An abbreviation for ‘Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity’, the ID/IQ contract is the federal government’s version of what many non-federal agencies refer to as an ‘On-Call’ contract. The ID/IQ contract allows a federal agency to streamline the process of contracting with Architect and Engineer firms to accomplish their work.
Qualifications Based Selection
Federal agencies are required to use a Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) process for anything but minor Architect and Engineer services. This was put into law in 1972 through the passage of the Brooks Act. The QBS process requires public announcement, receipt of written qualifications from any interested firm, and then selection of the most qualified firm based either on the written qualifications, or (more often) through interviews with three to five of the submitting firms. Once the most qualified firm is selected, the agency enters into rate and hour negotiations with the firm to establish a fair and reasonable price for the services.
The ID/IQ contract allows an agency to select the most qualified firm for a class of projects (structural engineering for example), establish rates for the life of the contract (often over five years), and then negotiate the number of hours needed to accomplish the work for each individual project. A unique delivery order is issued for each project as an element of the ID/IQ contract, with a definitive scope of work and fixed fee.
Managing Multiple Awards
Reid Middleton has been working under federal ID/IQ contracts for 25 years. Even as a small business, we have completed over 500 projects using ID/IQ delivery methods. Part of our success is the large number of in-house project managers that we have available to lead individual delivery orders.
Any agency of any size using ID/IQ contracts will generally need many projects to be accomplished over the course of a year. These projects might have overlapping deadlines and need concurrent execution. Driven by the annual federal financial cycle, there will often be a larger quantity of projects awarded in August and September causing many projects to have similar start, submission and completion dates. One or just a few project managers would be overwhelmed by the deadlines. Distributing this responsibility among many qualified senior staff allows us to manage a multitude of complex projects.
Even with a single discipline led, Structural Engineering ID/IQ, there is still a need for multi-disciplinary teams. Reid Middleton has developed great relationships with other consultants, and as a prime contractor, we often sub-contract with architects and other engineers for the elements that we don’t design in-house.
The ID/IQ contract accommodates a wide variety of projects. We have completed emergency investigations in one day, and conversely have designed and provided construction administration of major new facilities over several years. Work has included major structural and utility studies to assess facilities and infrastructure in support of future projects, surveys to establish property boundaries across miles of facility perimeters and railroad rights-of-way, Design/Build Request for Proposal packages for Design/Build team pursuits, and fully designed ready to construct plans and specifications for construction or modernization of major facilities.
In the end, the ID/IQ contract allows agencies to meet the intent of QBS laws, streamline their procurement process to allow for efficient use of their own staff, and still accomplish a wide variety of projects using qualified cost effective architect and engineering firms.
Projects under ID/IQ Contracts