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September 1, 2004

OAA Corner

RFPs: Creating a model process

By Lesley D.Watson,

Architect

B. Arch., OAA, MRAIC

President

Ontario Association of Architects

If you work in the building industry, you are well acquainted with the Request for Proposal (RFP), a formal process of competitively tendering and choosing a service provider or product supplier.

Although it is most often used by public sector clients and large corporations, it is increasingly becoming a standard for a variety of projects.

The process can be onerous, detailed and timeconsuming. More importantly, individuals who participate often wonder, upon completing the process, whether or not the RFP process actually met the client’s objectives. That is what we heard last fall from a number of the OAA’s 14 local Architectural Societies.

Lesley Watson

Their concerns and questions regarding RFP processes begged: “Is there a better way to manage a proposal call?”

Council became determined to address the issue by setting an objective to develop a model RFP that can be used by clients, large and small, in managing their proposal calls.

At our annual strategic planning session OAA Council identified the project as a priority for this year. It is in keeping with one of our strategic objectives for 2004, that being “Client/Architect Relations.”

The idea for this initiative originated last fall as a result of input from a number of local OAA Societies who suggested that they could participate collectively in the project.

A preliminary proposal for development of a model RFP process was created which council approved earlier this year. In July, the Terms of Reference for the project were reviewed and accepted by OAA Council.

I am pleased to report the project is now under way.

A consultant is currently collecting information and throughout the fall we will be gaining input from local OAA Societies, committees, individual members and council in order to draft the model process.

Societies will provide key input into the first draft of the document as well as act as focus groups for later versions.

We will be presenting opportunities for online consultation and implementing the use of electronic surveys to solicit feedback from Ontario’s architects throughout the process.

We want to ensure the final product is beneficial to everyone. Key client groups will be invited to be part of the development process as we work toward adopting the final RFP model.

We are on schedule to have a Draft Model RFP Process completed later this year. The roll out of the model is set to take place throughout 2005.

It’s an exciting initiative! For all of you who have taken part in RFPs or are planning to do so, I invite you to keep up-to-date with the project as it unfolds by visiting www.oaa.on.ca

The Ontario Association of Architects is the regulatory body and professional association for Ontario’s architects. The OAA is established under, and administers, the Architects Act, a public statute. As a self-regulating and self-governing profession, Ontario’s architects recognize the importance of fulfilling their responsibility under that statute to ‘regulate the practice of architecture . . . in order that the public interest may be served and protected.”

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