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Section 2: Professional Services

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Overview

The local government (LG) may use a professional services provider for architecture, landscape architecture, professional engineering or surveying. Professional services providers are defined, in part, as professional engineers, registered architects or registered professional land surveyors in the Texas Government Code, Chapter 2254, Subchapter A, often referred to as the Professional Services Procurement Act. This law requires a two-step process in selecting and negotiating costs for contracts with professional services providers. If a LG proposes to be reimbursed with state or federal funds for professional services performed by consultants, the LG must follow an approved consultant selection process meeting the provisions of state law and also 23 CFR Part 172 (if federal funds). Reimbursement for professional services is not allowed if they were incurred prior to receipt of the FPAA and SLOA or if they did not comply with the applicable state and federal requirements. Chapter 4 – Preliminary Engineering and Design of this Manual describes the regulations governing the procurement of professional services in more detail, while the Local Government Project Management Guide (LGPM Guide) provides the procedures.

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Donation of Engineering Services

23 U.S.C. 323(c) allows “persons” to donate funds, materials or services in connection with a federal-aid project. TxDOT may credit the fair market value of donated engineering services to the state and/or local share of the project. However, the donation must be a service needed for the project. If a LG proposes to apply the cost it paid for consultant services to the non-federal share, the LG must follow an approved consultant selection process meeting the provisions of 23 CFR Part 172. The costs of professional services consultant contracts that are not procured, negotiated or administered in accordance with applicable federal laws and regulations are not eligible to apply toward the non-federal share of costs of the current or a future phase of a federal-aid highway program funded project. If the LG proposes to apply the cost for engineering services performed by its own personnel to the non-federal share, the LG must determine the cost effectiveness of local performance of services and receive TxDOT written approval prior to commencing the engineering services.

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Selection of Professional Service Provider

State and federal regulations require LGs to use TxDOT’s qualifications-based competitive selection process for the procurement of any professional services (or a TxDOT-approved alternate process) for all types of transportation projects involving state or federal funding. If the LG proposes to use an alternate selection process, it must be approved in advance in writing by the TxDOT district. The LG must also submit a Consultant Concurrence form to TxDOT prior to entering into a contract with a service provider. Detailed guidelines regarding the state and federal requirements for procuring professional services are described in Chapter 4 – Preliminary Engineering and Design.

Professional service providers (contractors and suppliers) are not allowed to participate in federally funded projects if they are suspended or debarred. The professional service provider is required to certify as to its current eligibility status. Certification is also required of all prospective participants in lower-tier transactions. This includes subconsultants, material suppliers, vendors, etc. The state of Texas has similar requirements prohibiting contracts with debarred providers. The LG is required to verify its professional service providers and lower-tier providers are not debarred by the federal or state government prior to contract award. Additional information on debarment is provided in the Debarment Certification section of Chapter 7.

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