1,529: Selection of Personal, Professional and Consultant Services Including Architects and Engineers

Last Revised: March 2006

In the selection of Personal, Professional, and Consultant Services the university adheres to the following NSHE policy in the Procedures and Guidelines Manual:

"Except for personal/consultant services involving technical, professional or specialized skills or training, all materials, supplies, equipment, services, and construction shall be purchased from the lowest responsive and responsible bidder after giving due consideration to price, quality, availability, conformance to specifications, financial capability and service. The Purchasing Division shall develop policies for obtaining personal/consultant services involving technical, professional or specialized skills or training." (Chapter 5, Section 2)

The Purchasing Department processes requisitions for personal/consultant services using the following guidelines:

  1. Definitions
    1. Services: The furnishing of labor, time or effort by a contractor that does not involve the delivery of a specific end product other than required reports and performance; this does not include employment contracts. "Services" is a general, umbrella term for purchases that do not have a tangible item as the purchase objective. The term is global and includes such diverse tasks or projects as: window washing, consulting, teaching, and designing and constructing a building. (When we purchase supplies and equipment that are installed on our premises, we are not purchasing services, although many requirements associated with services, such as insurance and licensing, may apply.)
    2. Personal or Professional Services: Services requiring a high degree of knowledge, expertise and training, of a intellectual, specialized or technical nature, performed only under general supervision and requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment. Frequently the individual or organization performing the service(s) is professionally licensed, and/or possesses an advanced degree. Purchase orders and contracts for services involving primarily manual skills or labor are not considered in this category. Some of the more common types of professional services include:
      1. Consultant: An individual or organization who gives expert advice or assistance.
      2. Accountant, auditor, actuary, appraiser, computer or software designer, medical or legal specialist: An individual or organization who gives expert advice or assistance in an area of endeavor for which he or she has special or unique expertise and/or qualifications.
      3. Architect: An individual or organization engaged in planning and designing buildings and structures by applying knowledge of design, construction procedures, zoning regulations, building codes, and building materials.
      4. Engineer: An individual or organization that applies physical laws and principles of engineering in the design, development, and utilization of machines, materials, instruments, structures, processes, and systems. Assignments undertaken may involve any of the following activities: provision of advice, preparation of feasibility studies, preparation of preliminary and final plans and designs, provision of technical services during the construction and installation phase, inspection and evaluation of engineering projects, and related services.
    3. Note Regarding Service Providers as Independent Contractors: When a service provider operates his/her business as an individual, not as a company with its own tax identification, the service provided is treated as an "Independent Contractor" with the forms and processes required for that form of contract. Status as an Independent Contractor does not negate any of the requirements for selection as detailed below. Questions regarding Independent Contractors should be referred to the Controller's Office.
  2. Selection of Professional Service Contractors
    Some of the points that must be considered when contemplating awarding a contract for professional services include:
    1. For all contracts, including services, a proposal or quotation, from the supplier, detailing the project (commonly referred to as a "Scope of Work"), must be included in the documentation submitted with the requisition.
    2. Although professional services are not generally awarded on low price alone, they are not automatically exempt from bidding; i.e.: they are not always sole source. If the requisitioner believes that the proposed service provider is unquestionably uniquely qualified, or the service can only be provided by one individual or organization, then a written explanation requesting exemption from the bidding requirement must accompany the requisition and the Director of Purchasing decides if the requisition qualifies as a sole source.
    3. Where there is competition, and the size of the award is between $10,000 and $25,000, there must be at least two "competitive" quotes. The award is not given to the lowest cost provider. The multiple quotes substantiate the pricing is "competitive," i.e.: not out of line. If the award is more than $25,000, the Purchasing Department conducts a formal bidding process. Here again, the award is not based on price alone, but on the competence of the service provider and the service provider's availability to serve the needs of the institution. Cost enters into the evaluation for budgeting purposes, and to distinguish between two or more equally qualified competitors.
    4. These procedures apply to all professional services including architects and engineers.