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Guidebook for Best-Value Procurement


Transportation agencies are increasingly using best value selection procedures for contracts to deliver transportation projects. In particular, agencies are awarding design-build, construction manager/general contractor, and certain design-bid-build contracts based on best-value evaluation criteria. In some situations, the construction and consulting industry have expressed concerns regarding the transparency and fairness of a process that is based on non-price evaluation factors such as qualifications, experience, technical approach, innovative solutions, etc. Generally speaking, contracting agencies want to use fair, transparent selection procedures. They all believe that it is important to document evaluation decisions and the reasons for the selection of the best-value proposal.

The objectives of this research are: (1) to document the challenges of transparency from a legal, programmatic and social viewpoints, (2) to identify Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposal requirements that promote transparency, (3) to identify procurement procedures that minimize the overall industry cost of developing proposals, (4) to identify and document other procedures and processes that support transparency and objectivity in the proposal preparation process, (5) to synthesize current proposal evaluation criteria, scoring and rating methods, (6) to identify award algorithms that promote transparency and achieve the agency’s goals of selecting the proposal that represents the best-value, (7) to identify and document other procedures and processes that support transparency and objectivity in the proposal evaluation process, and (8) to identify and document debriefing procedures that have been successfully used to explain ratings to unsuccessful proposers.

The research will also explore barriers to best-value implementation as well as industry outreach efforts that were used successfully by transportation agencies. The literature review will include a review of existing best value enabling legislation as well as the sections of the Federal Acquisition Regulation that cover best value awards. Case studies on successful transparent best value award programs and industry outreach efforts will also be included.


This research will provide guidance for contracting agencies who wish to develop fair and transparent procurement procedures, solicitation documents, contract documents and administrative procedures for the implementation of best-value projects.


The research has a high payoff potential for agencies that currently transitioning to best-value procurement procedures. This includes many states that are currently using the design-build project delivery method and states that are interested in the construction manager / general contractor or other best-value contracting methods.

Sponsoring Committee:AKC20, Project Delivery Methods
Research Period:24 - 36 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:This synthesis problem statement was developed by TRB Committee AFH15 Project Delivery Methods. Questions concerning the scope of the synthesis project may be addressed to: Steve DeWitt, Committee Chair and Chief Engineer, North Carolina Turnpike Authority, (919) 571-3030, steve.dewitt@ncturnpike.org Gerald Yakowenko, FHWA, Contract Administration Team Leader, (202) 366-1562, Gerald.yakowenko@dot.gov
Source Info:1. Best Value Procurement for Highway Construction Projects, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 561, Transportation Research
2. Alternative Project Delivery, Procurement, and Contracting Methods for Highways, Molenaar, K.R. and Yakowenko, G., Co-Editors, ASCE Press, ISBN 0-7844-0886-6, Reston, Virginia, 2006, pp. 60-79.
3. “Defining Construction Manager/General Contractor Selection Models,” Proceedings, 2st International Conference on Transportation Construction Management, Federal Highway Administration, Orlando Florida,
4. Construction Manager-at-Risk Project Delivery for Highway Programs, NCHRP Synthesis 402, ISBN: 978-0-309-14301-1, 2010, 127pp.
5. Preparing for Design-Build Projects: A Primer for Owners, Engineers, and Contractors, ASCE Press, ISBN 0-7844-0828-9, 2006, 296 pages.
6. Project Administration for Design-Build: A Primer for Owners, Engineers, and Contractors, ASCE Press,ISBN 978-0-7844-1075-2, 2010, 286 pages.
7. “Design-Build Contract Award Methods for Transportation Projects,” Journal of Transportation Engineering, ASCE, Vol. 125 (6), November, 1999, pp. 565-567.
8. “Best Value Contracting Criteria” Cost Engineering, Journal of AACE, International, Vol. 39, (6), June, 1997, pp. 31-34.
9. Quality Assurance in Design-Build Projects, NCHRP Synthesis 376, Transportation Research Board National Academies, Washington, D.C., ISBN 978-0-309-09795-5, 2008, 139pp.
10. “Project Delivery Method Issues of Different Transportation Modes: One Size Does Not Fit All,” 2010 Transportation Research Board, Paper # 10-0621,
Date Posted:12/09/2015
Date Modified:12/18/2015
Index Terms:Handbooks, Design bid build, Design build, Procurement, Construction manager at risk, Legal factors, Social factors, Solicitations, Procedures,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Administration and Management

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