1. Are all licensees obligated to report known violation of board rules? Yes. All licensees are obligated to report known violations of board rules under the requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct. This would include reporting Professional Engineers or firms that submit prices in response to request for proposals for publicly funded projects that have not been exempted under the provision the MiniBrooks Act. No 2. What about the delivery of unit prices for the project? Delivery of a fixed price or bid is okay The delivery of unit prices as a response to a request for proposals identifies relative information with respect to general fees and is not specific to tasks related to the project. The submission of any information, which can be easily correlated to a fixed price or a bid, is prohibited unless the project has been exempted. 3. If the proposed fee is less than $30,000.00, is an exemption still required? No Yes. All exemptions must be in writing and are required on a project by project basis. 4. What is an appropriate way to respond to a request for a price? Currently the Consulting Engineers Council of North Carolina has developed a standard letter that is sent to the party who is requesting the price. This letter includes detailed information regarding the Mini-Brooks Act and the obligation by the licensee not to submit a price. Send a fixed price quote 5. Will the Board of Examiners respond to a specific request for clarification of rule? Yes. The Board of Examiners will respond to any request for clarification of responsibility concerning the proper application of the MiniBrooks Act but the Board’s jurisdiction is limited to licensees. The Board has no authority to enforce the provisions of the MiniBrooks Act for NCDOT or local units of government. No 6. If a resolution of exemption is obtained from the requesting entity, may the licensee submit a price? Yes. The ability to exempt projects is provided to NCDOT and local units of government. True False 7. Are their exemptions for special conditions?
Answer: Yes. The Act provides for exceptions in the "cases of special emergency involving the health and safety of the people or their property."
True False 8. What does the effective date of the resolution need to be and must the resolution or exemption be project specific?
Answer: The resolution to exempt a project must be in force before a licensee may provide a project price. Each exemption must be project specific.
True False 9. What is the licensee’s responsibility as it relates to assure that the resolution of exemption is valid?
Answer: The licensee must exercise prudent judgement to determine that an exemption has been properly executed in writing for the specified project.
True False 10. What about multiple Phase contracts?
Answer: Unless specifically exempted, multiple phase contracts are subject to the requirements of the MiniBrooks Act.
True False 11. There seems to some gray area in environmental work, such as wetlands delineation. Now with this new rule engineers cannot bid, but environmental professionals can. Is there some way that we can address this situation?
Answer: The MiniBrooks Act only pertains to professional services listed as "…architectural, engineering or surveying services…" Professional Engineers and Firms may offer prices for projects that they are legally capably of providing, i.e. geology, soil science, landscape architecture.
True False 12. Is it permissible to submit project prices for projects that have been exempted?
Answer: Yes. If the exemption is by a local unit of government or NCDOT and is in writing, it is permissible for licensees to submit total project prices.
True False 13. Is it a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for a licensee, placed in a responsible role for a public body, to request other professionals to provide a total project price on behalf of the owner?
Answer: Yes. All licensees of the Board are required to comply with the provisions of the MiniBrooks Act.
True False 14. Currently the State of North Carolina is required to request bids for construction and the contractor then typically hires sub-consultants through a bid process. Is it a violation for a licensee to provide a total project price under such circumstances?
Answer: Yes. The MiniBrooks Act applies to all publicly funded projects and professional services must be selected based upon a qualification based process unless exempted under the provisions of the act. The North Carolina Attorney General has been requested to render an opinion on this issue. ** (see statement below)
True False 15. Paragraph F of Section 21-56.0701 is only applied/enforced relative to GS143-64.31. Does this apply to public funds only?
Answer: The MiniBrooks Act only pertains to public funds. The Board Rules do no prohibit licensee from offering total project prices for privately funded projects.
True False 16. What about primarily planning studies with engineering elements? Is this considered a violation?
Answer: This would be dictated by the nature of the services to be rendered for the specific project. If the services are professional in nature, the MiniBrooks Act would apply.
True False 17. What about state agencies, are they covered by GS143-64.31?
Answer: No exemptions are allowed for state agencies other than NCDOT.
True False 18. What about State Universities?
Answer: There currently exists an exemption for capital improvement projects for The University of North Carolina, which exemption will expire July 1, 2001
True False 19. Do other non-DOT agencies have the ability to exempt themselves on state directed projects?
Answer: There are no exceptions allowed for State agencies except for State Capital Improvement Projects where the total cost is less than $100,000.00.
True False 20. What about exemptions for municipalities?
Answer: Local units of government or NCDOT may in writing exempt particular projects in the case of:
Proposed projects where an estimated professional fee is in an amount less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000), or Other particular projects exempted in the sole discretion of the Department of Transportation or the unit of local government, stating the reasons therefor and the circumstances attendant thereto. True False 21. Is a non-license violation a criminal violation?
Answer: No. A violation of the MiniBrooks Act would be considered a civil violation.
True False 22. What is considered a fee bid?
Answer: The submission of any information that would allow the public entity to determine a total project fee would be considered a "fee bid."
True False 23. Would an RFP that request man-hours without unit prices be considered a bid?
Answer: The Act only allows for "unit price information" and qualifications. Man-hours would not be considered a "unit price."
True False 24. During a short list or interview type of arrangement, if the interviewing party requests a price, is the licensee free to give a price at that time?
Answer: No. Price should not be given until the consultant is selected as the most qualified to provide the services requested and negotiations may then begin to establish the fee.
True False 25. What about licensed city/state engineers, architects and surveyors, are they in violation if they send out RFP’s requesting a price.
Answer: Yes. All licensees must comply with the requirements of the MiniBrooks Act.
True False 26. Who must issue the written exemption?
Answer: The exemption can only be issued by the entity that is authorized to award the contract.
True False 27. What if a sub-consultant asks for a price and it is thought that there is a sole source selection being performed?
Answer: The licensee should make every effort to verify that the proposed project is a sole source selection, which should include confirmation in writing from the requesting entity.
True False 28. What if a client (public) asks for prices of recent projects, is this a violation?
Answer: Currently, government form 255 requires prices for similar types of previous work effort as a basis for qualifications. It is not a violation of the Mini Brooks Act to provide this form as a part of the QBS process for publicly funded projects.