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Learn about Consultant Services

The Consultant Services Office (CSO) manages the Department's statewide consultant program for all WSDOT regions as well as Aviation, Public Transportation and Rail, Urban Corridors, and Washington State Ferries.
Our primary duty is to procure and administer WSDOT’s Architectural and Engineering contracts related to the design and construction of transportation projects. These contracts include both project specific and on-call master agreements.
In addition, we procure and administer a portion of personal services contracts. These contracts are primarily related to transportation projects, services, and studies including media and public involvement on-call agreements.

To manage these contracts,  we coordinate with other agencies such as:

  • Office of Financial Management (OFM)
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises (D/M/WBE)
  • State Auditor's Office
  • Transportation Commission

In addition, we:

  • Provide training on consultant procurement and administration
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures
  • Provide Bill analysis during Legislative Sessions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to become a WSDOT Consultant?
First, you must be set up as a Washington business. When you respond to an advertisement and are deemed the most qualified, you become a WSDOT Consultant. Unlike the Construction program, Architectural and Engineering (A&E) Services and Personal Services cannot be a low-bid based selection. Selection must be qualification-based.
Why is selection qualification-based instead of bid-based?
Because Personal Services and A&E Services and their selection are defined by RCW 39.29 and 39.80 and by the Brooks Act 40 U.S.C. §541. See regulations for details.

What is the difference between A&E Services and Personal Services?
Because of the above referenced regulations, when advertising and selecting Personal Services (RCW 39.29), cost is a consideration during the selection process, but not the sole selection criteria. When advertising and selecting for A&E Services (RCW 39.80), cost cannot be considered until after award of the project to the most qualified firm. Cost becomes part of the negotiation process.
How do I get on the WSDOT pre-qualification listing?
WSDOT does not have a pre-qualification process for A&E Services or for Personal Services. Qualification is determined at the time submittals are reviewed and scored during the advertisement and selection process.

How do I get on the WSDOT listing to be notified of upcoming advertisements and projects?
WSDOT does not maintain what is traditionally called a bidders-list and does not send out notification of upcoming advertisements or projects.

So how do I find out about WSDOT Consultant projects?
Advertisements are placed in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. The advertisement is a brief description with directions to go to WSDOT Consultant Services Web site for the full Request for Statement of Qualifications (RSOQ) and all of the necessary forms required for submitting a statement of qualifications. To find out about WSDOT consulting projects, you can either check the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on a regular basis or check our Web site.

What is WSDOT’s process for advertising?
After need is determined by WSDOT, an advertisement is developed by the project manager and the Consultant Services Office. Advertisements are then:

  • Placed in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce;
  • Placed in other publications on an as needed basis;
  • Run once per week for two (2) consecutive weeks (i.e., Monday and the following Monday), and are placed in the Legal Notices section; and
  • Only a brief advertisement is placed, with directions to the WSDOT Consultant Services Web site, where the full RSOQ is posted.

What is an Annual Roster and when does WSDOT advertise for them?
On a bi-annual basis, (typically in the fall during September/October) Consultant Services, with input from the regions, will assess types of services that the agency consistently uses. Based on that need, Consultant Services will advertise for predetermined categories of work and will initiate multiple On-Call Task Order agreements for each category of work. As the regions determine the need for a consultant, they will look to these agreements to see if the work can be completed using one of these On-Call Task Order agreements. Annual Rosters are typically only developed for Architecture & Engineering Service contracts.
What is Project Specific?
Project specific means just that, a specific project. Typically work that cannot be performed using one of the On-Call agreements use the annual roster method described above.

Could you please give me tips for responding to advertisements?

  • Always read the full ad, which is placed only on the WSDOT Consultant Services Web site. Do not submit a Request for Statement of Qualifications (RSOQ) relying on second-hand information. Go directly to the source.
  • Always read the RSOQ thoroughly and follow all instructions closely.
  • Respond to the criteria exactly the way it is outlined in the RSOQ.
  • Don’t forget to fill out all required forms completely; and
  • Don’t be late submitting. Meet the deadline, no exceptions, even if it is the courier’s fault.

Once I have submitted my Statement of Qualifications, what happens next?
WSDOT's Consultant Services Office will review all submittals to make sure they are responsive. The submittals are then sent to independent reviewers to be scored based on the criteria included in the advertisement. Consultant Services compiles the independent scores and a ranked listing is established.

How is the ranked listing used?
The ranked listing is used in one of three (3) ways: 

  • a) By selecting the number 1 ranked firm directly from the listing; 
  • b) By requesting to interview the top ranked firms; or 
  • c) By requesting to ask additional qualifying information in written format from the top ranked firms.

If “b” and “c” from above are used, the interview/written response are scored independent from the submittal by either a three person interview panel or by three independent technical reviewers. The scores are compiled and the number 1 ranked firm is selected.
I was awarded a WSDOT project, what happens next?
A WSDOT representative will contact the selected firm and contract proceedings/negotiations will begin. If for some reason, the selected firm and WSDOT cannot negotiate a contract, than the second highest scoring firm will be award the project. This process will continue until a successful negotiation has been completed, at which time a written contract will be executed.

If my firm was not selected by WSDOT, how will I know?
All firms that submitted a Request for Statement of Qualifications (RSOQ) will receive letters of notification of selection immediately after the Consultant Services Director approves the selection. Notice is also posted to the Consultant Services Web site.

I would like to know more about how my firm compared to other firms during the selection process or I would like a debriefing. What do I do?
Debriefs and follow-up interviews will not be conducted until after the selected consultant has successfully negotiated and executed a contract. At that time, call the Consultant Services Office and make an appointment. We will gather all the relevant information together so we can have a productive meeting with you. Your time is valuable. We want to make sure it is well spent.