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Guidebook for IDIQ Contracting for Architect/Engineer (A/E), Professional Services, and Research


During the last three decades, transportation agencies have been widely using Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to procure design and other professional services. This method has many names such as General Engineering Consultant (GEC) contracts, On-Call Design contracts, Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) contracts, etc. Additionally, many DOTs use IDIQs to obtain research services from various universities and consultants. To simplify the terminology in this research need statement, the previous types of IDIQ contracts will be called either consultant or research IDIQs where the consultant IDIQ is intended to cover all the project development process requirements for external services and the research IDIQ will be confined to only the procurement of research services.

NCHRP Synthesis 473: Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Contracting Practices found that while there is a great depth of DOT experience, there is no substantive implementation guidance for their use and little, if any, research on the effective practices for the procurement and execution of IDIQ professional services contracts. The paucity of guidance creates a patchwork quilt of consultant/research policies, procedures, and regulations making it difficult for the consulting and academic industry to consistently evaluate the costs of providing the requested services. Research has shown that uncertainty associated with public agency contract administration increases prices as consultants include contingencies to cover the costs of dealing with the agency administrative requirements. Therefore, any standardization that is created by having a “typical” AASHTO approach to these types of contracts should accrue benefits of decreased consulting fees. The federal, state and local experience provides a massive foundation of experiential information from which to extract effective practices on the use of consultant and research IDIQ contracts.

The proposed research should address the following questions:

· What types of consultant and research services are best suited for IDIQ contracts?

· What are most effective practices for consultant and research IDIQ procurement?

· What are the appropriate practices in contractually implementing competitive bids for consultant and research IDIQ contracts for services not covered by Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) mandates?

· What are the advantages and disadvantages of current methods for securing consultant and research services using IDIQ?


The main research objective is to benchmark the state-of-the-practice in consultant and research IDIQ contracts and combine it with existing research on procurement and project delivery procedures, processes, and policies, such as NCHRP Report 826: Estimating Highway Preconstruction Services Costs. This study will analyze each form of consultant and research IDIQ contracts and compare it to single contract methods for procuring the same services. The comparison will be both quantitative and qualitative determining the cost and time benefits as well as other attributes that could be considered to add value.

Related Research:

NCHRP Synthesis 473: Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Contracting Practices.

NCHRP Report 826: Estimating Highway Preconstruction Services Costs – Volumes 1 and 2.


Specific Tasks of the research to accomplish the main objective include:


Task 1 – Benchmark the state-of-the-practice by federal, state, and local agencies in the use of consultant and research IDIQ contracts for services both covered and not covered by QBS mandates. Propose a methodology for quantitatively comparing all forms of consultant and research IDIQ contracts for a set of case study consultant and research IDIQ contracts obtained from a survey of federal, state, and local agencies that use IDIQ procurement.


Task 2 – Review the legal issues involved with consultant and research IDIQ contracts with respect to statutory competition constraints, award mandates, and other salient issues that pose potential barriers to implementation of the concept. Identify remedies, if any, that have been successfully implemented. Prepare a white paper documenting the results of Tasks 1 and 2.

· Task 3 – Based on the results of Tasks 1 and 2, prepare a research work plan that describes the details of the research methodology and methods for identifying potential effective practices and developing authoritative conclusions that will lead to the accomplishment of the research objectives and the final guidebook.* *The plan shall include a detailed description of any statistical analysis methods, qualitative research instruments, and a justification that is well grounded in the literature to their use.

· Task 4 – Develop a rational methodology for selecting 15 to 20 state consultant and research IDIQ contracts that would be similar to the types of contracts present in a typical DOT annual program. Provide a list of potential case study candidates and the methodology for approval by the NCHRP project panel.

· Task 5 – Execute the research work plan and prepare an interim research report that articulates the case study data collection and analysis as well as emerging conclusions, effective practices, lessons learned and a proposed outline for the guidebook content on each alternative. Include appendices that contain the details of the case study analysis written in a form that permits it to be published separately as a stand-alone report should the NCHRP panel decide that would be appropriate. Also, include appendices that contain samples of consultant and research IDIQ solicitations and task order language; general/special provisions and enabling legislation, if any.

· Task 6 – Prepare the draft report documenting the results of the analysis of the case study IDIQ. Provide a plan for implementing consultant and research IDIQ contracts that provide sufficient guidance for a DOT to utilize one or more approaches in their IDIQ program.

· Task 7 – Publish the final implementation plan and a final research report that details the full results of the research.


The intent of this project is to furnish a uniform set of

guidelines for the implementation of consultant and research IDIQ contracts. The payoff will be the ability for DOTs to uniformly create a procurement structure for consultant and research IDIQ contracts. Based on the experience of those DOTs that have already implemented IDIQ, the payoff of this research will be significant in both cost and time savings. The implementation of IDIQs has also been proven to provide an expeditious manner to obligate year-end funding for projects that may have not been in the current annual program because the procurement is already complete.

Sponsoring Committee:AKC20, Project Delivery Methods
Research Period:12 - 24 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Douglas D. Gransberg, PhD, PE – Gransberg & Associates, Inc. Jorge A. Rueda, PhD – Auburn University Eric Kahlig, PE – Ohio Department of Transportation
Date Posted:11/07/2017
Date Modified:01/05/2018
Index Terms:Contract administration, Contracting, Contractors, Contracts, Handbooks, Construction projects, Research management, Architectural engineering, Professional personnel,
Administration and Management

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