fleet vehicle areas
  • Close access to mass transit
  • Access to Fiber optic data connections
  • Secure customer and employee parking


Analysis of these general needs and goals will lead a committee in the proper direction to make the appropriate decisions on a plan of action. The following are some plans of action that may be considered.


  • Add onto the existing facility to accommodate additional groups.
  • Completely redevelop the existing site with a new building.
  • Purchase a new site and develop it with a new building.
  • Purchase an existing site and building to be remodeled to accommodate the group.
  • Develop a new building on another existing city property.


Later a more detailed assessment will be required to ascertain specific needs of each division. These specific requirements will focus on improving operational efficiency and the needs of our clients. Experience gained over the years has educated us on specialized needs, which are unique to the support of a high volume permitting operation.


The following is a list of some needs that may be critical to a new facility design.


  • Building mechanical systems that are design for varied occupant loads.
  • Durable surfaces in public areas
  • Secure file storage rooms
  • Large Fire proof vault for protection of records
  • Secure money counting area
  • Security desk with building video monitors
  • High speed building data network
  • Central customer service area visible from a central lobby
  • Lobby and seating for each division work group
  • House keeping rooms on each floor
  • Office supply storage
  • Built in plan libraries in each plan review section
  • Employee lunch room
  • Employee vending area
  • Larger than average lobby and seating areas
  • Central permitting application area
  • Central computer center
  • On site emergency power that can operate offices during disasters
  • Delivery dock for supplies and furniture
  • Larger number of restrooms than a normal office facility
  • Training room with video conferencing
  • Secure record viewing rooms
  • Mail room for mail distribution
  • Work areas for building maintenance groups
  • Kiosk information systems located through out the facility
  • Staffed information booths
  • Central document shredder room for sensitive documents.
  • Work room for distribution and assembly of HR materials
  • Video information and education monitors through out the building
  • Docu-center locations in each section for scanning project information
  • On site reprographics vendor for public use.
  • On site food vendor


Client needs (suggested by users)


·       Client lounge and vending area

·       Plan cart rental for client use

·       Locker rental for client use

·       Small lease offices for consulting firms.

·       Library area for code research by customers

·       General customer work areas

·       Wi-Fi system in building for Internet connection.

·       ATM


Miscellaneous requests.


·       Fitness room with showers

·       Room for daycare tenant

·       Space on site for city carwash bay


This is just a small number of items that should be considered in the planning phase for a new Development Services Facility. Other factors that will later be taken into consideration are spatial relationships, space standards, growth factors and constrains of ether budget or time.