Newly Released QBS Study Available Now

Today, the ACEC Research Institute released new research that shows the value of Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) for engineering and design projects. According to the data, projects that use QBS for procurement had lower project costs and better on-time delivery versus selecting firms based on the cheapest bid.


As many of you know, QBS is a procurement process that has firms compete for work based on experience and technical expertise, rather than competing for the lowest cost bid.

Here are the key findings:

  • QBS saves money. Projects that used QBS to procure engineering services had less cost growth (3%) versus the national average (6%).

  • QBS saves time. QBS projects have better project delivery time with less schedule growth versus the national average (7% with QBS versus 10% without).

  • QBS projects have high client satisfaction. With QBS projects, 89% receive “high” or “very high” satisfaction ratings from project owners.

  • QBS promotes innovation. Projects incorporating QBS have a greater likelihood of producing innovative solutions.

This new report is part of an ongoing effort from the ACEC Research Institute to provide valuable knowledge and business intelligence for the engineering industry. The study, conducted jointly by Paul S. Chinowsky of the University of Colorado Boulder and Gordon Kingsley of the Georgia Institute of Technology, builds upon previous research which found similar benefits in the use of QBS by government agencies in terms of cost savings and project success.


Researcher Paul Chinowsky put it this way, “The clarity and simplicity of the process when QBS is used enhance project outcomes and owner satisfaction, while other methods such as low-bid procurement can lead to unintended consequences including cost overruns and longer timelines.”


The data shows QBS provides a clear benefit when applied across a host of project types, sizes, and geographic regions, an important finding as the implementation of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) ramps up America’s critical infrastructure undergoes a long-overdue upgrade.

You can learn more about the benefits of QBS and download the entire report, including case studies, from the ACEC Research Institute.

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