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Tools Used When SDSB Members Evaluate Responses

When evaluating responses to SDSB RFP's, the State Designer Selection Board looks to information from the responder's proposal and/or interview that reflects the responder's abilities in each of the RFP's stated criteria. The following are non-exclusive examples to help the responder understand what the board may look for when reviewing a response and when applying the information provided to the evaluation criteria listed in the project RFP. The groupings below are generic and do not coincide directly to specific criteria found in the SDSB RFP template.


Typical Evaluation SDSB RFP Criteria Include:
  • Qualifications and technical competence in the required field of design.
  • Ability to deal with aesthetic factors
  • Availability of appropriate personnel, and their capacity to accomplish the work within the required constraints.
  • Understand the constraints and issues affecting the proposed project
  • Leadership, integration and cohesiveness of the team
  • Approach/methodology of the team
  • Unique qualifications of the team
  • Past performance of the team on projects for the state or other
  • Compatibility between the proposed team and the project stakeholders


When determining the level of experience of an individual, team or staff, the board may look to any of the following as indicators:
  • Successful completion of comparable work.
  • Experience as a Designer or, experience of members of the same team providing design, pre-construction and construction phase services on comparable projects.
  • Leader demonstrates experience as a leader of a Design/Build team on comparable projects.
  • The team demonstrates experience working together as a team, preferably on comparable projects.
  • Has the responder has comparable project experience? (i.e. projects with comparable work, other projects done for the owner, similar scope projects for other institutions or owners, similar length and cost).
  • Greater length of experience.
  • Examples of relevant projects recently completed or in progress (Examples may include:  Name and location; brief description; photographs, sketches and/or plans; firm of record; involvement of proposed project team members (if from another firm this is noted); completion date or current status; names, phone #s and addresses of contact persons for referenced projects.  The projects listed by the responder should have been managed by the responder to the RFP.  Projects completed by present employees of the responder for former employers should not be used unless clearly identified as such).
  • Technical Competence of Team Personnel (i.e. educational level, certifications and training; running meetings; people skills; knowledge and ability to use the tools of the industry such as software and equipment; past projects monitoring and tracking document use).


When discussing a responder's ability to address aesthetic issues and concerns related to the project, the board may look to any of the following as indicators:
  • Has the responder identified the aesthetic needs of the current project?
  • How will a design support the agency's mission within the context of the site? 
  • How have past designs from the team supported the mission of the project within the contest of the site?
  • Has the proposer demonstrated innovation in the field for past and present projects? How is this shown?
  • How will the knowledge related to incorporating the aesthetic into past design work be used address the aesthetic needs of the current project?
  • How does the aesthetics of the past or present projects promote the function of the building project proposed?
  • How are the aesthetics going to be sensitive to the users' needs?
  • What is the quality of the aesthetic:  Does it improve the project; is it neutral, does it 'fight' the site?
  • Does the aesthetic stimulate the users to be more thoughtful of their work?


When determining the capacity of an individual or team to perform, the board may consider to any of the following as indications of their ability:
  • What is the organization of the project team? (How does its structure best use the talents of the individuals?)
  • Who has been committed to support the team members proposed?
  • Is the team of sufficient size and caliber to accomplish the work?
  • Has the proposed team (or only certain members) successfully completed comparable work projects?
  • What is the team's ability to manage successful projects within an established scope of work, schedule and budget?
  • What is the team management and communication structure, including primary contact with the owner?
  • What is the role and involvement of team members at each phase of the design? (i.e. planned responsibilities, anticipated % of time of each member at each portion of the work)
  • Are there special talents or abilities represented by the team that address unique requirements of the project? 


The board may look to any of the following as indications of a responder's understanding of a project:
  • Is the responder able to articulate the constraints and issues affecting the project?
  • What are the challenges of the project that will need to be managed?
  • Is there an analysis of possible solutions?
  • Is there a plan for systematically addressing restraints, difficulties, or challenges?
  • What will the coordination with the owner, agency, or users entail?
  • If the responder has prior experience with similar projects, what has the responder learned from the prior experience that will assist them in anticipating and managing potential similar issues on this project?
  • Can the responder articulate and address the unique concerns, as they pertain to this project, of the agency/owner?
  • Is there a preferred method or approach the team takes when beginning new projects?  How will this be 'fine-tuned' to the needs of this project?


The board may evaluate a team using any of the following as indications of the team's leadership, integration and cohesiveness:
  • Has the team worked together previously?  Or have certain members worked together?  And if so, in what capacities?
  • What is the organization of the project team?
  • Have members of the proposed team worked on the projects used as references in the proposal?  If so, in what capacity and with who else on the proposed team?
  • Does the leader demonstrate experience a leader of a team on a comparable project?
  • Does each of the members, or the group as a whole, demonstrate the required design or construction experience for which they will be used on this project?
  • Were the projects listed in the proposal managed and constructed by the business entity identified in the proposal, or were projects completed by present employees for former employers used?
  • Are the projects listed by a member of the team projects for which that member was the architect of record?
  • Does the proposal include a chart or table with respect to all employees assigned to the project, their planned responsibilities, anticipated % of time each will devote to the project, and the years experience in industry and educational experience of the proposed member?
  • Is there a group cohesiveness that has been established through prior working relationships? How is this shown?
  • What special services, project characteristics, or other benefits or advantages will be afforded to the owner if the team is selected for the project?

Past Work

The board evaluates the nexus between past experiences and performance on projects to inform their selection process for the current project.  To do this they may review proposals and interviews with the following questions in mind:
  • Has the responder shown prior performance on projects?
  • Has the responder shown how the prior project's experience can be used to assist them with their work on the current project?
  • Have they been able to show that what they learned in the past is applicable to the present project?
  • Were they able to describe their past working relationship with the agency?
  • Is there a past history of quality assurance and control?
  • Do they have peer reviews and what have they done with the results that will affect how they approach this project?
  • Have they provided a chart of prior awards to them from the state in the last four years?
  • Have they shown which if any prior awards from the state are similar projects in nature, size or scope? And if so, how?