Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services (COFPAES)

The Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services (COFPAES) is a coalition of the nation’s leading design community professional societies. Member organizations are comprised of architects, engineers, surveyors and mapping professionals from government service and private practice, numbering more than 200,000 individuals.

Since 1966, COFPAES has provided the design community with a common voice and an important focus on federal procurement law and regulations. Then, as now, the major organizations representing design professionals realized that a common effort was needed to educate Congress and the public on the design professions and the need to place the emphasis on quality and competence by procuring professional services through a qualifications‐based
selection (QBS) process.

COFPAES serves the American public as a well‐known and respected forum for the consideration of policy changes in the selection procedures of design professionals.  Because of its emphasis on professionalism in the procurement process, COFPAES assists the federal government in assuring that the design of projects to satisfy the building, infrastructure, environmental and resource needs of our nation is conducted in an efficient and quality manner.

COFPAES is a strong proponent of the “Brooks Act” qualifications based selection (QBS) process in 40 USC 541 and FAR Part 36 and long endorsed in the American Bar Association Model Procurement Code for State and Local Government.

This process, enacted 30 years ago in Public Law 92‐582, provides for the selection of firms for architecture, engineering, surveying and mapping services based on demonstrated competence and qualifications, experience, and past performance.  The vast majority of states have also adopted this process in their codes.

The enactment and defense of the QBS law is not the only reason for the continued existence of COFPAES.   The goal of the coalition always has been the promotion of sound A/E procurement practices.    Through the years, COFPAES has provided the stimulus for advancements such as the development of the original  SF254 and 255 questionnaires and the replacement SF330 and has served as an informal sounding board for new developments in federal procurement procedures, policies and regulations.

In addition, COFPAES has organized courses for private sector design professionals and federal, state and municipal procurement personnel, sponsored conferences on federal programs and procedures, and published guides to contracting with the federal government.  COFPAES also convenes a forum where design professionals and agency officials can meet and share information on their common needs and issues, and federal officials can exchange ideas
and concerns with their peers in government service.